Crime landscapes of US frontier, hypnosis, Big Pharma and Galway
Novels from Kevin McCarthy, Tanya Farrelly, Fiona Gartland, Nessa O’Mahony and Ken Bruen
Kevin McCarthy’s first two novels, Irregulars and Peeler, were set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War, but Wolves of Eden (WW Norton, €14.99) opens in the wake of the American civil war, with the psychologically scarred Union Army veteran Lieut Molloy dispatched to Fort Phil Kearny in the Dakota Territory to “put boots on the gallows” – ie, investigate the apparent murder of the fort’s sutler and his wife. Molloy being an alcoholic determined to drink himself to death, the investigation is largely conducted by his second-in-command, Sergeant Kohn; woven through Kohn’s attempts to penetrate the code of omerta that pertains at Fort Kearny is a rambling, semi-literate confession written by Michael O’Driscoll, an Irish immigrant who has served with the Union Army during the recent war.
Wolves of Eden
A compelling tale of men who were “chucked into the roaring flames of history”, Wolves of Eden is superbly detailed in its depiction of frontier soldiering, with Fort Kearny besieged by Chief Red Cloud and the story playing out against the events which led to the Fetterman Massacre of 1866. Flashing with shards of coal-black humour – Michael’s brother Tom, shot in the face at the battle of Chickamauga, has “a face that would make a funeral turn from a main road” – Wolves of Eden is a brutal, blood-soaked and unsentimental account of the Old West that bears comparison with Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.