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09 June 2015

Adrian McKinty, Stuart Neville: Belfast Noir

Stories from a really noir city
This is a collection of fourteen short stories set in and around the City of Belfast. I read somewhere that even when the sun is shining there is a grey aura around the city - these stories all encapsulated some of that aura.

The stories are varied and while some hark back to the IRA/Protestant "Troubles" of the 1980's they don't really concentrate on that era. They cover a wide range of lowlifes produced by the grey city and its heritage, including convicts, prostitutes, blackmailers, private eyes, reporters and even a fighting dog breeder.

My favourite stories were about:

~ A member of the IRA who had to drive a hearse and coffin , with unknown contents, over the border from Ireland and was scared stiff that the coffin might explode on the way.

~ A teenage girl who had a crush on her Spanish teacher and managed to get him dismissed.

~ A man who took a Polaroid photo of the lady-of-the-house which he stuck in the coin-operated electricity meter to give constant supply. Most times because the lady didn't have any spare money he took his payment in kind.

I read this collection of stories as an audiobook, which really enhanced my enjoyment because of the great local Irish accents used by the narrators. I read it during my morning walks so I could finish many stories in one session. I am not normally a short story reader but I do recommend this collection, especially if you can have it read to you with authentic accents as an audiobook.

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