Stuart Neville's Ratlines: Out of a different past
Stuart Neville became an instant leader of the group with The Ghosts of Belfast, whose very title proves the continuing sensitivity of the subject. (The 2009 novel was released in the U.K. under the powerful but less politically charged title The Twelve.)
Neville crossed over the border and further into the past for his 2013 novel Ratlines. The time is 1963, the occasion the murder of a Nazi given shelter in Ireland after World War II, and the novel's title a reference to the networks by which Nazis were helped to safety and, in some cases, to prosperity after the war.
Neville does a nice job imagining and investigating the sorts of corruption attendant on such arrangements, and not just the moral corruption that offers succor to evil men, either. This novel's world has plenty of room for theft, dishonesty, and violence among the criminals themselves, and among the people who pursue them as well. The book also contains flashes of just the sort of agony that haunted Fegan, the ex-IRA killer of The Ghosts of Belfast. And, though I have never talked politics with Neville, I suspect after reading Ratlines that he is no fan of nationalism of whatever kind.
© Peter Rozovsky 2014