‘This, like so many of Ryan Cusack’s fuck-ups, begins with ecstasy’ and boom we are back in Ireland with Lisa McInerney’s most complex protagonist from her wonderfully absorbing first novel The Glorious Heresies – winner of last year’s Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. The Blood Miracles takes the reader along a gripping tale of love, betrayal, dirty deals and survival.
We follow Ryan through his turbulent, raw and incredibly real relationship with Karine, multiple affairs with all ranges of women, to his dirty dealings with a man called Dan Kane ‘a disciplined eater who lifts weights and reads and plucks what he likes best from Buddhism and believes in balance and fucks around and is proud of the quality of his cocaine‘ who is in need of an ‘apostle‘ and in steps Ryan. Ryan’s relationship with Dan sees him enter into the world of drug dealing where the story takes that many twists and turns it makes movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels look relatively simple to follow!
The multi-layered double, triple, quadruple crossings grips the reader right until the end when McInerney weaves in complications from Ryan’s love life. I never managed to guess where McInerney was going next and the lack of predictability made me inhale this novel in less than 36 hours. For her second book – that is a mastery that most seasoned authors struggle to grasp.
Whilst the story is a continuation of where McInerney left off with The Glorious Heresies I consider this book could be read as a stand alone although I thoroughly recommend you read the first so you are fully immersed into how Ryan came to be.
As mentioned in my review of The Glorious Heresies, the most enjoyable part of reading McInerney’s novels are the connection you instantly have with her characters. Yes, Ryan is a fuck up. Yes, there were times I wanted to scream at him at the decisions he made. Yes, he created his own issues. Despite my frustrations with his character – I rooted for him all the way through. This was mainly due to Ryan’s vulnerability which are shown through his letters to his deceased mother where it is clear he is struggling with the grief and acceptance of her death and his conflicting feelings for his father who he hates ‘with a passion that keeps him up nights, but he loves him more than he hates him and he hates himself for that‘ but ultimately ends up at his house when there seems no light at the end of the tunnel.
Ryan is not simply just a fuck up, a lost cause or a hopeless case. He is one of the most complex characters I have met who I empathised with in both of McInerney’s novels. In short, McInerney’s sequel did not disappoint. I cannot wait to read what happens next.
The Blood Miracles is released on 20 April 2017. You can pre-order it here.
Thank you to NetGalley and to John Murray for the EARC.
Recommended for: those who loved The Glorious Heresies, Irish Fiction lovers or anyone who wants a gripping read!
Favourite quote: On Cork: ‘like all cities hates its natives. It would rather be in a constant state of replenishment than own up to what it has warped‘
Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!