Just for the character of Harry Synnott the book is worth reading. His recognition at the end regarding his failings comes dramatically and brutally, and I was left to ponder whether he would be able to deal with his self-realization. And then something happened. The story stopped suddenly so that I felt like I'd gone hurtling over a cliff. I had to check to make sure there weren't any pages missing in my tablet!
But when I came to think about it, I think the way the story ended is much more effective, because I was left wondering possible life paths for the characters.
In this book even the most despicable characters can convince themselves they are somehow doing the right thing, even when we know that it isn't the case.
This story is a good case to demonstrate what I’ve always felt. One of the distinctive pleasures of reading Crime Fiction or Speculative Fiction (or SF if you prefer) lies in its awareness of its own traditions and conventions. That's the beauty of it in my view. Is the best genre fiction intrinsically inferior to the so-called "literary" fiction? Not so. There's crap on both sides. A lazy writer can simply follow the genre conventions by the letter. The exceptional genre writers (SF or Crime Fiction) must be looking to subvert my expectations,ie, using the established frameworks to explore new territories or themes. Those are the writers I always look for (eg, Jo Nesbo comes to mind with his ability to constantly undermine my assumptions about characters and their motivations: he kills off central characters in the middle of his stories, for christ's sake).
This is my 2nd Kerrigan. He dolled out just the right amount of information to keep me hooked, but wasn't so stingy that I got to the end thinking he hadn't played me fair, which I was...
Gene Kerrigan is on the verge of becoming one of my favourite genre writers.