“Arse” is the last piece of Irish I have.
(Go ahead…laugh. I’ll wait. That’s just one of thousands of similarly clever lines in PLUGGED.)
Eoin Colfer is well known for his Artemis Fowl series of YA books, which, in the estimation of some, are at their core crime fiction. In that context, it’s little surprise that his first venture into adult fiction is firmly planted in the tradition and tone of Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard and even a little EdMcBain…but with an Irish accent.
The cadence of PLUGGED is definitively Irish, for sure. The thing about Irish English is that it works beautifully on the page and spoken, and stage actor John Keating’s reading of PLUGGED is a ton of fun. He captures the timing perfectly, and this story lends itself to audio.
PLUGGED’s protagonist is Daniel McEvoy, an Irishman in New Jersey who, while minding his own business—including being a doorman (aka bouncer) at a casino and nurturing his newly installed hair plugs—happens to find himself surrounded by dead people, cops, and a maybe-ghost. Not an overly complex premise, to be sure, but one to which Colfer brings genuine laugh-out-loud humor and precisely the right level of detail. Colfer also plays with language in a manner that takes a combination of skill and heaven-sent talent.
McEvoy has an excellent back-story, including a stint in the Irish Army and an American mother who reverse-emigrated to Ireland, and Colfer weaves his history through the story in a way that brings him to life in vivid detail. He’s a good guy, and I liked him immediately.
Following McEvoy around through his history and current adventures could be dizzying, but for that Colfer really knows how to tell a story. How to start a storyline, switch to another, and then pick up the first later without letting the reader (or, in this case, listener) forget the start of the tangent tale.
In Irish culture (or, more precisely, on the north side of Dublin), one often encounters references to begrudgers, people who feel hard done by and are compelled to blame any and everyone who isn’t similarly miserable. McEvoy has dealt with begrudgers back home, but his description of them—and of his experiences in The Lebanon—are imbued with a sharp affection that is also uniquely Irish.
I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but PLUGGED is good enough to have made me a convert. It felt downright luxurious to have someone reading to me. Keating “does” the voices of each character, but not in a manner that’s overwhelming. He doesn’t try to hide the fact that one guy is reading the book, and he reads neither too slowly (my complaint about the last audio book I listened to) nor too quickly.
And the really good news? The folks at AudioGO have given me a copy of the PLUGGED audiobook to give away! To one of you! All you need to do to enter is fill in your email address below. Next week, I’ll pick and address at random and Bob’s your uncle. This was the most fun 8 hours I’ve had in ages, and so I’m happy to be able to share it.
Of course, if you prefer to buy a copy, you can do so here