As a teenager growing up on modest means in Dublin, Kevin Thunder becomes aware of his doppelganger, a boy called Gerald Spain, who lives a far more privileged life on the other side of the city.
Their parallel lives at first lead to a "long waltz of mutual confusion", before both realise the opportunities afforded by the chance to step inside someone else's shoes. From romantic dalliances to assuming each other's identity in public, this eventually leads to a shocking and bloody conclusion.
Their stories are told in Kevin's strong narrative voice to Gerald's daughter Emily, a shadowy figure inexplicably drawn to him at her father's funeral. From the outset, he hints at events taking a darker turn, but her presence seems more of a plot contrivance.
Nevertheless, Neil Jordan's lengthy career as a Hollywood director and producer (The Crying Game and Mona Lisa are among his notable credits) is evident. He structures the novel in episodes, which play out like scenes from a movie: from the sinister appearance of the neighbourhood molester, to a room full of ticking clocks and a fondly recalled Dublin of old.
For more reviews of the latest releases, visit Book Reviews.