By G. Robert Frazier
Following the lives of four down and out individuals—and the somewhat delusional mother of one of them—the story paints a bleak and dismal portrayal of crime and addiction in Cork, Ireland. When Maureen Phelan kills an intruder in her home with a Holy Stone, events swiftly spiral in myriad directions for the book’s colorful cast, including:
- Jimmy Phelan, Maureen’s son, who happens to be a renowned gangster;
- Tony Cusack, the alcoholic single father of six recruited by Jimmy to help dispose of the body and make some needy home repairs for his mother;
- Ryan Cusack, Ryan’s 15-year-old drug-dealing son who wants desperately to not end up like his father;
- and Georgie, a prostitute and one of Ryan’s drug-addicted customers seeking her own redemption.
Despite harsh undertones of lives doomed by poverty, addiction, and greed, McInerney somehow keeps readers hooked as each strives for their own salvation and redemption. Characters who should be entirely unlikable are fascinatingly rich and complex.
McInerney’s first novel, The Glorious Heresies won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Book Review “10 Best Crime Novels” of the year.
Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.