Fast-moving violent thriller
By TS O'Rourke
Published by Breffni Books
Price £5.99 (pb)
For those who are sceptical of reports of a drugs/crime epidemic
in Irish urban centres the recent Sinn Féin Ard Fheis debate on
anti-drugs motions would have been a revelation. The situation is
as bad if not worse than predictions made by community workers.
This novel by a new writer, TS O'Rourke, is also a salutory
lesson for those sceptics. Though fanciful and exaggerated at
times the author succeeds in capturing the atmosphere of what the
criminal underworld in Dublin or any other city in Ireland, or
the world for that matter, must be like. How they like to mirror
their TV `heroes'. Or how, they have their own language,
mannerisms, dress code and `society' status that bear no
relationship to the experiences or the reality of the life of the
majority of us, other than that it impinges on us more frequently
as their `world' expands.
The predominance of drug barons and dealers in positions of power
in this underworld has destroyed any sneaking regard people still
had for gangsters - these are no modern-day Robin Hoods. Theirs
is a culture based on destroying people's lives through drugs.
Their battle empires are maintained through terror and the use of
extreme gratuitous violence. Thankfully they are now being
ejected by the communities they have plagued for years.
O'Rourke's book deals with two brothers who wish to scale to the
top of the drug barons' pecking order and are willing to do
anything to achieve their goal. A good, fast-moving thriller,
which could easily be adapted as a screenplay, it is not without
its flaws. While it is too simplistic - glorifying the criminal
world at times - as a first novel it is excellent. Corpses,
mindless thuggery, jealousy, greed and steamy sex are littered
throughout its pages.
By Aengus O'Snodaigh
Walking into the past
Dublin in 1798 - Three Illustrated Walks
By Denis Carroll.
Illustrations by Orla Davin.
Historian Denis Carroll has produced this timely little guide
book as we prepare to mark the 200th anniversary of the 1798
Rising. A fascinating text and good sketches of the main
locations evoke the atmosphere of the time. The centre of the
city was further to the west than it is today, around Christ
Church and Dublin Castle. All the main actors in the drama of
Dublin in `98 lived within walking distance of one another.
Cities then were smaller, more overcrowded, more intimate places.
Squalor and luxury existed side by side. Spies and informers were
literally around every corner.
Launched last week by Martin Mansergh this book should not be
left on the shelf but should be taken out for a walk.