‘Little Criminals is a brilliant book. I loved ‘The Rage’ and I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to read my next Gene Kerrigan novel.
Frankie Crowe is a small time gangster. At the start of the novel, he and his side-kick Martin Paxton attempt to hold-up the pub in the small village of Hearts Cross. The hold-up goes wrong and they come away with only a few hundred dollars.
But Frankie Crowe is ambitious and wants to carry out a much bigger job. So, against the advice of his mentor that he is not up to it, Frankie decides on a kidnap and ransom. He spends a few days planning and pulling together a team and selecting his target.
But, Justin Kennedy is not who Frankie thought he was. So, changing his plans on the fly, he takes Justin’s wife Angela instead. And these are not the only plans that get changed on the fly. Frankie has a violent temper and does what he wants when he wants, keeping everyone, including his fellow kidnappers, guessing.
Detective John Grace, stuck in a rut in his job, has been dealing with Frankie’s petty crimes for years. He is called in by the kidnap investigation team (a very ambitious bunch) as a consultant. It is his observation skills and knowledge of Frankie that lead the police in the right direction.
The story is told from a number of different points of view, so I ended up identifying with just about everyone (even Frankie Crowe) at some point in the book. And, at times I even felt sorry for some of the kidnappers. But, probably my favourite characters were the two old guys from Hearts Cross – Stephen Beckett and Sean Willie who opened and closed the story.
The story was set in Ireland at the height of the boom, with the rich grabbing what they could and getting richer, and the poor living in a completely different world. And, neither group knowing what was just around the corner.
I certainly won’t be waiting as long before reading my next Gene Kerrigan novel – ‘The Midnight Choir’.
Book Published 2005