Monday, June 29, 2009
Drown All The Dogs: Thomas Adcock
Drown All The Dogs is a paperback I picked up at a great little store in Portland called Murder By The Book. I bought this book years ago and am only now finally reading it. I think I needed to read this book as an adult, as it's pretty thick stuff. It's an Irish cop mystery intricately woven with Irish history and literature.
Neil Hockaday is a New York cop of Irish descent who spends his time in Hell's Kitchen, trying to fill the "hollow places" inside him. Ruby Flagg is his gal pal who gives strong, independent woman a good name. In an effort to solve the mystery of Hockaday's faceless father, Neil and Ruby take a vacation across the pond to visit old Uncle Liam. From there, the mysteries pile up faster than the body count, with Neil at the epicenter.
I'm still not sure I fully understand this book. The Irish Republic Army, Nazis, secret organizations, and so much convoluted patriotism create a web of deceit that our New Yorker cop has to untangle to reveal the truth about his family. Unfortunately, some places are so tangled and dark that they may better be left alone.
While reading this novel, I couldn't help but wonder how much our family history defines us. For some folks, I think that lineage is just history. For others, I think that family is defining. What ugly secret would it take for you to disown your familial history? Imagine that you learned that your ancestors had committed horrendous crimes. How would that effect you?
Adcock is not the best, most articulate writer being published, but his story is detailed and smart. It takes a real talent to incorporate so much information into a novel and keep it interesting. What could read like a history book, instead reads like a novel, with developed characters and a driving plot line.