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Books

Book Review

‘Ratlines’ by Stuart Neville

In Northern Ireland, the past may never die, but in Stuart Neville’s vision, its people certainly do — often in the most twisted and horrible ways. The current master of neo-noir detective fiction, Neville excels at pairing historical crimes and current punishment.

Usually, as in his “The Ghosts of Belfast,’’ that means retribution for sins real and imagined in the Irish “Troubles,” when the IRA battled the English and Americans were often pulled in for good measure. In “Ratlines,’’ his latest, the author, who lives in Northern Ireland, goes for an even broader global reach: following World War II-era disputes into 1963, just as the United States’ first Irish-American president is about to visit the land of his ancestors.

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