Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway

My first thought after finishing Brina McGilloway's Borderlands was, "yep, it's an Irish novel alright". There is a lot of death, involving both bad guys and people you come to care about in the story, there is a lot of betrayal, and there is a lot of connections and interweaving of relationships. What makes this story stand out to me however are the imperfections and weaknesses in the main character, Inspector Benedict Devlin. He is not perfect, and not only makes mistakes as he investigates, which is common enough in the course of a murder inquiry, but also in his personal life with his wife and family. And, to add to Devlin's character, although he does struggle with the possible consequences, he is penitent and works to set things right.
"Debbie's a lucky woman," she said. "I was once, too." she smiled and waggled her finger at me. "ah, I remember. you couldn't control yourself with me once." Again she smiled coyly, but the impression in the darkness was anything but coy.

"A lot of water under the bridge since then, " I said. "I'll say goodnight."

"Goodnight, Benedict," she said. "Merry Christmas."

She leaned over to kiss me on the cheek, and so I leaned towards her. However, at the last moment, she moved her head slightly and the corners of our mouths connected with a tingle, like static. her lips were moist from her lipstick and I felt them tug slightly on mine. The gentle teasing of her lips, the warm haze of alcohol which filled my mouth and nose, the under scent of coconut which seemed to radiate from her skin - all took me back fifteen years. I shifted slightly in my seat, pressing my lips on hers, hearing her moan deeply, feeling the cool wetness of her mouth. Our teeth knocked together slightly, like a teenager's kiss. Feeling her tongue in my mouth, I touched the tip of it with mine. I placed my hand to the side of her face, her skin warm and soft.......
Unbidden images of my wife came to my mind and, with those, the sharp recollection of the threat of infection I carried. The haze lifted and I pulled away from her quickly.....
Then, over breakfast, while the kids played, I told Debbie everything: the arrest and the bite and my attack on McKelvey, nearly punching Williams, the incident with Miriam in the car, mcKelvey's death, and Costello sending me home. As I spoke I felt the familiar catharsis of confession and began to feel a little better - though aware that reconciliation requires penance and reparation as well as simple admission of guilt.
Throughout the story, you come to know an inspector who struggles, not only in his job, but also in life. It's a bit refreshing, and definitely adds another aspect to an already interesting plot.


Books I'm looking forward to reading in the near future: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy on the Kindle and The Lamb Enters the Dreaming by Nathanael Pepper if it ever arrives in the mail.


seana said...

Glenna, I just happen to be coming to the end of Requiems for the Departed--finally--and I believe there is an Inspector Devlin tale awaiting me...

Glenna said...

Yep, there sure is. I re-read it today actually after finishing Borderlands yesterday.