Ask No Questions by Claire Allen

Published 21 January 2021

EXCERPT: I was ten years old when I found out that monsters are real and they walk among us. I can pinpoint the exact day that everything changed, when the world I’d found to be fun and innocent and good turned into something dark and frightening.

Looking back, I pity my mother having to find the words to tell my brothers and me what had happened. I pitied all the mothers and fathers who were forced to have that same conversation with their children at the dinner table that evening.

There’d be no playing out in the street any more. There’d be no nipping in and out of neighbours’ houses, or knocking on doors looking for a glass of water when we were parched from playing Tig or Red Rover, or riding our bicycles all over the estate in and out of the dark alleyways.

We were never to go out on our own. Nor walk back from school on our own. Even though it would still be light then. We were absolutely not allowed to take the shortcut through the overgrown fields at the back of the school, either.

And we were never, ever, ever to go into anyone’s house on our own. No matter how well we knew them. No matter how many times we’d been there before.

Because Kelly Doherty had been found and she was dead.

ABOUT ‘ASK NO QUESTIONS’: Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.

Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.

It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second excellent book that I have read by this author, the first being Her Name Was Rose.

Ask No Questions is very aptly titled. I have never known anyone who was murdered, but I would imagine that if I had, it would never leave me. I would always, like Ingrid, be wondering if there was something I could have done to prevent it. And like Ingrid, if I had the chance to make sure that person was not forgotten, I would take it. However, I doubt that I would be as single-minded or as hard-nosed about it as Ingrid, especially once the threats started. But Ingrid is a person who doesn’t mind rocking the boat to see what the waves will dislodge.

Claire Allen had me hooked from the beginning. She has skillfully built up an air of mystery and menace, and doubt as to the guilt of Jamesy Harte, who was convicted of Kelly Doherty’s murder. Told over the periods of 1994 and 2019 by Ingrid, the journalist writing the twenty-five year anniversary piece on Kelly’s murder, and Declan, one of the Heaney twins who discovered Kelly’s body, the storyline is dark and gritty, the twists plausible and unpredictable, the characters engaging and realistic, if not always likeable.

I often found myself holding my breath – in anticipation, in dread – as I suspected almost everyone of killing Kelly.

Ask No Questions is an engaging and emotional read that occasionally unnerved me. And while I may have had a solid suspicion as to the identity of the killer, I had no idea of the how and why. That was a climactic revelation that had me shedding a few tears, and not for the first time during this read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#AskNoQuestions #NetGalley

‘We all get lonely. Even those of us in big houses with partners and children.’

THE AUTHOR: Claire Allan is a Northern Irish author who lives in Derry~Londonderry with her husband, two children, two cats and a very spoiled puppy.

She worked as a staff reporter for the Derry Journal for 17 years, covering a wide array of stories from court sessions, to the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, health and education and human interest features.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Ask No Questions by Claire Allen for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Searcher by Tana French

EXCERPT: He’s halfway through his second pint before he tunes into the argument going on down the bar. It catches his ear because it sounds unusual. Mostly the arguments in here are the well-worn kind that can be made to stretch for years or decades, resurfacing periodically when there’s nothing fresh to discuss. They involve farming methods, the relative uselessness of local and national politicians, whether the wall on the western side of the Strokestown road should be replaced by fencing, and whether Tommy Moynihan’s fancy conservatory is a nice touch of modern glamour or an example of jumped-up notions. Everyone already knows everyone’s stance on the issues – except Mart’s, since he tends to switch sides regularly to keep things interesting – and is eager for Cal’s input to mix the conversation up a little.

This argument has a different ring to it, louder and messier, like it’s one they haven’t practiced. ‘There’s no dog could do that,’ the guy at the end of the bar is saying stubbornly. He’s little and round, with a little round head perched on top, and he tends to wind up on the wrong end of jokes; generally he seems okay with this, but this time he’s turning red in the face with vehemence and outrage. ‘Did you even look at them cuts? It wasn’t teeth that done that.’

ABOUT: THE SEARCHER – Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.

Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.

MY THOUGHTS:For some unknown reason, I haven’t read anything by Tana French for several years. But I am glad I decided to resume our relationship with The Searcher, very much a character driven mystery.

Her characters are ‘characters’: from Cal, fresh out of Chicago who came looking for a small place, a small town in a small country, settling on Ireland because at least he wouldn’t have to learn a new language; to Noreen who runs the shop in the brief double line of buildings that counts as Ardnakelty village, and who won’t order the cookies Mart likes because of a complicated saga that took place in the 1980s and involved her uncles and Mart’s father and grazing rights.

The townsfolk are insular, almost feudal. They will look out for and protect one another, even punish one another, but are slow to accept change or new people into their midst. The ‘bush telegraph’ is alive and well in Ardnakelty. At one point, Cal concedes that ‘a guy can’t pick his nose around here without the whole town telling him to wash his hands.’ The pub, Sean Og’s, is the social centre of village life, along with Noreen’s store, where you will be served a healthy slice of gossip along with your grocery order. Unless, of course, you’re on the outer, in which case all you will get is misdirection and obfuscation at best; at worst, stony silence and a withering stare. Or, a warning.

The beauty of The Searcher lies in its characters, who come very much alive with French’s skilful depiction. There are many laugh out loud moments, but also moments of deep emotional complexity. This was a slow read, in the context that I took my time and lingered over passages, enjoying the depth of the characters and the complexity of their thought processes.

This is not a thriller. The Searcher is an atmospheric mystery underpinned with a lurking menace. It is a portrait of a small village determined to protect itself. It is an immensely satisfying read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheSearcher #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Tana French, born 1973 in Burlington, Vermont, is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actress. She is a longstanding resident of Dublin, Ireland. Her debut novel In the Woods, a psychological mystery, won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel. She lives in Dublin with her family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Penguin General UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Searcher by Tana French for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

A Galway Epiphany (Jack Taylor #16) by Ken Bruen

EXCERPT: ‘Your name came up in another case.’

I said, ‘I have the perfect alibi: a coma.’

He asked, ‘You ever meet . . . wait, I’ll check my notes. ‘Took out a battered Garda notebook. I felt the familiar pang of regret at having been thrown out of the force. He double checked, then continued, ‘Renee Garvey?’

It sort of rang a bell, but elusive. I said, ‘Why?’

He said, ‘She has a young daughter who is obviously a victim of abuse but is in some sort of shock and not talking. The mother, Renee, was apparently thrown through a third-floor window, worse, a closed window.’

I asked, ‘Did she survive?’

He gave me a withering look, said ‘No miracle for her, she’s dead as dirt.’

I felt terrible. Now I remembered her desperation and how flippant I had been. More points on the guilt sheet.

I said, ‘I failed her.’

ABOUT: ‘A GALWAY EPIPHANY (JACK TAYLOR #16) Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend Keefer, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.

When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle or expose the stunt.

But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children. A fraudulent order of nuns needs them to legitimatize its sanctity and becomes involved with a dangerous arsonist. Soon, the building in which the children are living burns down. Jack returns to his old tricks, and his old demons, as his quest becomes personal.

MY THOUGHTS: All the time I was reading A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen, I was writing the review in my head. It was a blinder, probably the best thing I have ever written. By the time I closed the cover on Jack Taylor in the early hours of this morning, it consisted of two words: I’m speechless.

I’m still kind of speechless; all the thoughts I’d had, vanished. I feel like I have been dropped down the laundry shute, put through the washer, the wringer, the dryer, then, instead of being neatly folded and put away, I have been tossed in a heap in the corner.

Jack Taylor can in no way be considered ‘ordinary.’ He is irreverent, yet strangely obsessed by religion. At one point he recites the Our Father daily, even adding the Protestant rider to it just in case God does, in fact, turn out to be Protestant. He is the child of generations of superstition, belief in seers, omens, signs, second sight and the seventh son of the seventh son deeply ingrained. He knows how pathetic it is, but as he says, ‘When you’re hardwired to this shite, it’s difficult to shake.’

He is a devotee of the ‘good stiff drink’, Jameson, no ice, a nice frothy pint of Guinness, and the occasional, or sometimes more frequent, Xanax. He is not a fan of being hugged, which everyone seems to be doing these days and which, he concedes, makes a change from being shot at and beaten, although he is somewhat more comfortable with the latter.

Jack is not good at personal relationships. Just like his behaviour has no bounds, his mouth has no filter, and what he is thinking more often than not is said. He is angry at the world, and not afraid to show it.

In A Galway Epiphany, Taylor has two ‘miracle’ children to find, an arsonist who needs extinguishing, an asshole husband who killed his wife, a cyber bully to locate, and Father Malachy to contend with.

Interspersed with the 2019 storyline are world events, literary, and musical references, and even a reference to box sets.

Bruen has never been a smooth writer. It’s just not his style. It works, usually. And usually I love it. But A Galway Epiphany seems even choppier than usual. More disjointed. Frenzied in places. A little harder to read. In the past I could hear the voices of Bruen’s characters in my head. It didn’t happen. And yet I enjoyed (if that’s the right word; I can’t at the moment think of another) A Galway Epiphany, despite the choppiness, despite the cliffhanger ending.

Is there going to be more Jack Taylor? I don’t know. I hope so.

Btw, Mr Bruen, I thought the killer eating his scrambled egg with the murder weapon was a brilliant touch.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#AGalwayEpiphany #NetGalley

‘It is said that an epiphany is most likely to occur in a cemetery, though it helps if you’re the mourner rather than the deceased.’

‘The power of positive drinking.’

THE AUTHOR: KEN BRUEN was born in Galway, Ireland in 1951. The award-winning author of sixteen novels, he is the editor of Dublin Noir, and spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia and South America. He now lives in Galway City. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Sunday! I have been at work this morning, came home and tussled with a few weeds in the back yard. The jury is still out on who won that round! I swear they grow faster than I can deal to them. I can almost feel them nipping at my heels on the ground I have just cleared. Such are the joys of a warm wet spring!

Currently I am reading Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman.

This is a series that has been written back to front – the first book published was Practical Magic, published in 1995 (Practical Magic #1). I have yet to read this. The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #0.2) followed in 2017. I was captivated and enchanted. Magic Lessons (Practical Magic #0.1) was published October 2020, and tells of the beginning of the Owen’s family bloodline.

I have just started listening to Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr. I only discovered this author earlier this year.

This week I am planning to read A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen (Jack Taylor #16)

Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend Keefer, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.

When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle or expose the stunt.

But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children. A fraudulent order of nuns needs them to legitimatize its sanctity and becomes involved with a dangerous arsonist. Soon, the building in which the children are living burns down. Jack returns to his old tricks, and his old demons, as his quest becomes personal.

And, The Searcher by Tana French

Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever.

Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch.

Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door

This week I received three new ARCs from Netgalley:

Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristen Harper (thank you to my major enablers, Carla and Susan, for this one!) Isn’t the cover gorgeous!

The Boy Between by Josiah Hartley and Amanda Prowse

and The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean

No doubt after I have read Susan’s, Carla’s, and Carol’s posts today, I will be rushing back to Netgalley, my requesting finger quivering in anticipation.

Happy reading my friends. Sitting here in the relative safety of New Zealand, I am worried for all my reading friends scattered around the world where Covid-19 is raging out of control. Take care my friends. Stay home in safety and read.

Sandy

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Priest (Jack Taylor #5) by Ken Bruen

1735704

EXCERPT: The nun was gathering up the song sheets. She loved this time of the morning, the sun streaming through the stained glass. Her habit felt heavy but she offered it for the souls in Purgatory. She found a ten euro note in the end pew, was tempted to pocket it, buy a feast of ice cream. But blessing herself, she shoved it in the poor box. It slid in easily as the box was empty – who gave alms any more?

She noticed the door to the confessional ajar. Tut-tutting, she felt a tremor of annoyance. Father Joyce would have a fit if he saw that. He was a holy terror for order, ran the church like an army, God’s army. Moving quickly, she gently pulled the door, but it wouldn’t budge. Getting seriously irritated, she scuttled round to the other door and peered through the grille. Her scream could be heard all the way to Eyre Square.

Father Joyce’s severed head was placed on the floor of the confessional.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ireland, awash with cash and greed, no longer turns to the Church for solace or comfort. But the decapitation of Father Joyce in a Galway confessional horrifies even the most jaded citizen.

Jack Taylor, devastated by the recent trauma of personal loss, has always believed himself to be beyond salvation. But a new job offers a fresh start, and an unexpected partnership provides hope that his one desperate vision, of family, might yet be fulfilled.

An eerie mix of exorcism, a predatory stalker, and unlikely attraction conspires to lure him into a murderous web of dark conspiracies. The specter of a child haunts every waking moment.

MY THOUGHTS: Bruen’s writing is raw. Brutal. Irish. Black humour. He doesn’t waste words.

Jack is a tortured soul. Haunted by his own past and the death of a child that he was responsible for. A lapsed Catholic, his life is still inextricably entwined with the Church. He makes bargains with a God he no longer believes in.

In this, the 5th book of the series, Jack is sober. Not something that either we, the readers, or Jack himself, is familiar with.

He is tasked by a Priest, Father Malachy with whom he has history, to discover who killed Father Joyce.

Bruen weaves tidbits of Irish history and folklore effortlessly into his work. We learn about Galway landmarks – the Salmon Weir bridge and Eyre Square. There are frequent literary and musical references. I have a Ken Bruen-Jack Taylor playlist. It’s getting very long. It is magnificent and varied – Steve Earle, REM, Springsteen, Black Eyed Peas, Emmylou Harris, and Adrian McKinty’s great favourite – Tom Waits.

I read this series with an Irish lilt. It is a series, and one best read in order. Preferably with a dram of Jamesons. Jack won’t mind.

❤❤❤❤❤

THE AUTHOR: Ken Bruen is one of the most renown Irish writers, who writes noir crime fiction novels. He was born in Galway, Ireland, in 1951. He studied at Gormanston College, County Meath, and Trinity College Dublin, where he got a Ph.D in Metaphysics. Unlike most novelists, Ken Bruen has travelled around the world. During his twenty-five years as an English teacher, he worked in Africa, Japan, South America and South East Asia. Just as anyone would conclude, Ken’s travels were precarious at some point, including time spent in a Brazilian jail, where he was wrongfully imprisoned for alleged involvement in a bar fight. He currently resides in Galway, Ireland, with his wife and his daughter, Grace.

Ken started writing after his gruesome experience in prison in Brazil. The torture he went through left bad memories and mental anguish. A traumatized Bruen started writing crime fiction in an effort to get the nightmares off his head and heal the scars left from the horrendous ordeal. His very first novel, Funerals, was about a boy who attended funerals like they were soccer games. He has written over thirty five novels, six of which have been featured in television series. His novels feature typical comedy incorporated into noir crime fiction, and he does not fail to poke the Irish Church and the State at some particular point in his novels. He exposes a number of ills and provides an intuition of the dark side of Ireland. The main themes in his works are Ireland’s economic prosperity since the 1990s, immigration, the decline of the social and political power of the Catholic Church and the social change in Ireland. (BookSeriesInOrder.com)

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Priest by Ken Bruen, published by Bantam Press, Transworld Publishers. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Second hand heaven!

20200623_081406

Saturday, on the way up to my son’s, I stopped at Kihi Kihi, a small village about half an hour north of where I live. There is a large second hand bookstore there that I am always intending to visit, but because I usually go through there at silly o’clock in the morning before anything is open, and return at late o’clock, long after they’ve closed, I have never been able to. But on Saturday, I travelled at a civilised time and stopped in. I thought I had bought 16 books, but it was actually 18 for $60.00, and I got a free book bag with them. A lovely sea blue one with little white stars. And after I left, I kept thinking, ‘Oh! I forgot to look for this author, and that author…’ So I can see that I am going to have to make a return trip some time soon.

But in the meantime, I am all set up for my winter reads. My bookshelves are overflowing…may have to knock a wall out and put up more shelving! 🤣😂❤😍📚☕🍪

Happy reading my friends.

Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty

22551891

EXCERPT: He led me through the gates, along a gravel drive, into a wood-paneled entrance hall and finally into a large open-plan living room that overlooked the North Channel. The place was full of coppers and other hangers-on, some of whom turned to look at me the moment I stepped into the room. I ignored them.

The sun was up now and Scotland was so close you could see the chimney smoke from the villages on the other side of the sea. The living room itself was hung with tasteful, presumably original, artwork. Furniture: big stylish sofas, comfy chairs, a nice mahogany dining room table on to which a whole bunch of police forensic equipment had been placed. Floor: hardwood with massive, expensive looking Persian rugs on top. The TV was on, but at this time of day the only thing showing was the BBC test card: the little girl and the creepy clown playing noughts and crosses forever in a nursery hell.

Of course the focal point of the mise-en-crime were the two bodies sitting facing one another on two armchairs wither side of the TV set.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Belfast, 1985, amidst the “Troubles”: Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), struggles with burn-out as he investigates a brutal double murder and suicide. Did Michael Kelly really shoot his parents at point blank and then jump off a nearby cliff? A suicide note points to this conclusion, but Duffy suspects even more sinister circumstances. He soon discovers that Kelly was present at a decadent Oxford party where a cabinet minister’s daughter died of a heroin overdose. This may or may not have something to do with Kelly’s subsequent death.

New evidence leads elsewhere: gun runners, arms dealers, the British government, and a rogue American agent with a fake identity. Duffy thinks he’s getting somewhere when agents from MI5 show up at his doorstep and try to recruit him, thus taking him off the investigation.

Duffy is in it up to his neck, doggedly pursuing a case that may finally prove his undoing.

MY THOUGHTS: This was my Valentines Day present to myself. And damn….it’s good. In fact the best of the series yet. I sat down with it when I got home and didn’t move until I closed the cover on the final page a little before midnight. No dinner, no nothing. Just one of the best reads ever.

November 1985 and a country on the verge of the biggest uprising since the Hunger Strikes. But that is not the only piece of history McKinty has borrowed: ‘there is the tragic death of Olivia Channon at Oxford; Lt. Colonel Oliver North’s bizarre attempt to obtain anti-aircraft missiles using an Irish passport and the psuedonym John Clancy (his favourite author) during the Iran Contra affair; the events surrounding the signing of the Anglo-Irish agreement; the chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre in which an entire cadre of MI5 agents based in Norther Ireland were killed; and the theft of Blowpipe and Javelin missiles from the Short Brothers factory in East Belfast.’ (Author’s afterword) I love the way he weaves these events into the life our fictional Sean Duffy.

But don’t worry…it’s not all work, Duffy does get time to play. A little.

The characters are an eclectic mix – all of them playing a vital part in the story.

As I said, the best in the series yet. And I can’t wait to see what McKinty has in store for Duffy next.

*****

THE AUTHOR: Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 on, in Denver, Colorado, where he taught high school English and began writing fiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty, published by Serpent’s Tail . All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3190575142?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

13383740

EXCERPT: I shone my flashlight and then I saw her.

She was fully clothed, hanging under the limb of an oak tree. She had set up the noose, put her head in it, stepped off a tree stump and then regretted it.

Almost every person who hanged themselves did it wrong.

The noose is supposed to break your neck, not choke you to death.

Lucy had tried desperately to claw through the rope, had even managed to get a finger between the rope and her throat. It hadn’t done any good.

She was blue. Her left eye was bulging out of its socket, her right eyeball had popped onto her cheek.

Apart from that and the lifeless way the breeze played with her brown hair she did not look dead. The birds hadn’t found her yet.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Two dead.

One left in a car at the side of a road. He was meant to be found quickly. His killer is making a statement.

The other is discovered hanged, deep in a forest. She is surely a suicide.

Detective Sergeant Duffy is the man tasked with trying to get to the bottom of it all. It’s no easy job – especially when it turns out that one of the victims was involved in the IRA, but last seen discussing business with someone from the UVF. Add to that the fact that as a Catholic policemen, it doesn’t matter which side he’s on, because nobody trusts him – and Sergeant Duffy really is in a no-win situation.

MY THOUGHTS: I discovered Sean Duffy late in this series, but loved him so much that I have gone back to read this series from the beginning.

McKinty’s writing is, though often brutal, like liquid honey. It flows easily, even as Duffy makes huge leaps of deduction, often unfounded and misguided. But he is no bumbling fool, merely a man who feels too much, who longs to make a difference, who wants to help stop the madness of the Irish troubles.

Set in the reign of Margaret Thatcher, with the marriage of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer looming, resources are stretched thin. Riots are an every day occurrence, political prisoners are on hunger strikes, and innocent civilians are being killed in the random bombings.

And yet amongst all this carnage and hatred, McKinty manages to convey that there are still good people, people not interested in either side winning, people invested in finding an equitable peace. He even manages to insert a little Irish folk lore – ‘My grandmother told me that the forest was an opening to someplace else. Where things lurked, things we could only half see. Older beings. Shees. Shades of creatures that once walked the natural world, redundant now, awaiting tasks, awaiting their work in dreams.’

McKinty is one of the most talented writers I have ever read for setting atmosphere. As I read, I can hear every inflection, every nuance in the voices, I can smell the odour of death, of putrefaction, I can taste the food, even the whisky – ‘It was the good stuff and it tasted of salt, sea, rain, wind and the Old Testament.’ He brings his work alive.

😍😲😍😲.5

My favourite quote from The Cold, Cold Ground: ‘William Burroughs said that a paranoid is somebody who knows what is actually going on.’

THE AUTHOR: Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 on, in Denver, Colorado, where he taught high school English and began writing fiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty, published by Serpent’s Tail, from Waitomo District Library. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2994284793

Watching What I’m Reading…

I finished
46638139._sy475_-1
before I got out of bed this morning after starting it last night. My review will be posted tomorrow.

I am listening to 17187220
So if you saw someone walking to work Friday morning laughing…that was me. I love McKinty’s sense of humour.

This week I am planning on reading

41591785._sy475_

Behind every successful man is a strong woman… but in these stories, she might be about to plant a knife in his spine. The characters in this anthology are fed up – tired of being held back, held down, held accountable – by the misogyny of the system. They’re ready to resist by biting back in their own individual ways, be it through magic, murder, technology, teeth, pitfalls and even… potlucks. Join sixteen writers as they explore feminism in fantasy, science-fiction, fractured fairy-tales, historical settings, and the all-too-familiar chauvinist contemporary world.

(While most of the content is YA appropriate, please note the editors recommend this anthology for 16+.)

43198533

In small towns, no one lets the facts get in the way of juicy gossip…

Terri Rayburn is a girl with a reputation. She doesn’t deserve it, but having grown up on the outskirts of Summer Hill, Virginia, she knows how small towns work. The only way to deal with vicious gossip is to ignore it. So she keeps to herself as she runs the summer resort on Lake Kissel.

When she returns home from a short trip to find a handsome stranger living in her house, she smells a rat. Someone is trying to fix her up, and she has to admit that Nate Taggert is just her type. However, Nate is engaged to the daughter of the mayor and strictly off-limits.

Nate and Terri form an unlikely friendship while he throws himself into life at the lake. As Nate starts to hear rumors about Terri he’s confused. Knowing how smart, beautiful and strong she is, he’s determined to discover the source of the gossip. Terri doesn’t want to revisit the past, but Nate won’t stop until he discovers the truth—even if the truth might be more than either of them can handle.

I had no new ARCs from Netgalley this week, but I have received two directly from authors.

43230472._sy475_

And Owen Mullen (I love this author) has sent me an ARC for Deadly Harm….sorry I don’t yet have any cover art, but as soon as I do, you will see it.

A short post today as I have been at work all day and I really need some dinner. So excuse me while I roast some potatoes and throw together a salad to have with our pork chops.

Happy reading my friends. ❤😍📚

Watching what I’m reading….

It seems like an awfully long time since I last did this post…somewhere around two months. Let’s hope that I have not forgotten how!
45154219._sy475_
Currently I am reading Child’s Play by Angela Marsons and it’s every bit as great as I have come to expect from her. I should finish it tonight, so watch for my review tomorrow.

And I am listening to The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
13547335
which I have previously read. Even though I know the outcome I am really enjoying the audiobook.

This week I plan on reading The Girl in the Grave by Helen Phifer.
45171178._sy475_
When the body of a teenage runaway is found hidden inside someone else’s grave in a small-town cemetery in The Lake District, an urgent call is made to Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams. Still traumatised by a recent attempt on her own life, one look at the beautiful girl’s broken body is enough to bring Beth out of hiding for the first time since her attack. She’s the only one who can help her trusted friend, Detective Josh Walker, crack the most shocking case of his career.

Beth struggles to believe it’s a coincidence that the gravesite was scheduled to be exhumed, exposing the evidence. Does this twisted killer want to be caught?

Throwing herself into her work Beth discovers traces of material beneath the victim’s fingernails that sets the team on the killer’s trail. But this critical lead comes at a dangerous price, exposing Beth’s whereabouts and dragging her back into her attacker’s line of fire once again.

With Beth’s own life on the line, the investigation is already cracking under the pressure. Then another local girl goes missing… Can Beth stay alive long enough to catch the killer before he claims his next victim?

And The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond
46293588._sy475_

One hot summer, Dee disappeared. Now she’s back…but she’s not the girl you knew.

Sera and Dee were the best of friends.

Until the day that Dee and her brother Leo vanished from Sera’s life, during a long hot summer fifteen years ago.

Now Sera is an adult, with her own child, five-year-old Katie, and has returned to her childhood home after her husband’s death.

While she grieves, the past haunts Sera at every turn … and then Dee and Leo return to their small Hampshire village, along with Dee’s young daughter.

But Dee is silent and haunted by her demons; no longer the fun-loving girl that Sera loved. And when Sera uncovers the shocking secret that Dee is hiding, it’s clear that the girl she knew is long gone – and that the adult she has grown into might put all of them in danger…

Now that I am back in the saddle, so to speak, I went on a bit of a requesting spree and so far have been approved for

44151100

43193837

44552943

45484406._sy475_

and I Will Miss You Tomorrow by Heine Bakkeid for which I don’t currently have a cover shot.

Wishing you a wonderful week of reading

Cheers
Sandy .😍📚