In contemporary Dublin, a hastily devised robbery and its aftermath unfold from the perspectives of diverse perps, cops and witnesses.
Such is the moral ambiguity surrounding Detective Sgt. Bob Tidey's job that the very first time he is to take the stand in an important case as a witness rather than an investigator, he struggles with whether to commit perjury by contradicting his original statement, something that will cause him headaches at work but smooth the ruffled feathers of a local politico. Meanwhile, unrepentant thief Vincent Naylor, back on the street after a stint in prison, has no such reservations about returning to his life of crime. He and his brother Noel, teaming up with minor crime boss Albert Bannerman, hatch a plan to rob a van used by the Ulster Bank. As Vincent gets a closer look at Bannerman's ragtag gang, he has second thoughts, exacerbated by his cresting love for hairdresser Michelle Flood, but eventually decides that it's too late to turn back. Tidey gets a heads-up about the plan from Maura Coady, a retired and very observant nun with whom he has a deep and complex relationship. (An elliptical prologue foreshadows the relationship and the death of a man named Emmett Sweetman, which will cast a long shadow over later events.) Missteps in the crime generate their own subplots, which Kerrigan (Little Criminals, 2005, etc.) juggles deftly.
An ambitious and nuanced panorama of law and order in Ireland's mean streets, balancing literary elements and full-bodied character portraits with a believable depiction of cops and criminals at work.