Collusion by Stuart Neville

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Collusion by Stuart Neville

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Based mainly in Ireland, rival 'hard-man' criminals come face to face. After far too much precious blood has been spilled, someone called O'Kane is out for revenge but he knows full well that his target won't be easy to eliminate.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: August 2011
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099535355

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When I read the back cover blurb carefully, I discovered that most of the story is located in Ireland and not New York as I'd previously thought so I was just a little disappointed before I'd even opened the book. I'm usually a sucker for anything American in the fiction stakes.

Policeman Jack Lennon (his proper name is John and there's a good piece later on illustrating the fact that he's officially called John Lennon). Jack's on surveillance duty watching a couple of no-users as they sit and talk in a local cafe. Jack's in the comfort of his vehicle but still, he's not impressed with his latest task and says in his own words Yep, ... shit work.

And right from the word go I was liking Neville's style. Fluid yet witty, natural yet edgy. What's not to like here, I'm thinking. I was then hoping that the plot would live up to the very good prose. But would it? The front cover screams action and high-octane thriller. But Neville takes time to draw a picture of his main characters for the readers' benefit. So there's a nice level of background information in between bursts of action and drama (and lots of blood-spilling). For example, we get to know a little of what makes Lennon tick as well as the low-down on some of his police colleagues. As the plot develops, we can see a secret agenda unfolding. It's ugly, criminal and dangerous.

As Neville brings on his main characters there's a nice take on nicknames: The Traveller, Bull, Dandy Andy. It all works well and gives added flavour to an already good storyline. It's not long before the troubles, past and present, of Northern Ireland get a mention. I thought that the idea behind the one-word title may have been rather simplistic but not so. It's complex and also interesting. I was liking the story more and more which surprised me a little. I wasn't expecting to like it so much, so it just goes to show, doesn't it?

As the man called Bull sets out on his bloody and merciless path of revenge, he enlists a psychopathic hit-man called The Traveller. Neville gives this character plenty of menace and every breath he takes is surrounded with violence, it would seem. Is he bothered? Nope. The Traveller is no oil painting and manages to scare young children, dogs and little old ladies and that's without him even trying. But when he has an assignment to undertake, especially one which is well paid, boy, does he take it all seriously.

Another aspect of the book that I liked was Neville's subtlety. There's a section fairly early on in the book which has a high level of violence at its centre. As The Traveller goes about his business, there's an unexpected discovery and the last two lines are first class. We know what's going to happen without Neville spelling it out for us. Neville also does a nice line in wit - for example, Holidaymakers and office workers stood in clusters, the tourists with their pints of Guiness, the locals with their WKD and Magners cider. I enjoyed his witty lines.

Overall, I found this to be a cracking story, told with wit and panache. Thoroughly enjoyable and thoroughly recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. We also have a review of Neville's So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan).

If this book appeals then you might like to try The Killing of the Tinkers by Ken Bruen.

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Buy Collusion by Stuart Neville at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Collusion by Stuart Neville at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Collusion by Stuart Neville at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Collusion by Stuart Neville at


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