I'm probably a bit too late to usefully review this book, but it's the first I've read from Brian McGilloway and I'm quite impressed, so here goes.
This is the third novel featuring Inspector Benedict (Ben) Devlin, who works out of Lifford, County Donegal, in the Irish Republic, just across the River Liffey which divdes it from Strabane, County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland. His boss, Superintendent Harry Patterson, is newly-promoted from uniform and has a history of friction with Ben. A gold mine has been established twenty miles or so to the East of Lifford, and preparations are in hand for the official opening, which is to be performed by Cathal Hagan, a US Senator of Republican sympathies and doubtful reputation. Devlin is responsible for the associated security operation. A body is found at the mine, but turns out to be an Iron Age 'bog body' of a young woman who was apparently sacrificed. This brings archaeologists hotfoot from Dublin, and the professor in charge turns ot to be a childhood neighbour and university drinking buddy of Devlin's. Meanwhile, a man shot during an unsuccessful bank raid in Lifford proves to be an illegal immigrant from Chechnya. Back at the mine, a shanty camp is growing on the banks of a nearby river after the discovery of a nugget in the riverbed triggers a mini gold rush.
All this takes place before the Celtic Tiger stumbled into recession; there is money to be made in not altogether scrupulous ways, and this provokes a crop of protests. The offices of Eligius, a US defence company located outside Omagh, are briefly occupied, and there seems to be a link with developments over the border in the Republic. The cross-border dimensions oblige Devlin - not without sone initial reluctance - to involve Jim Hendry, his opposite number in Strabane, and together they attempt to unravel the various threads described above. The plotline is complex, but the narrative gallops along as the bodies pile up.
Despite the complexities of the plot, the quality and discipline of the writing ensures that the reader has no problem in keeping abreast of developments. On the whole, the characters are well-drawn and sufficiently fleshed out to create appropriate pictures in the mind of the reader, but no time is wasted on domestic backstories for anyone but Devlin himself. The events in the narrative - including the above-average body count - are entirely credible, and the tension builds in an absolutely convincing way. Overall, this is a crime thriller which deserves a place in the top quartile of the genre, and any reader who finds it a disappointment must be very hard to please.
I have only two critical comments, and one of those is purely personal. The other concerns the character of Harry Patterson; I agree with an earler author reviewer that the author overdoes his unpleasantness. I accept that the police are far from perfect, and that too many of the less perfect seem to rise too far, but if a real-life Harry Patterson can reach the rank of Divisional Superintendent, it's time to consider emigrating to New Zealand! On a personal level, whilst I agree that the book arrives at a entirely credible conclusion I sometimes long for the reassurance of the old-time classics in which the guilty always received the come-uppance they so richly deserved. The bleakness of realism can be seriously depressing. But of course you are fully entitled to disagree!