The Station Sergeant

John McAllister. Portnoy (Dufour, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-909255-00-5
Sgt. John Barlow of the Royal Ulster Constabulary looks into the murder of Ballymena farmer Stoop Taylor, apparently shot by a gunman and trampled by cattle, in McAllister’s enthralling study of a small Northern Irish community in 1960. The police arrest a German, Kurt Adenauer, found with a gun in the vicinity of the crime, but they later let him go for procedural reasons and lack of evidence. A mounting body count hints that Adenauer remains in the area, still bent on retribution for a personal slight he suffered 15 years earlier. Barlow—modeled on a policeman named John Barlow whom the author knew as a child—also has to contend with a hostile new boss, a corrupt establishment, a wife whose mania threatens to turn violent, and a 17-year-old daughter who’s growing up too fast for his taste. McAllister (Line of Flight) movingly explores how the distractions of personal life and the secret knowledge of unspoken shared history shape investigations, and how even the most conservative must deal with change. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 12/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
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