Falling Glass by Adrian McKinty (Serpent's Tail)

by Patrick O'Connor

 

IF you like your crime thrillers fast and furious with a mean, tough anti-hero then look no further than this cracking read.

Although there are brief diversions to the United States and Hong Kong, most of the narrative is set in Northern Ireland as we follow Killian, who was born into an Irish tinker family but has forged a reasonably lucrative career as an 'enforcer', someone who gets a job done (quite often collecting debts) with no questions asked.

However, having reached the age of 40, he has been trying to establish a new life and invested heavily in property only to be stung badly by the financial crisis which engulfed Europe.

This has led him back into murky waters and he takes on the job of trying to find the former wife and two children of rich Irish businessman Richard Coulter.

At first it seems like a straightforward custody battle but Killian discovers a much darker reason behind Coulter's desperation to find his ex-wife.

McKinty's prose has been likened to James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard and the dialogue often rattles along at machine gun pace. Killian has a past that is easily categorised as shady, mixing with the paramilitaries of Belfast. But even that pales into insignificance with the arrival of a Russian hitman, battled hardened by violent conflicts which make the Irish troubles seem like a tea-party.

Killian eventually finds himself as a target and is forced to flee back to his Tinker roots with the woman and her two daughters, setting up a thrilling finale.