The Rage by Gene Kerrigan

A noir crime novel featuring the collision of a motley group of characters in modern Ireland.


The Rage by Gene Kerrigan (The Midnight Choir) is a multifaceted, character-driven story of crime and remorse. Vincent Naylor, freshly out of prison, is back to planning a robbery with his old accomplices, most notably his beloved big brother, Noel. Bob Tidey is an experienced and jaded police detective, still devoted to doing good but with the growing feeling that his employers limit his best efforts. Maura Coady is a retired nun living with her guilt and regrets. When Maura witnesses something out the front window of her apartment that doesn’t look quite right, she calls Tidey to report it, setting in motion a string of events that run counter to the Naylor brothers’ movements toward the next big score. The reader watches each player’s trajectory on this collision course, but still won’t guess the big finish until it crashes into place.

The Rage will please readers of crime thrillers and literary fiction alike. The atmosphere effectively evokes contemporary Ireland, with all its discontent and economic frustration, and in this way brings to mind Tana French’s lyrical Dublin Murder Squad mystery series. Bob Tidey’s cynicism and gruff efforts at romance recall Michael Connelly’s hero Detective Harry Bosch. The intersecting story lines and crescendo of action create a cinematic effect. Kerrigan’s compelling characters carry this thriller breathlessly through to its climax, but it is the engaging dialogue, thoughtful and absorbing prose and social conscience that make The Rage memorable.

This review originally ran in the February 8, 2013 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!

Rating: 6 regrets.

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