Reporter Noel Byrne is about to die. Two snipers hold him in their crosshairs as he delivers his live report from the HQ of HiberBank in central Dublin. His first problem is they will kill him if he doesn’t say exactly what they want him to say. His second problem? They both want him to say different things. This is the story of a country in collapse. A vicious gang of bankers and minor celebrities is desperately trying to salvage one last pay day from the wreckage of the Irish economy. Only Byrne can help them. Only Byrne can stop them. Follow him across the boardrooms, bedrooms and bars of Dublin as he tries to stay one step ahead. And remember that when billions are at stake you can’t trust anyone. Not your family, your friends or the love of your life.
In the wonderful world of social networking, some little gems appear and unsolicited approaches by authors can sometimes really come up trumps- Pat Fitzpatrick’s Keep Away From Those Ferraris being a case in point. Taking place in the Noughties in the post Celtic Tiger financial boom, Noel Byrne is something of a minor celebrity, delivering news of economic woes as a financial reporter- think a better looking Robert Peston injected with a good dose of Irish charm. Byrne is cruising along quite nicely, not short of female attention, and plenty of work with the ever deteriorating state of Ireland’s financial climate and some high profile bank sell offs on the horizon. then old friend Johnny Ferrari comes bouncing back into his life, having kidnapped a prominent member of a nauseating boy band, and through a series of less than scrupulous actions, entwining his old mate the hapless ‘Byrnser’ into a life threatening plot reliant on Byrne manipulating the Irish public (and their wallets) through his TV reports, to make a financial killing.
The plot takes in the best and worst of not only the financial meltdown but is not above having a great poke of fun at modern celebrity culture and reality TV, leading to some genuinely laugh out loud moments. Indeed, even allowing for the slightly rambling nature of the economic descriptions, the book is infused with an infectious charm through Fitzpatrick’s steady characterisation and the appeal of his characters to the reader, be they good or bad. I loved the hapless Noel, and the skilful manipulation by both Johnny Ferrari and Johnny’s wideboy father Cosmo, and the array of femme fatales who drift into Noel’s sphere clouding his judgement further. Johnny is a brilliant character, louche, charming and thoroughly rotten, whose attitude to life is that you’ll be dead long enough, and I liked the way he and Noel interacted throughout. As Noel discovers the extent to which his own parents are investing in the whole HiberBank scam, and finds himself in a gunman’s sights, the tension ratchets up- is there any way out of this for our dynamic reporter?
Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read, with a good sense of fun. Genuinely humorous and good knockabout fun, with a nice satirical eye on the Irish financial situation and popular culture. Good craic indeed.
Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork, Ireland. After 19 years working in the I.T.
industry he decided to jump ship in 2008 and head for the lucrative world of
writing. So don’t hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns plus TV and radio appearances have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. He is now busy writing a series of novels about the weird place that was Ireland in the last 15 years. Follow on Twitter @pdfitzpatrick http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/
(With thanks to the author for the ARC)