Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book reviews: Kevin McCarthy 'Irregulars' and A.W.Timmons 'Here In No Place.'

Two authors I have discovered recently are Kevin McCarthy and A.W. Timmons.

Kevin McCarthy's Irregulars was published in May. It follows on from his first novel Peelers and tells the story of Sean O'Keefe a demobbed RIC-man. Set in the year 1922 in the Civil War we follow the events of Dublin City with its Free Staters and Republicans. But behind the history is a great absorbing story of a Dublin brothel owner searching for her young son who has got himself involved in the fight. The character of O'Keefe is well drawn and we see his human weaknesses as he tries to find a new identity. McCarthy cleverly pairs him in his search with the heavy man of the brothel, Albert. A man who knows how to use his strength, he also has his soft side as the orphan taken in off the streets by the Madame to whom he s now dedicated. The other interesting character is Nora Flynn, an undercover agent who becomes part of O'Keefe's story.

I will be honest and admit that I picked this book up and started it and then put it down for a while. Picking it up later I really got into the story and enjoyed the historical detail as well as the descriptions of 1920s inner city Dublin.

A.W.Timmons's Here In No Place is a much more muted tale. Set in the fictional village of Kiltuam, this is the story of a lost soul. Murt Doran has a past that haunts him and his life has not gone how he planned it. Now living in a guest house, we learn of the death of his wife eighteen years before and how this impacted on his future, his daughter brought up by his sister-in-law and her husband and Murt's drift between odd jobs.

Finally addressing his issues he makes an effort to contact his daughter and we learn of the complications in both her adoptive families past and how this has affected her. Secrets rise to the surface and past hurts are seen to be still tender. Under cutting this story is the close relationship Murt has with his uncle, Quinn and also the patience of his personality symbolised by the renovation he undertakes of an old lamp. There are other interesting characters, such as the other lodger at the guest house and the landlady's alcoholic daughter who each add to the depth of the story.

Moving along in a measured and delicate manner, the story Timmons tells is no less affecting and moving in its final reveal. This is A.W.Timmons's first novel and I look forward to seeing more from him.

Irregulars by Kevin McCarthy and Here In No Place by A.W.Timmons are both published by New Island.

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