Alan Glynn
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Buy *Winterland* by Alan Glynn online

Alan Glynn
480 pages
June 2011
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Politics, greed, graft and cover-ups are the hallmark of Glynnís beautifully conjured novel. Corporate interests are married to politics in Dublin, a ground-breaking building project in its final stages as seasoned politician Larry Bolger prepares to step into the role of Taeoiseach, or prime minister. As behind-the-scenes power broker and property developer Paddy Norton anticipates Bolgerís smooth transition to power and the signatures on his most lucrative deal yet, life steps in, leaving two men dead and a grieving sister asking embarrassing questions.

Young Noel Rafferty, a petty criminal building a reputation, is shot point blank at an outdoor pub. Even more tragic, his uncle is killed in a car accident later that night. That both men share the same name seems at first a bizarre coincidence. Gina, the youngest of the Rafferty clan, is surprised by her cousinís death but truly devastated by that of her older brother. Remembering their final conversation, Gina is assaulted by questions, unable to accept the manner of her brotherís death. Once she begins asking those questions, the power brokers and politicians are directly in her line of fire.

The plot shifts perspective between Gina Rafferty, Larry Bolger and Paddy Norton, with one other figure acting as catalyst: Mark Griffin. Mark, the only survivor of an accident with Bolgerís older brother years before, has never recovered from the loss of his parents and sister. Now Gina prods Mark to remember, and his repressed nightmares are unleashed with staggering consequences.

From the double murder at the beginning of the novel to an extraordinary example of gang violence in a warehouse, from the offices of an international venture capitalist to the secret meetings of Paddy Norton and the thug who carries out his venal orders, Glynn writes a compelling tale of moral ambiguity and lifelong ambitions, a smoothly oiled machine stuttering to a stop thanks to the interference of a grieving sister and an awakening Mark Griffin.

The action never lets up, a maelstrom of opportunism and greed, the actions of a few years before bringing down the corporate dreams of the powerful. Dublin is the playground for this fascinating, well-constructed thriller, but no one is playing when the stakes are this high. As the lives of the movers and shakers disintegrate before their disbelieving eyes, our pity is short-lived, the long arm of graft threatening the moral integrity of a city on the cusp of the future.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2010

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