Friday, December 28, 2012
Review of The Nameless Dead by Brian McGilloway (Pan, 2012)
The Nameless Dead is the fifth instalment of McGilloway’s Ben Devlin series. McGilloway has the full measure of Devlin’s world - his family, police politics and rivalries, his embedding in the social and criminal landscape of the border. The writing is very assured, with a lovely cadence and pace, and nicely balances plot, characterization, sense of place and contextualisation. With respect to the latter two, The Nameless Dead skilfully weaves together the troubles and sexual politics of the 1970s with the politics of peace and reconciliation and the social realities and landscape of the post-Celtic Tiger crash in the border counties. The plotting is particularly well done, interlacing a number of subplots to produce a layered and textured story that charts both the investigation and Devlin’s personal life. Whilst the focus is very much Devlin, importantly McGilloway also adds flesh to the series’ secondary characters, and the ongoing subplots adds to the overarching arc of the series. Overall, The Nameless Dead is a satisfying and superior police procedural in what is shaping up to be a very accomplished and enjoyable series.