One moment, Dublin ex-con Danny Callaghan is minding his own business; the next, he's back in the cross hairs of both cops and criminals.
Recently released from prison after a nine-year stretch for manslaughter, Danny, 32, is grimly determined to stay out of trouble. But fate intervenes when prematurely gray Walter Bennett appeals for help during his drubbing by a pair of leather-jacketed thugs in a pub. Almost instantly, Danny curses himself as a blasted idiot for stepping in, even as he wonders why anyone would want to kill the feckless Walter. As Danny has feared, his scuffle sparks interest from police and local gang members. Pub owner Novak, who sympathizes with Danny, lies ineptly to DS Michael Wyndham when he's questioned about the incident. And lady’s man Karl Prowse, whom Danny bested, has an awkward debriefing with his boss, kingpin Lar Mackendrick (a central figure in Kerrigan's debut novel). Before long, the police interest in Danny and Mackendrick naturally puts Danny in the hot seat with both groups. Unfortunately for him, Walter is not the innocent victim that he played for his rescuer. All this threatens Danny's budding relationship with the levelheaded Hannah. And once he has his toe again in criminal waters, is there any turning back?
Kerrigan's fourth crime yarn (The Rage, 2013, etc.) captures a landscape of moral ambiguity with a crackling pace and terse, apt dialogue. His world suggests an Irish Elmore Leonard whose compromised men struggle to tread water in a treacherous sea.