A belfast man out walking his dog is kidnapped. . . A Catholic schoolboy with priestly ambitions confronts a B-Special on guard duty when he runs to retrieve a football. In 'At the Beach' a middle-aged couple awkwardly appraise the state of their long marriage. . . . To point out the excellence of Mac Laverty's writing is almost to do it a disservice. His prose is invisible, free of tricks, as through it was your own thoughts. His characters are revealed whole through every scrap of dialogue' Observer.