The Earlie King & the Kid in Yellow is a literary stylistic dystopian noir set in a Dublin where it is always raining and the city is a sodden, half-derelict place with a mysterious arsonist and a crime boss called the Earlie King. A boy—the Kid in Yellow—is in trouble and it all relates to a baby and the Earlie King. Others try to fathom what is going on, but soon it is too late and the Kid has taken the babba away, an action that doesn’t look like it will end well.
The novel is a distinctive one that defies simple categorisation: dystopia, gangster noir, a drama about a baby, a stylistic experiment that jumps between lyrical prose and play script. The plot itself is quite simple, but told in a complex way that creates mythology in an atmosphere of unrelenting rain. In some ways, it is another Irish gangster story; in others, it is a new dystopian set amongst religious tradition, distrust, and a lot of water. The Kid’s desperation to care for the baby is heartwarming and their survival becomes the reason to keep turning the page.
Denton has written a fresh novel that blends genre and writing style in a bold way. There is something about the short, sharp scenes, mix of forms, and stylistic and violent future that makes the book in some ways feel similar to good graphic novels, though it is text-based. This is a novel for fans of gangsters and dystopias, a modern noir with a bit of heart.