The Blood Miracles, Lisa McInerney’s follow-up to her award-winning debut The Glorious Heresies (2015), begins as it means to go on: with quarrelling. Cork drug dealer and frustrated DJ Ryan Cusack is the subject of a tug-of-war between his boss, a fearsome local tough named Dan Kane, and his long-suffering girlfriend Karine, who would very much like him to find some other line of work. She gives Ryan the heave-ho, whereupon he finds solace in the arms of Natalie, a middle-class girl with a fetish for lowlife thugs.
A big make-or-break drug deal is jeopardised by the machinations of a rival gangster; our young anti-hero is caught in the crossfire and his loyalties are tested to breaking point. This is standard fare as plotlines go, but the real story concerns Ryan’s inner life. He is of