BOOKS: TRIBAL KILLER

A FORCEFUL FIRST NOVEL CASTS A CHILL EYE ON BELFAST VIOLENCE

They notice him, the sectarian haters who suck whiskey and resentment in Belfast's bars, and they accord respect. Victor Kelly is a young swaggerer, a gifted thug with the flash and cold nerve to force a terrified man of the opposing tribe to his knees, then cut his throat with a filleting knife. Kelly's bunch are Protestants, and the enemy tribe Catholics, though it matters not a Mass or a damn because pure enmity on both sides, cherished and nurtured from childhood, now and forevermore, is the city's religion.

Kelly makes his first kills as a teenager; becomes known; acquires hangers-on,...

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