😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
This was the winner of the FictionFan Award* for Best Noir Thriller of 2012. Fabulously well written, dark and twisted, the reader is carried into Vincent Madigan’s life as he struggles to find a way out of the tangled and dangerous mess he has made of his life.
An anti-hero of epic proportions, we know from the beginning that he is surely irredeemably bad. No-one could be forgiven for the crimes he has committed, the vicious things he has done. And yet…and yet, as we get to know him, we find empathy for him as the author brilliantly plays with questions of morality and ethics. Madigan makes no excuses for himself; he accepts responsibility for every criminal and violent act he has committed, blames himself for the break-ups of his marriages and for losing touch with his children. But inside this man beats the dark and broken heart of the title and the reader – at least, this reader – can’t help but see the good man he might so easily have been…and might still be. The author manipulates the reader so skilfully that I was left uneasy at how much I wanted Madigan to win through despite knowing his history. It reminded me a bit of how I felt about the awful but oddly likeable Patrick of American Psycho, but where that was blackly comic, this is true thrilling noir.
I have deliberately not given a synopsis of the plot since it is so complex and has so many twists that I fear even a simple outline could lead to unintentional spoilers. But after the first couple of violent chapters, the reader is blasted by the first breath-taking twist and from there on is swept into an ever-shifting, ever more threatening world where good and bad become so blurred that they are eventually almost impossible to tell apart. This is a superbly told and completely compelling roller coaster of a story – bleak, often violent, but never without the possibility of redemption.
*The prize for the prestigious FictionFan Award is that I guarantee to read the author’s next book 🙂 – which in this case apparently will be The Devil and the River due to be published in June 2013. Can’t wait!