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Young, Sylvester - 'Sleeping Dogs Lie'
Paperback: 267 pages (Sep. 2007) Publisher: Raldon Books ISBN: 0955216931

"So this thing involved a lotta people who work for different government agencies? Man, Oliver Stone would have a field day."
Sylvester Young, Sleeping Dogs Lie

Ne'er a truer word was ever spoken: SLEEPING DOGS LIE will surely become a byword for paranoid conspiracy thrillers. Very much a novel of its time, the tale follows the fortunes of Robbie Walker as he departs New York in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, headed for Georgia with his fellow fugitive from justice and long-term friend, the ex-IRA man and cold-blooded killer Danny Maguire. Hiding out in the rural township of Petra, Robbie - English-born, to Jamaican parents - wonders why Danny has taken them to such a Godforsaken place, only to discover that Danny's motives have been less than pure when a murderous plot concocted by rogue elements of the Colombian paramilitary group FARC collides with an investigation by a shadowy anti-terrorist American secret agency, 'the Seventeenth'.

Young's first-person narrative is delivered in a beguiling patois that reeks of authenticity, the voice luring you down into the complex workings of a mind struggling to forge a path through the disintegrating remnants of what is quickly becoming a wasted life. Squeezed on one side by government-sponsored threats, on the other by loyalty to his old comrade, and coping with the casual violence of overt racism while trying to bail a new friend out of a murder frame-up, Walker is run ragged by the excess of adrenaline coursing through his system as he battles, above all else, the will-sapping paranoia that wafts up out of every line. A punchy, cynical and relentlessly political novel, SLEEPING DOGS LIE is as courageous a statement of intent as it is a gripping thriller.

Declan Burke, Ireland
August 2007

Declan blogs at
Crime Always Pays.

last updated 25/08/2007 15:38