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8 May 1997 Edition

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New in print

Fast-moving violent thriller



Ganglands
By TS O'Rourke
Published by Breffni Books
Price £5.99 (pb)

For those who are sceptical of reports of a drugs/crime epidemic in Irish urban centres the recent Sinn Féin Ard Fheis debate on anti-drugs motions would have been a revelation. The situation is as bad if not worse than predictions made by community workers.

This novel by a new writer, TS O'Rourke, is also a salutory lesson for those sceptics. Though fanciful and exaggerated at times the author succeeds in capturing the atmosphere of what the criminal underworld in Dublin or any other city in Ireland, or the world for that matter, must be like. How they like to mirror their TV `heroes'. Or how, they have their own language, mannerisms, dress code and `society' status that bear no relationship to the experiences or the reality of the life of the majority of us, other than that it impinges on us more frequently as their `world' expands.

The predominance of drug barons and dealers in positions of power in this underworld has destroyed any sneaking regard people still had for gangsters - these are no modern-day Robin Hoods. Theirs is a culture based on destroying people's lives through drugs. Their battle empires are maintained through terror and the use of extreme gratuitous violence. Thankfully they are now being ejected by the communities they have plagued for years.

O'Rourke's book deals with two brothers who wish to scale to the top of the drug barons' pecking order and are willing to do anything to achieve their goal. A good, fast-moving thriller, which could easily be adapted as a screenplay, it is not without its flaws. While it is too simplistic - glorifying the criminal world at times - as a first novel it is excellent. Corpses, mindless thuggery, jealousy, greed and steamy sex are littered throughout its pages.

By Aengus O'Snodaigh


Walking into the past



Dublin in 1798 - Three Illustrated Walks
By Denis Carroll.
Illustrations by Orla Davin.

Historian Denis Carroll has produced this timely little guide book as we prepare to mark the 200th anniversary of the 1798 Rising. A fascinating text and good sketches of the main locations evoke the atmosphere of the time. The centre of the city was further to the west than it is today, around Christ Church and Dublin Castle. All the main actors in the drama of Dublin in `98 lived within walking distance of one another. Cities then were smaller, more overcrowded, more intimate places. Squalor and luxury existed side by side. Spies and informers were literally around every corner.

Launched last week by Martin Mansergh this book should not be left on the shelf but should be taken out for a walk.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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