Review: Stumped by Rob Kitchin


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

280 Steps, 2014. eBook edition. eISBN: 978-82-93326-30-4. 

I should start thanking Rob Kitchin his kindness for offering me, in the event it could be of my interest, to send me an Uncorrected Advance Reading Copy of his latest book, Stumped. I did not wanted to pass this opportunity, after reading and enjoying his three previous novels. See my reviews here, here and here. But I would like to apologize for not having had the opportunity to finish my review before its publishing date.

https://i1.wp.com/280steps.com/static/img/covers_full/stumped.jpgOne Friday evening a large group of staff and students have gathered in a pub, after a talk at a small but old institution near Dublin, Maynooth University. When Mary and Grant are the only ones left, Grant gets a phone call from Sinead with whom he shares a flat. Sinead is afraid that one of her students is stalking her. A guy named Finbar has followed her home. He’s still outside hanging around. She would like  someone to escort her to the pub where Pat is expecting her within half an hour. Mary insists on accompanying him. When they get home, Sinead is nowhere to be found. Instead, there’s a note with a severed finger addressed to Pat. Sinead has been taken hostage. She will be freed when they have their package back. Until then they’ll send a finger a day to demonstrate the seriousness of their threat. If they warn the guards, she’ll be killed. Pat will know how to reach him. Neither Mary, nor Grant know what this is about. To make matters worse, Mary is confined to a wheelchair and Grant has recently arrived from England, but they are both determined to find Sinead. Grant can’t think in any other Pat than in Sinead’s brother, Patrick who is gay and lives in Dublin, but Pat is not at his home. And they decide to begin his search through Dublin’s gay circles. The following morning, they receive a second finger. Now, it’s more urgent that ever to find Pat. Mary believes that once he knows that Sinead’s in danger, he’ll understand and hand back whatever he has. But things won’t be easy. To help them find Pat, they turn to Declan, Mary’s brother in law, who is also gay. But then, the body of someone they had visited previously, appears floating in the River Liffey, and Inspector McGerrity will soon be behind their steps.  

Stumped is the fourth novel by Prof Rob Kitchin and his second screwball noir after Stiffed, a very attractive genre in my opinion of which Stumped is a great example. I have really enjoyed its reading. It has a dizzying pace, and although the book is action driven, the characters are fully developed. The reader will find many more elements that the ones I’ve described above. The story takes place mainly in Dublin and in the Irish countryside with a brief incursion into Manchester and has a nice sense of place. I must acknowledge that Kitchin has never ceased to amaze me while I was reading this book. It can be said that until the end, I wasn’t able to anticipate its outcome. All in all it’s a delicious black comedy, sometimes delirious in a positive sense, but always full of highly entertaining situations. The story, told from multiple points of view, is mainly about friendship and how this sentiment gets stronger when faced with adversity. I highly recommended.

My rating: A (I loved it)

Prof. Rob Kitchin is a professor at the National University of Ireland Maynooth (read more here) and the author of the crime novels Stiffed, The White Gallows, The Rule Book and two collections of short stories. He has had a number of short stories in various outlets including A Twist of Noir, All Due Respect, Close to the Bone, Flash Fiction Offensive, Laughter Shack, Powder Burn Flash, Shotgun Honey, and Spinetingler.  Every Saturday he publishes a drabble (a story of exactly 100 words) on The View from the Blue House, his crime fiction blog. Do not fail to pay a visit to his blog, if you haven’t done it yet.

Stumped has been reviewed on Euro Crime (Rich) and on Col’s Criminal Library (Col)

280 Steps 

Twenty Questions With Rob Kitchin

Stumped (en español: paralizado o perplejo) de Rob Kitchin

Debo empezar agradeciendo a Rob Kitchin su amabilidad por ofrecerme, en caso de que pudiera ser de mi interés, enviarme una Copia Anticipada de Lectura No Corregida de su último libro, Stumped. No quise pasar esta oportunidad, después de leer y disfrutar sus tres novelas anteriores. Ver mis comentarios aquí, aquí y aquí. Pero me gustaría pedir disculpas por no haber tenido la oportunidad de terminar mi reseña antes de la fecha de su publicación.

Un viernes por la tarde un gran grupo de profesores y de estudiantes se han reunido en un pub tras una charla en una institución pequeña pero antigua cerca de Dublín, la Universidad de Maynooth. Cuando Mary y Grant son los únicos que quedan, Grant recibe una llamada telefónica de Sinead con quien comparte un piso. Sinead tiene miedo de que uno de sus alumnos la esté acechando. Un tipo llamado Finbar le ha seguido hasta su casa. Está todavía fuera dando vueltas. A ella le gustaría que alguien le acompañara al pub donde Pat la espera en menos de media hora. Mary insiste en acompañarle. Cuando llegan a casa, Sinead no aparece por ninguna parte. En su lugar, hay una nota con un dedo cortado dirigida a Pat. Sinead ha sido tomada como rehén. Ella será liberada cuando les devuelvan un paquete. Hasta entonces van a enviar un dedo al día para demostrar lo serio de su amenaza. Si avisan a la policía, la matarán. Pat sabrá cómo llegar a él. Ni Mary, ni de Grant saben de qué se trata. Para empeorar las cosas, Mary está confinada en una silla de ruedas y Grant ha llegado recientemente de Inglaterra, pero ambos están decididos a encontrar a Sinead. Grant no puede pensar en ningún otro Pat que en el hermano de Sinead, Patrick que es gay y vive en Dublín, pero Pat no está en su casa. Y deciden comenzar su búsqueda en los círculos gay de Dublín. A la mañana siguiente, reciben un segundo dedo. Ahora, es más urgente que nunca encontrar a Pat. Mary cree que una vez que sepa que Sinead está en peligro, lo entenderá y devolverá lo que sea que tenga. Pero las cosas no sreán fáciles. Para ayudarles a encontrar Pat, recurren a Declan, el cuñado de Mary que también es gay. Pero entonces, el cuerpo de alguien a quien habian visitado anteriormente, aparece flotando en el río Liffey, y el inspector McGerrity pronto estará tras sus pasos.

Stumped es la cuarta novela del Prof. Rob Kitchin y su segunda “screwball noir” tras Stiffed, un género muy atractivo en mi opinión del que Stumped es un magnífico ejemplo. Realmente he disfrutado de su lectura. Tiene un ritmo vertiginoso, y aunque el libro está impulsado por la acción, los personajes están completamente desarrollados. El lector encontrará muchos más elementos que los que yo he descrito anteriormente. La historia se desarrolla principalmente en Dublín y en la campiña irlandesa con una breve incursión en Manchester, y cuenta con un buen sentido del lugar. Debo reconocer que Kitchin nunca ha dejado de sorprenderme mientras yo estaba leyendo este libro. Se puede decir que hasta el final, no fui capaz de anticipar su resultado. En suma una deliciosa comedia de humor negro, a veces delirante en un sentido positivo, pero siempre llena de situaciones muy entretenidas. La historia, contada desde múltiples puntos de vista, trata principalmente de la amistad y de cómo este sentimiento se hace más fuerte cuando se enfrenta a la adversidad. Lo recomiendo encarecidamente.

Mi valoración: A (me encantó)

El Prof. Rob Kitchin trabaja en la Universidad Nacional de Irlanda, Maynooth y es autor de las novelas negras Stiffed, The White Gallows, The Rule Book y de dos colecciones de relatos. Tiene publicadas varias historias cortas en diversas publicaciones, incluyendo A Twist of Noir, All Due Respect, Close to the Bone, Flash Fiction Offensive, Laughter Shack, Powder Burn Flash, Shotgun Honey, y Spinetingler. Todos los sábados publica un “drabble” (una historia de exactamente 100 palabras) en su blog de novela negra The View from the Blue House. No deje de hacer una visita a su blog, si no lo ha hecho aún.

Disponible en Amazon.es

8 thoughts on “Review: Stumped by Rob Kitchin

  1. HI Jose Ignacio. Many thanks for the review and I’m glad that you enjoyed the story. It was good fun to write as well.

    realthog – just to note that Stiffed and Stumped are two standalone novels and do not share any characters or locales, so you can read Stumped totally independently of Stiffed. The similarity in the title is purely coincidence, though it has been suggested to me that I call my next book ‘Stapled’!

    Best, Rob

  2. Pingback: Monthly Summary (November 2014) | The Game's Afoot

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