"Babbar's rigorous, serious, and insightful Finders is the most comprehensive study into the exciting phenomenon of Northern Irish crime fiction. A must-read for literary scholars and the casual fan of the most explosive sub genre of Celtic Noir."—Adrian McKinty, author of The Chain
"This reviewer is an avid booster of the creative company Babbar chooses and is pleased to note the remarkable insight and thoroughness she brings to her textual and character-centered analysis of them."—Washington Independent Review of Books
"This is an astonishing achievement. . . . Historically rich and geographically expansive, Babbar’s study, in smooth, erudite prose, casts an astute eye over the complexities and distinctiveness of Irish crime fiction."—Andrew Pepper, Queen’s University Belfast
"Babbar provides a wonderfully comprehensive survey of the major authors in the contemporary Irish noir field. She accomplishes a minor miracle in synthesizing so many texts in an interesting, provocative, and engaging way."—Andrew Kincaid, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
"Thoughtfully and deftly written, this study highlights the ideas of justice, faith, and identity in Irish crime fiction with impressive insight and intelligence, and it's a welcome addition to the realm of literary criticism."—Gerard Brennan, author of Disorder
"Babbar’s hopeful readings broaden the critical lens in distinctive and valuable ways by exploring Irish crime fiction’s acute insights about the thorniest matters of community faith and self."—Brian Cliff, coeditor of Guilt Rules All: Irish Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction
Some of the most iconic, hard-boiled Irish detectives in fiction insist that they are not detectives at all. Hailing from a region with a cultural history of mistrust in the criminal justice system, Irish crime writers resist many of the stereotypical devices of the genre. These writers have adroitly carved out their own individual narratives to weave firsthand perspectives of history, politics, violence, and changes in the economic and social climate together with characters who have richly detailed experiences.
Recognizing this achievement among Irish crime writers, Babbar shines a light on how Irish noir has established a new approach to a longstanding genre. Beginning with Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor, who rejects the detective title in favor of “finder”—a reference to Saint Anthony of Padua in the context of a traditionally secular form—Babbar examines the ways Irish authors, including John Connolly, Tana French, Alex Barclay, Adrian McKinty, Brian McGilloway, Claire McGowan, Gerard Brennan, Stuart Neville, Steve Cavanagh, and Eoin McNamee, subvert convention to reclaim their stories from a number of powerful influences: Revivalism, genre snobbery, cultural literary standards, and colonialism. These writers assert their heritage while also assuming a vital role in creating a broader vision of justice.
Anjili Babbar is associate professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County. She has published on topics ranging from Irish crime fiction to representations of Irish folklore in popular culture.
Series: Irish Studies
6 x 9, 288 pages, 1 black and white illustrations