It’s unusual for me, as I read quite a bit, to be surprised by a book. I typically see the formula, the plot is obvious, or the current trends in writing are super evident in most of the books that I read. Starving Men surprised me. It’s an interesting read and a fun one.
Siobhan Finkielman’s novel is about an Irish psychiatrist who seeks revenge. The cover mentions “800 years of revenge,” so I’m not giving anything away by saying that he seeks revenge for some of history’s darker sins. The sections of the book that are told from the point of view of the psychiatrist are told in the first person, while the other sections, focusing on the police officer’s account, are told in the third person.
I didn’t know very much about Irish history before reading Starving Men. Of course, I’d heard of the Troubles and remembered news stories about the IRA. I’ve recently watched some British historical dramas and learned about the wars and tensions between the Danes, Scots, Irish, Saxons, and British. Upon starting the book, I was concerned that it would have too much detail about the historical background. I’ve read too many books with a lengthy chapter of history that deviates from the plot. Instead, Finkielman adds just the right amount of background. History lessons and Irish/British politics are sprinkled throughout the book, but in an enjoyable and informative way. The novel made me want to learn more about Irish history.
There are a lot of characters in Starving Men, but it is well focused on the protagonist, Michael. He’s got depth to him. The reader watches him struggle emotionally and psychologically, and he feels very real. There are some great action scenes involving him, too. Maggie is a police officer, and while she didn’t come alive for me in the same way Michael did, she is a good character to root for. She stands in opposition to Michael’s goals. There are several other IRA-associated characters and law enforcement characters. I did find myself needing to go back and forth and make some notes to remember who was who. The only thing that I really struggled with was some of the dialogue, when it was assumed that the reader knew who was talking.
I can see a future movie of Starving Men, and it would be a great one. Finkielman has done a wonderful job with this ode to Ireland.
|Page Count||475 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime, Thriller|