Although at first I found the Dublin dialect a little difficult to follow, I was glad I persevered with this lively and imaginative debut novel. Student Denny Cullen returns to his native Dublin after his mother's death and is pitched into a world of small-time crime, ancient echoes and everyday tragedies. Ghosts and lightning, we are told, cast no shadows - but the light and shade cast by half-hidden emotions and mythological resonances give real depth to this story of urban outsiders in search of escape. Not so much a plot as a series of memorable set-pieces: a bare-knuckle fight on a gypsy encampment, a drug-sozzled party, a camping trip in the mountains outside the city, a seance which attracts the voice of Cuchulainn. But it's a bright, satisfying read for all that - funny and sinister by turns, full of memorable characters, farcical moments and poignant insights. It owes more than a little to Irvine Welsh's Scottish classic "Trainspotting", but it has more heart, more depth and probably more compassion.