The spot where Gerard Brennan, author of THE POINT and WEE ROCKETS, blogs about reading, writing and anything else that takes his fancy.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
A Wee Wayne Simmons Review - The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari
God Help Them ...
In the most brutal killing crusade Philadelphia has seen in years, a series of young Catholic women are found dead, their bodies mutilated and their hands bolted together. Each clutches a rosary in her lifeless grasp.
Veteran cop Kevin Byrne and his rookie partner Jessica Balzano set out to hunt down the elusive killer, who leads them deeper and deeper into the abyss of a madman's depravity. Suspects appear before them like bad dreams - and vanish just as quickly. While the body count rises, Easter is fast approaching: the day of resurrection and of the last rosary to be counted ...
Although the first book chronologically in Montanari's Byrne and Balzano series, THE ROSARY GIRLS is actually the second I've read. I started off with the third in the series, the most excellent BROKEN ANGELS. And while I enjoyed TRG a great deal, it doesn't reach the dizzy heights of the third book.
That's not to say it isn't a great book in its own right - it is great. With bells on, great, in fact. But, for me, this was a book where the author was still getting to know his protagonists. The Kevin Byrne of TRG is quite a different Byrne to who we meet in BA. Less reserved, more gun-toting and pulpy. Not a bad thing, per se, but lacking the subtleties and finesse of book 3's Byrne, for sure.
That aside, this is as tightly written a crime novel as you'll find and, while Byrne may have fallen a little short for me in this one, Montanari's characterisation in general is second-to-none. It's a well researched book, the police procedural element both accessible and credible. The mystery itself will lead you round the houses of the book's cast of suspects and, right up until the very end, leave you guessing as to who's dunnit.
THE ROSARY GIRLS is yet another example of where crime fiction has delivered more horror than a lot of horror fiction I've read. As a serial killer novel, it ticks all the boxes and joins all the dots with style. Montanari's writing really comes alive in places, painting a more vivid picture of the victims than you'd perhaps ask for...
And for a round-the-block gorehound such as I, that's a great thing.
I'm a Northern Irish writer. When I'm not tinkering with a novel, screenplay, stage play or short story I post some stuff on this here blog. Contact me on brennanfiction(at)gmail.com (and if you're not a spambot you'll know you gotta switch the (at) for the correct symbol).
Support Independent Bookstores!
Live in Northern Ireland? Visiting? Well, I suggest you stop in at No Alibis, the hotspot for all your crime fiction needs. Click the No Alibis logo to visit the store's website.
WEE ROCKETS by Gerard Brennan
Click the image to visit the publisher's website.
WEE ROCKETS does for Belfast what Irvine Welsh did for Edinburgh. It’s a frank look at the drink and drug-addled youth ejected onto the streets of a socially deprived community as they smirk in the face of authority and play Russian Roulette with their adolescent lives.
Praise for WEE ROCKETS:
“The Wire? This is Barbed Wire. A cheeky slice of urban noir, a drink-soaked, drug-addled journey into the violent underbelly of one of Europe’s most notorious ghettos, WEE ROCKETS make The Outsiders look like the Teletubbies.” – Colin Bateman
“Gerard Brennan stands apart from the Irish crime fiction crowd with a novel rooted in the reality of today’s Belfast. The author’s prose speaks with a rare authenticity about the pain of growing up in a fractured society, shot through with a black humour that can only come from the streets. WEE ROCKETS is urban crime fiction for the 21st century, and Brennan is a unique voice among contemporary Irish writers.” – Stuart Neville
“In WEE ROCKETS Gerard Brennan has written a fast paced, exciting story of West Belfast gang culture; brimming with violence, authentic street dialogue and surprising black humour. This is a great debut novel. Brennan takes us into the heart of Belfast’s chav underclass, in a story that lies somewhere in the intersection between The Warriors, Colin Bateman and Guy Ritchie. This is the first in what undoubtedly will be a stellar literary career.” – Adrian McKinty
THE POINT by Gerard Brennan
Now Available at No Alibis Bookstore, Belfast.
Small time crook Paul Morgan is a bad influence on his brother, Brian. When Paul crosses one thug too many, the cider fuelled duo flee Belfast for Warrenpoint, the sleepy seaside resort of their childhood memories. For Brian a new life in The Point means going straight and falling in love with Rachel while Paul graduates to carjacking by unusual means and ‘borrowing’ firearms from his new boss. Brian can’t help being dragged into his brother’s bungling schemes but Rachel can be violently persuasive herself . . . and she isn’t the only one who wants to see an end to Paul’s criminal career.
Praise for THE POINT:
“Gerard Brennan is a master of gritty violence.” - Colin Bateman
“...a Coen Brothers dream, via Belfast... Gerard Brennan grabs the mantle of the new mystery prince of Northern Ireland..." - Ken Bruen
"The Point is the real deal -- the writing is razor sharp, the characters engaging, the ending a blast. From start to finish it's true Northern Noir, crafted with style and wit." - Brian McGilloway
"It needs to said that Gerard Brennan’s The Point is terrific. Scorchingly funny, black humour at its finest and the most inventive car theft ever!" - Arlene Hunt
"The Point is top stuff. Engaging from the start, the characters are loveable, the story is strong and the pace never lets up." - Adrian McKinty
"Noir from Norn Iron! A lean slice of grindhouse from Belfast's new crime hack." - Wayne Simmons
REQUIEMS FOR THE DEPARTED
Irish Crime, Irish Myths... Requiems for the Departed is a collection of crime fiction short stories based on Irish mythology. Winner of the 2011 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology.
“Taut, terrifying, terrific.” – Colin Bateman
“The best in contemporary crime fiction. One could ask for nothing better: horrible, strange, delightful.” - Ian Sansom
“Requiems For The Departedis as Irish as a broken heart, yet universal in appeal. Stuart Neville’s “Queen of the Hill” alone is worth the price of admission, but it’s only the cream at the top of the pint. With stories from the likes of Bruen, McKinty, Moore, and Grant, you’ll want to squeeze every last drop out of this glass.” - Reed Farrel Coleman
Culture Northern Ireland
Everything you need to know about Northern Irish arts and culture. Interested in music, literature, sport, heritage, visual arts, film, multimedia and/or the performing arts? Click the CNI logo to vist the website.
"Crime fiction is one of the genres which Irish writers have taken to with gusto over the past few years, despite the dearth of writing in this area pre-ceasefire." Click the pic to read my article on the new wave of Irish crime writers.
Crime Fiction 'zines - A list of venues for crime fiction short stories