Friday, August 12, 2011

Wendy talks about The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan

Two thirds of the way through Gene Kerrigan's The Midnight Choir, I couldn't see how the half-dozen or so subplots were going to converge. At times, I even suspected that the novel's organization into sections named for the days of the week was all the unification we'd see. When the pieces magically fell into place, I was enthralled. I read the action of the last day, a Tuesday, in a marathon reading trance from which nothing would have roused me.

I enjoy cop fiction. I like the way chaos is restored to order, and I like seeing bad guys get what they deserve. Who the bad guys are and whether or not they get what they deserve are questions in Kerrigan's world. Inspector Harry Synnott, the main character, is well-known, though not particularly well-liked, for his moral compass. That compass, in conflict with bad guys and those who play the good guys, is at the center of the story.

Kerrigan tells a good story; I'd read more from him. Two or more like this in succession, though, might affect my sunny disposition. His world is dark, and actions and motivations that look like shades of gray pretty quickly turn out to be splotches of black.

I picked this one from the Europa catalogue in part because Kerrigan is Irish. I've loved Tana French's Irish detective fiction (In the Woods and The Likeness), and I love Ireland. Kerrigan offered enough setting for me to long for a trip over, although I'd hope to avoid meeting the likes of his characters.

The Midnight Choir is the third Europa book I've read for the challenge. I signed on for the Europa Ami participation level, which requires four. Jean-Claude Izzo's Total Chaos is on the shelf.