Set on the mean streets of West Belfast – heartland of The Troubles but now in the throes of regeneration – Wee Rockets follows a group of young working class boys who aspire towards thugdom; you couldn’t call them a gang at the outset but they’re causing enough trouble to have the residents association worried. After they beat up an old dear, local Gaelic footballer Steven McVeigh turns vigilante on them, out to give the area some Provo-style justice. The Wee Rockets leader, Joe Phillips, senses trouble and bails, at which point the gang dynamic shifts dramatically. Taken over by a banger-wannabe with a chip on his shoulder they quickly graduate to harder drugs and more extreme acts of violence and Brennan creates a terrible velocity around their crime spree, making it seem inevitable that they will, at some point, kill. Their growing reputation brings more attention from McVeigh, who’s still gunning for Joe, dating his mother Louise in order to get close to him. When writing, author Gerard Brennan has a rare and unmistakable voice. His characters are unpleasantly authentic, his dialogue script-ready and his plotting tighter than a marching drum. This is a five-star read!