This is billed for fans of The Wire and I totally get that. I always think that Wire-like books are ones similar to George Pelecanos novels, books I admire more than enjoy. This is one such work.
There is a lot to admire about this one. Gene Kerrigan’s prose is smooth and he definitely understands Recession Era Ireland. I got a good sense of what happened over there and how it affected everyone from the moneymakers to the lower class. The set ups to all of the crimes are very well done; a few were even clever, especially near the end. The dialogue was fine.
So again, I admired this book. It’s good. It’s competently written. It deserves 4 stars and I’ll read Kerrigan again, especially when I want to reconnect with the Irish underworld.
I just never seem to get the full amount of satisfaction from these kinds of crime novels. The Wire comp is accurate because books like these (and most Pelecanos stories) always feel like I’m watching a random episode of The Wire. It makes for great reading (or, to use the example, “watching”) but if you don’t have the full context, you can’t appreciate it. Between the characterization and the commitment to natural dialogue over hard boiled flair, these books just never feel like they hit another gear. That’s more on me than the writer, I suppose.
But they’re still good. I really want to read another Gene Kerrigan novel, and I probably will at some point. I just wish I liked them more.