From Publishers Weekly
Irish charm and gangland violence come together in this engrossing biography of Dublin godfather Martin Cahill. Irish journalist Williams recounts Cahill's rise from poverty to infamy as Ireland's most notorious crime boss, dubbed "the General" for his audacious and meticulously planned robberies. Cahill was a brutal thug (he literally crucified one underling he suspected of having crossed him) but also devoted lover (to his wife and her sister), a pillar of the slum communities where he grew up, and, as his fame for his spectacular jewelry and art heists grew, something of a folk hero. Combining thorough research and well-paced storytelling, Williams brings to life Cahill's exploits, his long war of wits with the often inept Irish police, and the clannish underworld where criminal gangs, IRA commandos, Protestant paramilitaries and police officials conducted their battles on weirdly intimate terms. Along the way he paints a picture of Dublin's social transformation in the 1970s and 80s, as an epidemic of heroin and guns, fueled by the conflict in Northern Ireland, brought big-city crime to its formerly safe and sleepy streets. Blending lurid picaresque and off-hand sociological insights, this is a stylish and thoughtful addition to the true-crime canon. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Williams takes readers along on an incredible ride as he traces the rise and fall of underworld Mob boss and working-class hero Martin Cahill. Rising through the ranks in Ireland, Cahill eventually reaches beyond his native Dublin to include an international network of fences and a lucrative money-laundering scheme based in London and Manchester. Constantly outwitting and humiliating the authorities, Cahill became a legend in the 1980s, his brutality seemingly mitigated by his success and bravado. Acclaimed by the public and reviled by the police, he enjoyed a reputation and a career that could only be curtailed by the IRA. Eventually stepping on the wrong toes, Cahill became a marked man who had finally met his match. Sharing its subject with two Hollywood movies, this riveting true-crime biography truly reads like a piece of fiction. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved