The Fortunate Isles by Dave Hutchinson from Requiems for the Departed – review

requiems for the departed reviewed by David Cranmer

I think the first time I heard of Tir-na-nÓg was on the sleeve notes of The Book of Invasions by Horslips. That would have been back in the late 70s, and Tir-na-nÓg wasn’t actually mentioned by name, if I remember correctly, but the story of the Tuatha Dé Danann outlined in the notes stuck in my mind. And it really is a cracking album, too.

The next time I heard of Tir-na-nÓg was sometime in the mid-80s, in the booklet that accompanied a computer game called, reasonably enough, Tir Na Nog. If you were a Spectrum or Amstrad gamer in the mid-80s, the chances are you know what I’m talking about.

The idea of this land of the ever-young, this far-off place beyond the edges of the map, has stuck with me for years.

Dave Hutchinson

In “The Fortunate Isles” Detective Daniel Snow describes himself as an English/Irish/Jewish/Catholic/Humanist copper who plies his trade in the-not-so-distant-future of Western Europe. When Snow is called to a homicide scene, the story begins as a routine murder mystery with the victim initially identified as Glenroy Walken and his widow pinned as the prime suspect. As the story unfolds, we find the woman is not who we think she is and Glenroy Walken was a character on The West Wing TV show.

Thanks to Mr. Hutchinson’s dexterity, he weaves in a future world that takes place after The Traveller Wars occurred and so named for two family’s control of the local drug trade. How that along with Detective Snow’s comatose father, tattoos, a stolen body, and the unconscious widow plays into the plot makes for one of the best short stories I’ve read this year.

I will look for more of Mr. Hutchinson’s skilled work.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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