This Sligo Noir novel turned out to be noirer than expected. It is very good, and extremely well written, and it’s funny in parts, and it’s intelligent. But it is noir. No getting away from it.
I survived, but that’s more than can be said for some of the characters. Several of them die, and quite spectacularly so. I’m not sure how anyone can come up with some of the graphic ways of killing people, or the descriptions of what you can do to a human being without actually killing them.
But I suppose that’s what makes a good author, being able to write about that which (I sincerely hope) we haven’t experienced in real life. Declan Burke is a very good writer. I know I keep going on about that, but he is. Even when noir.
Harry Rigby from Eightball Boogie is back. It’s been a while, and he’s done time for you-know-what. (If you don’t, you will read Eightball Boogie first, before being allowed Slaughter’s Hound.) He’s quite likeable for someone not very likeable, and he has surprisingly good taste in women.
In this book he watches his friend Finn fall from nine floors up, flattening his taxi on landing. So he really has to find out how Finn came to fall, and why. Most people seem to think Harry pushed him.
It’s a complicated tale of art and drugs and an old death, played out in the shadow of what’s left of the Irish economy. Harry has to contend with rich women, crazy women, angry ones, and also some pretty dubious men, such as the police and lawyers.
Harry’s adopted son Ben has got older and is having trouble at school. Ben’s mother expects Harry to behave honourably and do the proper Dad thing. But with bad guys on your heels, there is less time for fatherhood than there should be.
As with Declan’s other novels, Greece plays a part in the plot, and as you can tell from the title, there is a doggy, too.
If you can take the gruesomeness, this book is one of the best. A lot of people have been saying so, and I can confirm they’re right. But you might want to look for something splashproof to wear for when the blood starts to flow.