Saturday, September 06, 2014

Bob and Ray meet Jim Thompson in Gerard Brennan's The Point

Lots of Northern Ireland crime writers take the Troubles and their aftermath as a subject. Here's Gerard Brennan's take in his delightful comic (and dark) novel. The Point (The scene is two young hoods surprised by a young woman as they burgle her apartment):
"`The IRA knows a lot about you, wee girl,' Paul said. `You better stop what you're doing.'

"`What are you talking about?' she asked.


...


"Brian shoved him ... `What the fuck was that for?' Paul asked.

"`You know what it was for.'

"`Ach, fuck off. Maybe if she thought the IRA was really watching her she'd make an effort to do a dish or two. You saw the state of the place.'"
At the risk of wallowing in identity politics, Brennan is a few years younger than, say, his compatriot crime writers Adrian McKinty and Stuart Neville. I wonder if that renders him more able to joke about the Troubles because he's farther removed from them. I'll have to ask Brennan about this the next time I see him. In any case, The Point is Bob and Ray meets Jim Thompson, Give it a look.
============== 
Gerard Brennan will be part of my Belfast Noir: Stories of Mayhem and Murder from Northern Ireland panel at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, California. The fun starts at 11:30 a.m, Friday, Nov. 14, in the Regency B room. See you there.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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7 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

I've read several of Gerard's books now, including this one, and what strikes me more than the politics are the class issues. You could say they're about the aftermath of the Troubles, I suppose, although they are also like books I've read set in the Eastend of London, or the harder side of Dublin or Galway, or anywhere where there's not enough opportunity and time to kill.

September 06, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, there some talk in The Point of how those students will up and flew the first time they're robbed.

I probably noticed the lack of direct references to the Troubles because of the book's setting. I assume that the Warrenpoint of this book is the same one where the IRA ambushed and killed 18 British soldiers probably right around the year young Gerard was born.

September 06, 2014  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Thanks a million for this, Peter. I'm suitably honoured. And thank you, Seana, for reading, and commenting as astutely as ever.

Yeah, Peter. Same Warrenpoint, same bomb. And my dad once told me that he remembers holding me to his chest when that bomb went off (he was walking down a street in the nearby village of Omeath on the other side of the border). Apparently I jumped and went back to sleep.

gb

September 07, 2014  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Also, thank you for introducing me to Bob and Ray. Smirking at this right now - Bob and Ray video

gb

September 07, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Wow, that;s a chilling story about the bomb, liable to be built into a metaphor for strife and the passage of time if we're not careful.

Bob and Ray are comic geniuses who work well on the page as well as on the radio. In fact, their heyday was before my time, and I knew their work primarily through their books.

Someone once referred aptly to their guileless villains, and your loveable characters reminded me of that. The Jim Thompson part comes later in the book.

One of my captcha words for this comment is flagoom, nice description of what happens when nationalism and bombs get together.

September 07, 2014  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

I could chill you further, but some stories are best related in person. For one, that last sentence wouldn't run the risk of sounding like a threat if I delivered it with a cheeky smile on my face.

I'd say that I'll add some Bob and Ray to the reading pile, but in reality, I've an awful long list of other books to seek out, consume and digest first. They're on my radar now, though, so who knows what serendipity might bring?

And I'll never turn down a Jim Thompson comparison. It makes me as proud as that moment a few years ago when Prof Samson compared my MA work to another one of your favourites; the late, great Westlake. He didn't write it down, though, so I haven't used it as a blurb. Yet.

Flagoom, ey? A letter off Flagoon. And my captcha is numerical. 412, the neighbour of information, perhaps?

Though since that sad attempt at a joke's based on a US phone service, I should probably drop the u in neighbour.

gb

September 08, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I was thinking of flagoom as the boom that happens when someone takes down a flag.


I'm well prepared to believe that bluff good humor can mask tragic stories, and so on. I know Garbhan Downey shudders at some of things he saw, and is glad he has to see them no longer. (I have been rereading some of his stories, and I am looking forward to reading him in Belfast Noir.)

September 08, 2014  

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