Conor, home in western Ireland on Christmas leave from his job in London. Home for the craic, the chirp, the bullshit with boyhood friends, especially the ebullient Darragh. Drink all night, sleep ‘til noon, then the hair of the dog…
Sadly, a well respected and popular local man is hit on the roadside and left to die in a ditch. Nobody comes forward to own up. All the locals wonder who could do such a heartless thing and drive away. The Gardai investigate.
Three friends; Conor, Darragh and Sarah. Both of the men are in love with Sarah, but Conor takes a step back and Darragh one forward. Conor the cautious, the unselfish, where greater love hath no man, believing that nothing should jeopardise the friendship, not even love. Sarah and Darragh have become an item, sharing his family cottage in the mountains.
McManus paints the details of their characters and their relationship with a fine brush and deeply understood feeling which struck a strong chord with me. The naturally ingrained relationship of the Irish for their beautiful music plays a big part, as well as that other great Irish talent: thoughts of immigration.
Without a spoiler, there is not a lot more I can say, as, slowly, the rot of suspicion, guilt and betrayal begins to pervade the trio. The plot builds to an ending rather than a climax, more gut-tearingly personal than eventful.
That I enjoyed this tale is without doubt, but I thought the canvas was too big for the relatively small picture.
Thank you, publisher Austin Macauley, for sending this to BOOK POSTMORTEM for an honest review. It was due for release on 29/01/2016.