Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Rage

Gene Kerrigan

Vintage UK, 2012

The Rage tells the parallel stories of three dissimilar people whose fates intersect at one point. Rage from the title of the book is a feeling that drives one of the heroes of the book. Vincent Naylor was released from prison ten days ago and is back in business. Naylor worked for a local small-time hood, but he did the time for assault. Being free, Naylor plans to quit his outbreaks of aggression and focus only on that unlawful deals that does not bring not as much jail time as money. Overheard a chatter of a former guard in taxi, Naylor immediately plans robbery of a armored truck. He takes his older brother, and two of his cronies in his team.

Another two story lines are related, but are not associated with the Naylor’s subplot. Detective Bob Tidy is completing all the loose ends in his investigations, when he is attached to a group of detectives working on the murder of a banker in his own home. Tidy, honest and conscientious cop, sometimes bends the law himself, visits a nun Maura Coady, when she reports something suspicious outside her window on the street.

All three lines intersect in the final, as it happens in the good books, though not completely. The Rage is only nominally police procedural: here there is a detective and the sensational murder, Tidy even finds some clues already closing to finding the killer. But the "police" part of the novel stands out in the sense that the main plot intersect with it only at a tangent. Kerrigan is not interested in a puzzle, but in the mechanics of the police work, in the relationships between higher ranks and ordinary detectives. On Tidy’s example it clearly shows that the initiative and insight are not welcome in police work.

But the main subplot with Naylor’s robbery presents a few surprises. Kerrigan has no illusions: most of the criminals are not geniuses, capable of impunity and leaving no trace, they are tough and cruel people, driven by their instincts and emotions. Naylor does not even dream that he will commit one crime after another and avoid prison. He only hopes that he would go to jail for something that will bring him satisfaction.

Against the plot twists and turns, Kerrigan puts into the mouths of his characters personal feelings about the fate of Ireland: the economy is falling apart, the banks have ruined the country, and all the people suffer. It is interesting that almost all the characters in the novel go the hard way through an economic decline - except Naylor. He just robs armored truck not because of a revenge to banks for the crisis in the economy, but simply because he had overheard a good plan for a robbery.

The Rage is head and shoulders above any contemporary British procedural. No rage, only sheer pleasure.

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