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Sunday 21 February 2016

‘Blind Arrows’ by Anthony J Quinn

Published by No Exit Press, 
December 2015.
 ISBN: 978-1843445357

Dublin, 1919. When a unknown woman tumbles into Kant’s cab and kisses him, she leads him into a web of betrayal and murder.

This spy thriller drew on the Irish revolution, and in particular a real-life plot against its charismatic leader, Michael Collins. Colllins was shown as an enigmatic figure, moving from violence to charm. Similarly, through the book, it’s not always easy to tell which side of the tangled politics any character is supporting now. There were some episodes from another point of view – whose, only became clear later – but the main focus of narration was Martin Kant, a London journalist who is dying from consumption after his time in the trenches of WWI. He’s on the track of the murderes of several women, IRA prisoners held in Dublin Castle, and he fears that the unknown woman may end up as they did.  His consumptive state is vividly described, and the confusions of his illness help to make his obsession with Lily Merrin plausible. Foggy, run-down, enigmatic Dublin is a real presence throughout the book, as Kant tracks Collins through his hide-outs. The plot has several unexpected twists, and a moving ending.

An elegant, elegaic spy story set against interesting times.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Anthony J Quinn was born in 1971 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and after completing an English degree at Queen's University followed various callings - social worker, organic market gardener, yoga teacher - before finding work as a journalist and author.
Disappeared, his first novel, was picked by the Times and the Daily Mail as one of their books of the year, and was nominated for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. On its US publication it was shortlisted for a Strand Critics Award, as selected by book critics from the Washington Post, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Guardian.  Quinn works as a reporter in the wilds of County Tyrone. His short stories have been short-listed twice for a Hennessy/New Irish Writing Award.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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