Gabriel’s Wing is classy noir
The complete compilation of my reviews can be found @ Amazon as well my own published fiction. I write Supernatural horror, traditional Gothic and dark tales.
This is a very good example of noir fiction, in the tradition of Chandler or Hammett. Shannon sticks with the traditional values of such stories and handles these elements cleverly and engagingly. The story hits the ground running with the mysterious and brutal deaths of two young women. It then progresses in true noir fashion to introduce the hardened yet moral private investigator, Stanton; the femme fatale, Tillie, and an ensemble cast of villains, victims and a range of dubious characters with their own agendas.
Shannon’s characterisation is excellent. While his characters are true to the noir genre, he imbues them with individuality and realism. For me the most interesting character was Tillie, who was not only femme fatale but also, in my reading, the story’s chief protagonist, taking a more complex and proactive role than a traditional femme fatale. Shannon also does well to fill in the backgrounds of his main characters without distracting from the story’s interest and the reader’s engagement.
The first half of the novel thunders along and the reader is swept up in a complex train of events, mysteries and storylines; quite Chandler-esque. Once Tillie and Stanton reach New Jersey, however, the story loses some impetus, as new characters become more realised. At this stage the story seems more ponderous as a lot of back-story slows it down. The build up to the final confrontation is dramatic and the plot takes a few satisfyingly nasty and surprising twists.
Gabriel’s Wing is a very enjoyable example of a contemporary writer covering the well-worn ground of noir and creating something fresh and new, yet pleasingly familiar. Most readers will find themselves at home within the first few pages.