Need a good thriller? Harry Guerin says Stuart Neville's latest will keep you turning the pages, rain or shine.
"Four cans of cheap lager", "a half bottle of supermarket vodka" and "the last blister strip of painkillers" - some people really know how to live. And some, like Stuart Neville, really know how to write about them. As anti-heroes go, Neville's flaws-by-the-freight-load Belfast copper Jack Lennon is not the easiest of men to like, but you'll stay stuck to this trouble magnet all the way through The Final Silence, wondering if he will ever get his life together, or live long enough to even try.
It opens with a former flame of Lennon's, Rea Carlisle, clearing out her late uncle's house. Rea finds something truly shocking, and there's only one man she feels she can trust. Lennon, however, has been on the downward spiral since they parted - on bad terms, of course.
That great adage about there being no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting comes to mind reading The Final Silence, because it feels like Neville has truly toiled to make it as fast-moving as possible. He does not neglect character either, though: as compelling a career-wreck as Lennon is, the women in this book are equally as memorable. Serena Flanagan, the Detective Chief Inspector who truly has the weight of the world on her shoulders, deserves her own series, while Ida Carlisle, Rea's mother who is trapped in a loveless marriage to a politician, shows that Neville could take a break from the thriller genre with no difficulty.
Even though you might think that the twist here is a little too abrupt, your charge through the chapters will still match Lennon's scramble to put at least one thing right. His creator went through a very bad case of writer's block to get him to this showdown, but you would never tell by reading.