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Although I visited Northern Ireland a couple of times it was only through friends that I got any real level of understanding of what life could be like for those living there. The conflict was as unrelenting as it was brutal and if for no other reason I can recommend Ravenhill as it hands out punishment from the get go barely pausing to take breath before the ending. Conflict of this nature has an insidious nature and feeds on the chaos that it, itself creates with revenge killings and tit for tat attacks. As such there is no let up for those caught up in it. The all-consuming need to fight the cause trumps all logic or reason and so it becomes near impossible not to take sides. What this book does is to bring this to life in a way I haven't seen done quite this well before. Gerald Seymour wrote some great books in this area, possibly more balanced in terms of storyline but even he doesn't convey that constant pressure quite so vividly.
The whole thing has a strong authentic feel which is helped by Drew Dillon's genuinely local narration. The action is fast-paced and at times stunningly brutal. If you are put off by gory or psychological violence then there are much gentler thrillers. The storyline includes interlinked episodes from Jacky Shaw's earlier life and the present day. It works pretty well but I did feel that I was almost being rushed from one violent episode to the next.
In short it's a really decent effort, particularly of course as it's a debut novel read by a debut (at least to Audible UK) narrator. Just be prepared that this one just slaps you and keeps on dishing it out until you get to the end. Not for the faint-hearted.
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