FALLING GLASS - Adrian McKinty

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

There are some books that it is just flat out a relief to finish.  Too much sleep deprivation and the dust bunnies can start to look like they are moving into formations for the final onslaught.  FALLING GLASS really cheats a lot.  Having become a somewhat besotted Michael Forsythe fan, I did think I could approach FALLING GLASS with the vague hope of keeping reasonable hours.  He plays a bit part only in this book after all, with the action centred around enforcer Killian.  Should have known better.  McKinty writes that brand of dark, violent, no holds barred, tempered with touches of raw and magnificent humour, Irish noir that makes me forget to feed the dogs and forces me to remind myself that no normal person is still awake at 4.00am convincing themselves that just a few more pages won't hurt.

There are differences between Killian and Forsythe.  Killian is an enforcer, rather than a straight out hitman.  He looks for solutions to problems, and he's not above using some elegant albeit somewhat crafty ways of getting results for whoever is paying him.  He's also looking for a way out.  A chance to retire and enjoy the good life, it's his expertise in finding people that don't want to be found that means Forsythe recommends him for a big job.  A very wealthy Irish businessman, Richard Coulter, is prepared to pay big money for somebody to find his ex-wife and return his two young daughters.  Fed the line that the ex is a drug addict who is going to endanger the girls, Killian is attracted by the sheer size of the pay packet - retirement seems just that bit closer.  Of course things are going to get complicated, and of course there's going to be more than meets the eye to the wife's disappearance.  The fact that there are a few elements to the plot of this story that are predictable is neither here nor there - this is a book about the journey.  Killian's journey from enforcer to retiree.  His journey from it being all about the money, to an understanding that there are some things that are more important than money.  The journey from being the chaser to the chased.  

Along the way there's a wonderful sense of the Irishness of this book.  Killian is a tinker, a traveller, a background that he can't get away from, a lifestyle to which he can return with absolutely no questions asked and all kindnesses forthcoming.  The landscape in which the action takes place, the weather, the characters that everyone rubs up against in the chase go further to making such a strong sense of place.  The humour, the outlook, the language, the tone - it's all very very Irish.  As is the ending.  Spectacularly Irish, utterly unresolved - it's an ending that's probably going to drive some readers bats and made me joyously happy.  Because I still love Michael Forsythe - and not just because he's a bad guy - but I also love Killian - not just because he's complicated.  And I don't know if he'll be back in another book.  And now that's keeping me awake.

Year of Publication

Killian makes a hard living enforcing other people's laws, collecting debts, dealing out threats and finding people who do not wish to be found.  Retired hitman Michael Forsythe sets Killian up with the best paid job of his life:  Richard Coulter, a prominent, politically connected, Irish businessman, owner of a budget airline, needs someone to find his ex-wife and children.  He offers Killian half a million to track her down and bring his children back.

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Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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