For Bull O’Kane vengeance is both personal and professional. Permanently damaged and forced to a wheelchair he wants Fagan dead. O’Kane, beyond being crippled by Fegan, cannot stand that Fegan is the only man he fears in the world.
O’Kane reaches out to an independent assassin, The Traveler, a fierce killer of gypsy background. He hires The Traveler to dispose of the loose ends and draw out Fegan who has disappeared. The Traveler is indifferent to his motivations.
In Belfast Detective Inspector Jack Lennon, a Catholic, is living with his own demons. He has been estranged from his family for 15 years for having joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary. He is under constant suspicion within the police for having lived with Marie McKenna and fathered a daughter. McKenna is the daughter and niece of powerful Republicans. The constant tension is wearing upon him.
When Lennon, on surveillance, prevents a Loyalist gangster from killing another Loyalist thug in an internal dispute over turf and criminal ventures he gains increased responsibilities within the police services.
In New York City Fegan is trying to work quietly but his sleep is still haunted. While the ghosts from Belfast have faded he is plagued by visions of fire and smoke and a screaming child.
At the same time Lennon, who had abandoned McKenna and his daughter Ellen, desperately wants to re-establish contact. They have equally gone away and he cannot penetrate Special Branch.
As The Traveler carries out his contract and the bodies begin to mount Lennon does not accept there are no connections. His superiors are content with convenient solutions.
The depths of the scheming are made clear to Lennon:
“Everybody knows it all, but no one says anything. Look, collusion worked all ways, all directions. Between the Brits and the Loyalists, between the Irish government and the Republicans, between the Republicans and the Brits, between the Loyalists and the Republicans …… All ways, all directions. We’ll never know how far it went.”
A degree of paranoia can be healthy in Northern Ireland as there may be a vast conspiracy around you.
It is a tribute to Neville’s skill that he can create a thriller filled with hard men and hard women. Ordinary thrillers require a hero. Neville does not need a hero to carry his plot. His story drives forward into a contemporary heart of darkness. (Apr. 4/15)
****Neville, Stuart - (2011) - The Ghosts of Belfast; (2012) - "N" is for Stuart Neville