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Little Criminals [Paperback]

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Item description for Little Criminals by Gene Kerrigan...

From the author of The Midnight Choir.

Justin and Angela Kennedy are doing fine. Better than fine-they have wealth, position, love, children, and a limitless future. Into their lives comes Frankie Crowe, an ambitious criminal tired of risking his life for small change. Together with a crew of singularly dangerous men, Frankie decides that a kidnapping could be the first step toward a better life. Set in modern Dublin, Little Criminals is a story that bristles with tension and expectation, a story about what happens to the fragile things-friendship, love, compassion-when all rules are broken.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   340
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2008
Publisher   Europa Editions
ISBN  1933372435  
ISBN13  9781933372433  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gene Kerrigan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gene Kerrigan is a Dublin writer, the author of Another Country, This Great Little Nation (with Pat Brennan) and Never Make a Promise You Can t Break.

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Product Categories

1Books > Bargain Books
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > Hard-Boiled
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

Reviews - What do customers think about Little Criminals?

Little Criminal Minds  Aug 16, 2008
"Once in a while you come across a book that delivers a blow to the guts, and very occasionally a kick to the arse as well. Gene Kerrigan's LITTLE CRIMINALS is such a book." WR Burnett

Harte's Cross, a small town outside of Dublin, is the home to a small time hoodlum, Frankie Crowe. Frankie has always wanted the easy way, it seems. He left home after his family reported him to the local Garda, Ireland's National Police Service. Ever since he has been on the lam or loosely involved in someone else's capers. Now, he has decided that he wants to commit a large enough crime to set him up for life. He sets his sights on kidnapping a prosperous lawyer, Justin Kennedy. Frankie has old friends who join his 'crew' and the plans are set. Frankie, who has a short fuse, settles differences with Jo Jo, a criminal mentor, when JOJO disagrees with Frankie's plans. This sets in motion a plan and plot that interests the garda. As all plans go awry when not well thought out, Frankie discovers that the better plan is to kidnap Kennedy's wife Angela. One thing leads to another and one of the most exciting and well written crime novels moves ahead.

Gene Kerrigan gives close attention to his characters. They are brought to life with exacting detail and we get to know them. To like them, is another matter, but we care. Besides his crew, we learn about Frankie's ex-wife and child, some of the towns people and, most of all the police. The upper echelons and the lower ranks. Caught in the middle is John Grace, an honest detective. "He had mastered the methodical routine of detective work and was sure of his abilities as a supervisor of those beneath him on the ladder. Those talents got him to a respectable level, at which he lingered." Because Grace knows Frankie, he is brought into assist the police in an in-depth analysis of Frankie and his crew.

The rest of the book plays out the story of the kidnap from the viewpoint of all the gang members and those affected by the crime. It is a mesmerizing glimpse into modern day Ireland, where the Church has little say and the young 'want what they want' as quickly as possible, paying little attention to the customs of yore. Past tragedies and dreams collide, and we have a glimpse into the world of the criminals and those lives that they shatter.

Highly, Highly Recommended. prisrob 08-16-08

The Midnight Choir

Another Country: Growing Up in 50's Ireland
Delusions of Grandeur in the Dublin Underworld  Jul 29, 2008
Last year I picked up Kerrigan's "The Midnight Choir" and loved it -- so I was pleased to see his earlier crime novel finally become available here in the U.S. The Irish journalist's style is very reminiscent of Bill James' Harpur & Iles series -- straight police and thieves procedurals written to show both sides of a crime. The story here revolves around Frankie Crowe, a second-tier Dublin hoodlum with delusions of the big time. He's put a crew together to kidnap a wealthy banker and hold him for the kind of ransom that will allow Frankie and his fellow "little criminals" to never have to pull another job again.

Like Bill James' "Take," the story delves deep into the details of how Frankie assembles his team, plans and executes the job, as well as the psychology of Frankie and his associates. It's this attention to motivation and background that gives the book real depth and substance. Alas, Frankie's careful planning proves to be somewhat fallible, as his target turns out to not quite who Frankie believes him to be, leading to a hasty change of plans. The police don't make their entrance until quite late in the story, after the kidnapping has occurred. DI Grace knows all the small-time faces, and is brought in to help the high profile task force that's been assembled to respond to the crime. The final portion of the book is immensely satisfying, as both sides of the law blunder their way to a final confrontation.

Like the best American crime writers (Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, etc.), Kerrigan's got the chops when it comes to realistic dialogue. And like many journalists who turn their hand to fiction, he's able to organically weave plenty of local color and detail into his story, bringing to the new Dublin to life. Beyond the satisfaction of a well-told crime story, the plot acts as a commentary on the impact of the booming Irish economy on expectations. Those of all backgrounds feel entitled to a slice of the megamoney being invested in Ireland -- whether by hook or by crook. This new worldview is further highlighted by a slightly awkward framing device which opens and closes the book. As the book opens we meet an elderly man (who represents old world honor) who is determined to rid the world of Frankie, and then at the end of the book we learn why. This book and "The Midnight Choir", mark Kerrigan as a writer whose books I will eagerly anticipate.
"There were people who took shortcuts through other people's lives, [ignored] what harm they did..acted with reckless contempt."  Apr 28, 2008
Frankie Crowe is a man who takes shortcuts. A "little" criminal with a small mind and grand ideas, he is also among the most dangerous of criminals, a young man who is totally self-centered. Recently released from two years in prison, Frankie believes that the dead time in jail is better than working a dead end job. Life in Dublin--at least the kind of life Frankie wants--is expensive, and his current scheme is to kidnap one of Ireland's wealthiest men and hold him for ransom. Collecting a crew of petty criminals, Frankie and his associates conspire to make the snatch, then change plans and kidnap the young wife of their former target. Taking her to the remote countryside, they keep her terrified while they sadistically play with her husband's emotions. His attempts to obtain the ransom put his own business practices under the microscope.

Filling the novel with the local color of life in and around Dublin, author Gene Kerrigan plots an involving mystery, showing the dark side of Irish life and creating characters the reader comes to know and understand. Not typically noir, this novel places far more emphasis on showing why characters like Frankie are so unapologetically anti-social, if not sociopathic. As Frankie himself says, "Sometimes you have to do something you know is just plain wrong...It's that or be a loser." Absolutely nothing, including murder, will deter Frankie from his goals.

As author Kerrigan shows, economic "progress" in the "new" Ireland has changed the fabric of the country for its young people, a number of whom have put their entrepreneurial skills to use in unsavory ways. The old values have waned, and the power of the Church has declined. "It's all about money now, and grabbing your share and a bit of the other fella's." For Inspector John Grace, "The crimes just kept on coming, and would keep on coming." Everyone now feels entitled to fulfill his personal vision of the good life, Grace believes, and no one in power cares.

The sociological underpinnings of this novel add depth and complexity to what might otherwise have been a shoot-'em-up in a Dublin setting. Smooth at the same time that it is gritty, and darkly ironic at the same time that it is brutally realistic, Kerrigan's novel often conveys real sentiment, seen even in the lives of criminals like Frankie Crowe. Frankie's callous, asocial behavior, in turn, often enhances the book's emotional impact through its shock value, and the desperate resolution lingers for the reader long after the book is closed. Beautifully plotted, sometimes violent, and very involving, Kerrigan has developed a novel which goes beyond thrills and into the realm of literature. n Mary Whipple

The Midnight Choir
Another Country: Growing Up in 50's Ireland
This Great Little Nation
Couldn't Put This Down!  Sep 23, 2006
I got hooked on Kerrigan when his Midnight Choir was written up well in an Irish Sunday paper. After that I went in search of Mr. Kerrigan and got this out of the Ballina Library. It too was so good that I took it back (after reading it in a day) and then bought it so I could have it in my library right next to Choir. This book isn't about Leprechauns and River Dance. It gives an insight into the underbelly of Ireland, both rich and poor. Ireland isn't the only country with an underbelly like this, and it is not done in a way to demean the country, just talk about it. This is a well written, page turning gotta read by an Irish journalist who should spend more time writing novels! I want another one!

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