Thursday, February 28, 2013

Irish Dukes (Mike Faricy writing as Jack Tunney, 2012)

This blog is mostly about crime/mystery novels and besides that I don't usually bother to write reviews of short stories. But this one is a little special because it's the first book I've ever read on Amazon Kindle reader. So I think it deserves a few words.

On second thought, it does deserve to be mentioned anyways. True, there's not much shooting going on but it has a nice pulpy feeling and its noire-ish atmosphere is perfectly aligned to the usual stuff living on this blog. Hell, it even surpasses many of other books mentioned!

Story is pretty simple and straightforward. Told using the first person narration as we follow Sergeant Kevin Crawley from his final day of military service in the post-war Germany who makes a stop in his native Dublin before he'll be dispatched to Japan. Kevin is an orphan and doesn't really know what to expect on the return to his hometown. But as we all know very well, in these types of novels he will find nothing but the troubles.

His father is long gone missing and remaining relatives are living in poverty and are being blackmailed by their evil landlord and his muscle-men. Entire neighborhood is terrorized by this asshole and it soon becomes clear that "You're our one hope, Kevin. Sure as the sun comes up, the good lord sent you to rid us once and for all the likes of that knacker." And since our hero is a boxer, boxing gloves (and of course his attitude!) are his only weapon. Everything will be resolved in the boxing arena...

Short and sweet. I was a little disappointed by a lack of more detailed portrayal of Dublin which was the main reason why I decided to buy it. Sure, people are drinking Guinness and we have few occasional "grands" thrown in but I was hoping for a bit more. What I did like was its dark tone and refusal to fall into some romantic nonsenses. There is a damsel in distress and they do fall in love but author fortunately doesn't pay much attention to it. Instead much more time is dedicated to fights themselves. They are described brilliantly which is not surprising and it's after all expected from the Fight Card Book series. Btw - also liked the little gag about using "rounds" instead of "chapters". Nice one!



Sergeant Kevin Crawley from Chicago

Dublin, 1951

Body count
Open for a discussion, but I would argue there is a corpse. 20 years ago Kevin's father disappeared in some strange circumstances and now bad guy Basil is wearing his family ring... 

Dames: Mary

There are two fights, but on both occasions Kevin's opponents are ones who can't stand up back on their feet after countdown to ten.

Not really sure, unless "duke" means something in boxing jargo

Well, it's all about boxing isn't it? But not really accurate if we are to start splitting hairs. The thing is that Kevin never actually practices boxing with the punching bag.

Cool lines
I glanced up into his eyes. They were blue, a chilly blue. Along with that 'S' curved nose they suggested a personality bordering on the difficult.

"So what you're saying is even though there are only American teams involved... even though no one else, anywhere, understands the game... you call it your World Series?"
I thought about it for a moment. It certainly sounded reasonable. "Yeah, sounds about right."

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