The Ghosts of Belfast

 Just when you thought the invasion of excellent Irish crime writers -- a group nicknamed Celtic Noir -- had ended, along comes Stuart Neville with his first novel.  Its central character, Gerry Fegan, is a former IRA "hard man," a killer in Northern Ireland, now reduced by the coming of peace to a shambling drunk, haunted by the ghosts of 12 victims who follow him everywhere. In a Belfast bar, "Fegan looked at each of his companions in turn. Of the five soldiers, three were Brits and two were Ulster Defence Regiment. Another of the followers  was a cop, his Royal Ulster Constabulary uniform neat and stiff, and two more were Loyalists, both Ulster Freedom Fighters. The remaining four were civilians who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He remembered doing all of them, but it was the civilians whose memories screamed the loudest... They'd been with him since his last weeks in the Maze prison, seven years ago... He told one of the prison psychologists about it. Dr. Brady said it was guilt..."  The only way that Fegan can kill off his ghosts is by tracking down his IRA superiors who ordered their deaths. This he does with violent precision, one by one, until he is alone again. Along the way, Neville condenses the fear and hate that troubled Ireland for so long, at the same time creating a memorable character with ease and a cool, deceptively straightfoward writing style.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.