As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Soho Crime, August 11, 2015. ISBN
Stuart Neville’s fourth and
newest book to take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, seldom lets the reader
forget the history of that place, after the time of “the Troubles” and its
history of paramilitary groups the proliferated at that time. Its opening
pages describe the last hours, hinted at by the title, of Raymond Drew as he
leaves the three-bedroom semi where he’d lived for the past 30 years, the first
two of which were shared with “a wife he’d barely known, let alone loved.
Dead and buried now, and he hadn’t missed her for a moment.” He walks
along the edge of the river, where a woman and a dog walk past him, the latter
“smelling the death on him. His and that of the others.”
Upon Raymond’s death, that house now becomes the
property of his niece, 34-year-old Rea Carlisle, daughter of influential
Stormont politician Graham Carlisle. As she and her mother start to clear
the house of the dead man’s remaining possessions, she finds an upstairs room
inexplicably locked; she finds a crowbar and forces the door open, whereupon
she discovers a leather-bound book lying on a table, the room’s only furniture,
and finds, to her horror (akin to that felt by the reader), pages filled with
writings describing kidnappings, murders, and similar atrocities. Was her
uncle the author of these pages? And for whom were these scenes
catalogued, who the intended reader (for surely that is not Rea)?
The opening chapters alternate p.o.v. from Rea and
that of disgraced police inspector Jack Lennon, her former lover now under
suspension from the force, in denial of the PTSD from which he suffers since
the events of a year ago. Lennon had been shot three times, killing his
attacker (a policeman himself) and helping a murder suspect flee the country in
the process, now seeking a medical pension (he lost his spleen and still is in
severe and constant pain), so far to no avail. Lennon becomes a lead
suspect in a murder investigation led by DCI Serena Flannagan, with 20 years on
the force and going through her own personal travails, and things only become
Each of these characters: Lennon, Rea and her
mother, Ida, and Flannagan, is dealing with his or her own large personal
issues, and the reader feels great empathy for each of them. The plot is
ingenious, the pages fly, the ending unexpected. The writing is
wonderful, and the book is highly recommended.
Reviewer:by Gloria Feit
Ted and Gloria Feit
live in Long Beach, NY,
a few miles outside New York City.
For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in
Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and
writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly
publications. Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're
now retired, they're able to indulge that passion. Their reviews appear
online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US. On a more personal
note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine
grandchildren between them.