Thursday, July 4, 2013
Review of Little Criminals by Gene Kerrigan (Vintage, 2005)
Little Criminals is a cracking read and a lesson in how write all tell and no show, using tight, sparse, expressive prose. There isn’t a single sentence that doesn’t propel the story forward. Rather than following one person, Kerrigan shifts the point of view, telling different elements of the story from the perspective of a handful of characters, principally the main criminal Frankie Crowe, his reluctant sidekick, Martin Paxton, kidnap victim Angela Kennedy, and copper John Grace. The characterisation is excellent, with each character's back story, neatly and efficiently set out, with a series of wonderful scenes and realistic dialogue. The plot is tight and gripping. There is no real mystery element to the story, nor unlikely coincidences or melodrama, instead it simply charts how the Crowe’s attempt at making the big time unfolds, which in and of itself is highly compelling. The whole book is wonderfully evocative of Dublin before the crash, colliding together the worlds of criminal gangs and the corporate elite. Overall, an excellent tale, very well told. Highly recommended.