Hot on the heels of the author's highly praised debut novel, Resurrection Man (1995), come two novellas, both conjuring up images of doomed love and quick, ugly death in Northern Ireland via McNamee's distinctive style of poetry and grit. In The Last of Deeds, a no-frills romance between a Catholic boy and a Protestant girl in a coastal town already shattered by ""the troubles"" sets in motion a series of violent events. Sharon and ""Mr. Nothing,"" as she calls him, want only to be alone together. But an ambush of Glennon, scion of the town's first family, prompts another assault, this one fatal. Sharon hides her lover in a net-filled shed on the pier, but while he's off with friend Deeds seeking vengeance, she's raped and abducted by Glennon. She wreaks her own revenge on her attacker, but not before matters take yet another ugly turn that leads to the death of Deeds. Love In History is a lesser (though still vivid) tale of women living in a town next to an airbase in the last days of WW II. While the US airmen dream of Betty Grable, they aren't averse to trading stockings with the locals for quickies along the base's perimeter fence. Bad luck follows some--e.g., Sadie, pregnant after being date-raped and dumped by her flyboy, nearly kills herself as a result; but for those like Adelene, a Grable look-alike lusted after by all--including the soap-box minister living next door in the boardinghouse--the chosen man proves to be a perfect gentleman. On the eve of his departure, however, when there's a chance he'll ask her to come back to the States with him, the pair's idyll is shattered by the violent actions of the deranged minister. Taut, tough situations, rendered with an unblinking eye--stories that offer further proof of a formidable, durable talent.