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I thought it was going to be all about the troubles( not the place) but actually there are different stories mostly crime but there are modern stories about Belfast. I really liked the one by Lee Childs that put an American spin on it. I also enjoyed the one by Garvin Downey How to Kill a Rat. It was about a journalist and it showed his process of uncovering stories. And a twist ending. Plus half of the stories are narrated by Gerard Doyle who could read the phone book while the listener goes through a whole range of emotions.
34 of 35 people found this review helpful
I love noir films - dark, atmospheric. I was excited to read this one, not sure why Belfast is particularly noir but willing to find out. The first stories in this series of short stories set the scene. Before, during and after "the troubles" in the 80s, Belfast has been a city of ghosts. In struggles against the English, between Catholic and Protestant, Belfast is full of pubs, allies and squares where this one was martyred and those died for no reason or she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stories are of children whose bombs went off early and simple folks caught in the cross fire. Dark, cold for much of the year and haunted by needless deaths, the editors begin by asserting that Belfast is "The Most Noir City in the World".
As the book progresses, the hard boiled crime dramas that define noir make their appearance. McKinty is rather clever in his arrangement of stories and though it starts slowly, it makes sense in the end.
I'd also like to mention that this was a real education for me. As bad as I was aware Belfast was in the 80s, the stories provide a window into the ongoing struggles of the good people of North Ireland. These stories are raw, direct, quintessentially Irish and gripping. Again, the dark shadows of the genre extent as the stories progress but all are well crafted, entertaining and educational in so far as they communicate the pain of the Irish experience and the legacy of the struggles of the 80s.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful