Adrian McKinty’s Falling Glass is a kick-ass thriller full of violence, sharp prose and great dialogue, all related at a swifter-than-all-hell pace. It’s also a deeply felt story of a man wrestling with his identity as he enters middle-age. Add to that plenty of laughs and some of the tightest action and suspense sequences this side of a Charlie Huston novel and you have about as good a time as someone can have while seated and alone (outside of perusing “grown-up sites,” anyhow).
That should be enough for you to pick this up, dear reader, but because I know you have way too much time on your hands (and get that other thing out of your hand, you filthy bastard – practice some self control!) I’ll elaborate some. Falling Glass is the story of Killian, a Pavee (also known as a “traveller” or “tinker”) fixer for hire. When Killian gets hired to find airline magnate Richard Coulter’s ex-wife and two girls he knows it’s too good to be true, but he could also use the half a mil he’ll net if he tracks her down. When a second man, the ruthless Russian contract killer Markov, is also put on the woman’s trail, Killian has to decide whether to take the money and keep his head down or protect the woman who knows too much and her wee bairns.
Like I said up top, there is some undeniably top-notch thriller craft going on in Falling Glass, but what pushes the novel over the top is the soul-searching done by Killian. Before the recent economic collapse Killian had left the Life, making straight money as the owner of an apartment building and going to university as an architecture student. Having to go back to his old, decidedly less-legal ways to pay his bills is tough on him, but far more natural for him than the life of a square. As the novel progresses, though, he reconnects with his childhood as a Pavee in caravan settlements and finds that just because he ran from the Pavee lifestyle doesn’t mean they haven’t kept a trailer waiting for him all this time.
I dunno what else the Nerd’s gotta tell you, dear reader, to get this beast under your nose toot-sweet. A great main character, tons of thrills and some fascinating shit about Pavee life in there to boot? How about this: it also has one of the strangest and slyest meta jokes I’ve seen in an otherwise straight-up, po-mo-free novel in a good goddamn while (the punchline being “Action stations. Second person to third.”). The only way you lose here is if you have terrible fucking taste in fiction, simple as that. Now if you’ll excuse the Nerd, all this talk about grown-up sites has incited a hunger in him…for poutine, that is – that shit’s amazing.