‘The place you don’t belong’: Stuart Neville’s Belfast
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The Detective Jack Lennon series examines the fragility of the Northern Irish peace process and the measures that politicians and other heads of state go to in order to maintain it. At the center of the novels are withering critiques of a hypocrisy that seems to have infiltrated every layer of Northern society, cynicism over the North’s ability to move beyond its past, and questions about how to define and execute justice. Neville has been criticized for employing stereotypical conventions of the Troubles thriller and presenting reductive images of the conflict. A closer examination, however, shows a complex depiction of Belfast that destabilizes traditional binaries and reflects the liminality and uncertainty of the post-Agreement North.