It takes some kind of author to make you see your native city in a new way, but after reading Kevin McCarthy's Irregulars the streets, alleys and ghosts of Dublin Past will never seem the same again. Long before you finish devouring the chapters you'll be planning a walking tour of your own.
Set in 1922, Irregulars tells the story of Seán O'Keefe – ex-soldier, ex-Peeler – who's thrown head-first into a pitch black coddle of missing children, murder, stolen money, Civil War politics and a family debt that must be honoured, with plenty of beatings and bodies before he can.
As O'Keefe goes from front parlours to tenements to lodging houses, he's joined by 'Just' Albert; Monto muscle with a personal interest in the case and an unshakeable belief that he can fix any problem with his hands. After he and O'Keefe pay a visit to the internment camp at Gormanston you're ready to believe him, and that's just one of a number of brilliantly realised set pieces amidst the twists.
Like George P Pelecanos with his DC Quartet, McCarthy has made Dublin his own, populating it with heroes, shooters, spies and street urchins who look good for two decades and a dozen books, all far from The Gathering crowd.