DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE NOMINEE • An uncompromising, darkly humorous look at life in the criminal underworld of the Irish border from a major new Irish literary voice.
Dundalk—The Town, to locals—took Aoife in when she left home at eighteen. Now she’s gone from a small-time slinger of hash to a bona fide player in Dundalk’s criminal underworld. Aoife’s smart, savvy, and cool under pressure. Except, that is, when it comes to Annie. Annie is mysterious and compelling, and Aoife is desperate to impress her and keep her close. Unfortunately, not everyone in The Town shares Aoife’s opinion of Annie. So much so that when Aoife’s friend and associate, the Rat King, approaches her about off-loading ten kilos of stolen coke, he specifically tells her to keep Annie out of it. Aoife doesn’t want to do the job without Annie, though, so she lands on an idea. Annie has contacts in the UK, and sure it’d be better to get the coke as far away from Dundalk as possible. At first, everything goes to plan. But when Annie decides she'd like to stay in the UK, Aoife makes a decision that changes everything, and finds her whole world turned upside down.
Gritty yet tender, tragic yet hopeful, Iron Annie crackles with energy, warmth, and heart.
A VINTAGE CRIME/BLACK LIZARD ORIGINAL.
About the Author
Luke Cassidy is a writer from Dundalk, Ireland. Iron Annie is his first novel.
ONE OF THE YEAR'S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS FROM CRIMEREADS
“Luke Cassidy’s debut is as assured as a third novel, told in the unique and gritty cadences of Dundalk, an Irish border town.” —Crime Reads
“Raw with emotion, whip-quick humor, and brutal honesty, Cassidy’s brogue-thick writing delivers a narrator memorable both for her tough-as-nails attitude and the fragility hiding beneath the surface.” —Booklist
“Iron Annie is the debut novel by Irish author, Luke Cassidy, and what a debut it is! Full of atmospheric grit and dark, raw characters, Cassidy delivers a poignant yet gripping look at the seedy underbelly of an Irish border town. . . . Cassidy is most definitely the one to watch! Iron Annie is a creative and charmingly dark novel that will stick with you. With sharp, unassuming characters, Cassidy combines drug dealing, Irish crime syndicates, and queer romance in a clever and engaging way.” —Mystery and Suspense
“A queer underworld Thelma & Louise with better jokes. . . . Very funny. . . . Cassidy keeps tight control of a story that's simultaneously state of the nation, romance and crime.” —Sarah Moss, Irish Times
“Terrific. . . . Written in an exhilarating, lyrical vernacular, in much the way of Anna Burns, Kevin Barry or even Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. . . . Aoife is a character redeemed to a large extent by her extraordinary narrative voice, yet Cassidy also summons up an entire small-town world here, one that's both fiercely informed by under-the-radar community bonds and at the mercy of wider seismic political forces.” —Daily Mail (UK)
“[A] heady experience, infused with humour and grief. Aoife and Annie are fascinating. . . . All of the characters are gloriously vivid but entirely believable. The Town and its underbelly are starkly yet lovingly described. This is probably this year’s most ambitious and well-written debut. ‘Mon the Town.” —Estelle Birdy, Irish Independent
“[A] barnstorming gangland comedy set among a motley band of drug-runners from Dundalk, Ireland, where debut author Luke Cassidy was born. . . . Cassidy's ingenious use of rhythm and phonetics make Aoife's voice sing from the page. . . . Iron Annie is a blast—tender and brutal, funny and sad. It also has interesting things to say about hot topics such as gender and Ireland’s relationship with post-Brexit Britain. Above all, though, it's a spectacular feat of firecracker prose. Not to be missed. . . . A full-spectrum thrill from a first-time novelist who looks destined for great things.” —Metro (UK)
“Absolutely brilliant. Fizzes with energy—and with raunchiness, colour, beauty, and insight.” —Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner
"A vibrant, profane narrative of heartwarming criminality." —Kirkus Reviews
“With his rich language, Cassidy lands in the company of Kevin Barry, Roddy Doyle, and other notable bards of the Irish demimonde.” —Publishers Weekly
“It's apparent from the opening lines of Iron Annie that Luke Cassidy can write. His prose fizzes with energy and music, and the reader is immediately plunged into the anarchic underbelly of Ireland and the lives of Cassidy's vivid characters.” —Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of His Bloody Project
“Iron Annie marks the arrival of a fresh and compelling young voice in literary fiction. . . . These complex, funny, tender, lewd and lovely characters will grab you by the throat from the first line and dare you to stop reading.” —Emily Rapp Black, New York Times bestselling author of Sanctuary
Iron Annie is a staggering debut novel. And what makes it so stylish and ferocious isn't the drugs, the brutal violence, or even the wild love and sex—it's the language. I've never read anything like the sentences in here.” —Rachel DeWoskin, author of Banshee
“What an exquisite novel Iron Annie is. The narrative voice fair crackles: it's full of wonder, grit, insight, sadness and joy, and is quite beautiful. And Aoife is one of those fictional characters that arrives only once or twice in an age, sublimely rendered and completely unforgettable.” —Donal Ryan, author of The Spinning Heart and From a Low and Quiet Sea
“Iron Annie is absolutely everything I love in a book. The energy, the voice, the language, the characters, all real, raw and utterly convincing. Luke Cassidy is an incredible talent, with an ear for language to rival that of Kevin Barry, I could hear every single word.” —Fíona Scarlett, author of Boys Don’t Cry
“[A] wonderful, imaginative, highly original emotional rollercoaster of a story.” —Peter James, author of the DS Roy Grace series
“Iron Annie is a novel full of grit and pearls—its language crackles with life. Luke Cassidy is a writer with a keen eye and a finely-tuned ear.” —Ronan Hession, author of Leonard and Hungry Paul
“Utterly original. . . . I think this book is like a bolt from the blue for Irish writing.” —Niamh Campbell, author of This Happy
“It's wild and fierce and full of awful life. Also dead funny. . . . This needs to be slapped on the arse and let out snorting into the world like a mustang horse.” —Niall Griffiths, author of Grits