If you’ve read “The Man with One of Those Faces” or “The Day that Never Comes”, no doubt you remember Dublin Detective Bunny McGarry. His wayward glare & ever present hurling stick make him hard to forget. And at some point you probably wondered if he’d always been crazy. In this prequel to the Dublin trilogy, we get to find out.
The story begins with a hilarious routine between Bunny & his partner Tim “Gringo” Spain as they try to talk a jumper off a ledge. They are truly chalk & cheese. Bunny is younger version of himself, blunt & permanently disheveled. Gringo is a handsome guy with nary a hair out of place. But maybe it’s their differences that make them such a good team.
Along with the usual headaches, Dublin police are dealing with a spate of robberies involving a well organized gang & armored trucks. So Detectives Harry Delaney & Bob Mulholland are assigned to follow the latest shipment. Sadly their partnership is hardly a bromance & before the day is over, it will be tested further when they meet up with a grenade.
The powers that be have had it & DI Fintan O’Rourke puts together a task force to deal with the gang once & for all. Because everyone knows who’s behind the robberies…..Tommy Carter & his crew. Tommy runs Clanavale Estate, an area of Dublin even the cops avoid. He’s young, smart & knows how to cover his tracks. Bunny has history with Tommy so he’s not surprised when he & Gringo are invited to join the team.
There is a large cast from all walks that provide colour & sub plots to the main story line. Two deserve special mention. Simone is a mysterious bartender who catches Bunny’s eye & through her we see another side of the blustery cop. Then there’s Sister Bernadette....half nun/half ninja & my new role model. ‘Nuff said.
Like the other books, it’s a cracking good police procedural with plenty of humour & red herrings to tempt you down the wrong path. But this has a little something extra that gives it a darker edge. There’s an added depth to the story & characterization that shows the author’s growth as a writer. You get a sense that he’s really hit his stride & as much as I enjoyed the previous books, I think it’s his best so far. I’ve grown quite attached to this band of loons & will be waiting on the next one.
For the uninitiated, the combination of wit & grit is reminiscent of Stuart MacBride & Jay Stringer, to name a couple.