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THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST by Stuart Neville Kirkus Star


by Stuart Neville

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-56947-600-0
Publisher: Soho

The IRA may have made peace with England, but decades of violence still haunt a former terrorist.

One-time IRA hard man Gerry Fegan is out of prison. But the 12 people he killed (three while out of jail on compassionate leave for his mother’s funeral) won’t let him forget the past. For the seven years since his release, Belfast native Fegan has been troubled by these dozen silent and accusing figures, and no amount of drink has driven the ghosts away. So when his old running buddy, Sinn Fein Assembly member Michael McKenna, shows up to ask why Fegan has revealed the site of a body dump to a victim’s still-grieving mother, he follows the direction of one spectral victim and shoots McKenna. The killing ignites a firestorm of old rivalries and paranoia; it’s a crime against Fegan’s former brotherhood that makes him an outlaw among his own kind, but it’s also the beginning of possible salvation, as the haunted, wasted gunman realizes he must avenge his ghosts to find peace. But even murder isn’t simple, especially when McKenna’s beautiful niece Marie and her daughter Ellen get caught up in the violence. First in a proposed series, Neville’s debut is as unrelenting as Fegan’s ghosts, pulling no punches as it describes the brutality of Ireland’s “troubles” and the crime that has followed, as violent men find new outlets for their skills. Sharp prose places readers in this pitiless place and holds them there.

Harsh and unrelenting crime fiction, masterfully done.