Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: 'The Final Silence' by Stuart Neville

DI Jack Lennon's life is a shambles. He is a widower and disgraced cop whose career is in limbo; he has little money to support himself and his nine-year-old daughter, Ellen. Lennon is addicted to painkillers and alcohol, and walks with an uneven gait after sustaining serious injuries in a shootout with a fellow officer. As if all this were not enough to destroy Lennon's peace of mind, an old flame contacts him with a bizarre story that he dismisses out of hand. When she is found bludgeoned to death, DCI Serena Flanagan zeroes in on Lennon as her prime suspect.

Neville is a master of Irish noir. "The Final Silence" is gloomy and violent, but it is also wickedly funny at times. Most of its bitter characters are mired in the past; they cannot free themselves from unhappy memories and misdeeds that continue to haunt them. Although Lennon is flawed in countless ways, he has a heroic side, as well. His love for Ellen is genuine and she reciprocates her father's devotion. Jack hates injustice and will place himself in danger to ensure that predatory criminals get what is coming to them.

"The Final Silence" is intriguingly complex, and Neville's dialogue is profane and caustic. The plot involves an ambitious Belfast politician who will do anything to avoid a whiff of scandal; a psychopath who cannot repress his murderous rage; a recluse who may have committed a series of macabre crimes; and the aforementioned Flanagan, a tough and relentless investigator who is trying to cope with a personal crisis. In "The Final Silence," Neville adeptly deals with such sinister subjects as madness, corruption, betrayal, and murder. Fans of Jack Lennon can only wonder whether this troubled man will find a way to clean up his act before it is too late.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right

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