Noir author creates Ulster’s answer to 007

Enniskillen author Jason Johnson
Enniskillen author Jason Johnson

Never mind James Bond, meet Aloysius Tempo, the undercover assassin at the centre of local author Jason Johnson’s fourth novel.

There are no martinis, no sharp suits, his love interest is not a hot and pin-thin twenty-something and Aloysius is charged with eliminating some of the most hated citizens in Ireland; he kills but sets it up to look just like an accident.

This is Johnson’s fictional killer, who after advertising his services on the darkest reaches of the web is recruited as an agent of the Irish state who will take down his targets by arranging fatal mishaps.

“I’ve always been an Ian Fleming fan and so the whole James Bond character was in my mind,” says Jason, who hails from Enniskillen.

“Only I had to make him more local and believable so he had to the fast cars young women.”

In fact, this undercover agent looks more like “someone who might arrive to service a horse and cart”.

“Aloysius is finds himself living off-grid in Amsterdam. He wants to get his life together. Soon he is recruited by Imelda, the steely head of a shadowy unit close to the Irish government.”

This unit wants to eliminate loathed figures as the centenary of the state’s formation approaches in a brutal PR exercise.

“One is a paedophile priest who has done his time and is now writing his memoirs,” explains Johnson, “Another is a female terrorist stockpiling weapons for the 100th anniversary of the state who is also an MLA.”

Aloysius feels no compunction about killing his targets; he is layered with light and dark so as to make snap judgements obsolete.

The Enniskillen journalist describes one of his chief literary inspirations as the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk.

“Palahniuk manages to create really dark scenes but writes them in a way that is very beautiful. I love writers who are bold, brave and shove you about a bit as you move through the narrative.”

Aloysius Tempo by Jason Johnson is published by Liberties Press, priced £11.99.