Take a deep breath before this one. The acclaim that greeted Declan Burke’s adroit Absolute Zero Cool is almost certainly to be replicated for his latest book, Slaughter’s Hound, which arrives bearing an encomium from no less than Lee Child (as well as a striking jacket which rather cheekily lifts motifs from the designer Saul Bass – but then everyone does that.) Burke’s protagonist, the world-weary Harry Rigby, is witness to a suicide – a suicide which may be part of an Irish national epidemic. And in Harry Rigby’s Sligo, life can be very cheap, as Harry is to be reminded in the most forceful of terms.

Those familiar with Burke’s work will know what to expect here: that wry and sardonic authorial voice, married to a particularly idiosyncratic command of dialogue. In some ways, perhaps, it’s the latter which marks Burke out from what is rapidly turning into an unstoppable new juggernaut of new Irish crime fiction.

Slaughter’s Hound by Declan Burke is published by Liberties Press

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