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on 16 November 2013
... because of their more than rotten family structures are easily overcome by persons they normally trust.

Brian McGilloway is widely known for his Irish Borderlands thrillers featuring Inspector Devlin.
In his book Little Girl Lost he introduced to his readers DS Lucy Black, who is working at the Public Protection Unit and with that he had written an other real bestseller.
Now DS Lucy Black returns in "Hurt", an entangled thriller that shows once more how the young and vulnerable can fall prey to those they should normally trust blindly. Everything is about the abuse of power.

A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on a train line one freezing December night in Derry. Only because the theft of copper cables the incoming train couldn't run over her and so a murder is discovered which had to seem a suicide of a desperate teenager. Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is called to identify the body of the murdered girl as Karen Hughes. As Lucy delves deeper in to the case, she discovers that Karen has been living in residential care as the child of an alcoholic mother and a father behind bars. The only clue as to the girl's movements are her - brand new - mobile phone and various social media sites - where her 'friends' are not all friendly - quite the opposite!

Lucy is no stranger to death: She wanted to save a mother and her two children, when the estranged father set their house on fire - but she was only able to save wee Joe, now adopted by a couple who obviously love him. But Lucy can't let go - she is still searching for the monster who burned his house and his family...
And now, with a new boss surveiling every move of her - having also a very good motive for that, she is under a pressure that has to find a valve sooner or later.

So she looks in places she better shouldn't, moves relationships built over decades - also between the police and the local thugs...
And the only one who is always ready to help her, also if it would cost his life, pays dearly for his commitment.

This is a thriller - OK.
But also an intense study of family relations - Lucy's and a whole lot of others in Northern Ireland after The Troubles.
Who doesn't want to intrude or delve deep into Northern Irish culture, maybe will have some difficulties with this very well constructed crime novel.
The Northern Irish society is not an easy topic to understand for strangers...
For me personally - it was a plain five-stars!
I am looking forward to Brian McGilloway's next book!
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on 20 November 2013
This is the second of Brian McGilloway's DS Lucy Black novels. A few years since the last was released, however I only found this author earlier in the year. After reading the last book I immediately preordered this one. I am so glad I did. It's so realistic that you can feel it happening around you. The description and realism of the story making me get angry at the characters who can be so evil. I did manage to guess one of the "baddies " on first introduction but it did keep me griped until the end managing to read the book in only 3 sittings. I hope it's not another 2 years before we are once again introduced to DS Black. Well done Brian keep up the good work.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 April 2014
Although on the surface this is a story of an investigation into Child Sexual Exploitation, and resultant murder, it is also an exploration of the conditions which make a child susceptible to these crimes and the grooming which leads to it. As part of the investigation team DS Lucy Black is making grim discoveries about many people who may or may not be involved with these crimes. In this second book in the series, we see the characters developing. Lucy is coming to terms with what she has learned about her parents, her father will not face formal justice for his wrongdoing because of his medical condition but does face an ironic justice. Her relationship with her mother remains strained and she still prefers to keep their relationship a secret from her colleagues. It is obvious that both she and her mother are unsure of the boundaries of their relationship - at what point does her mother become her senior officer, and where is each relationship appropriate? Between the first book and this one, Lucy has begun and ended a relationship with Robbie, a social worker who has been involved in both of her investigations. Lucy is also finding it hard to let go of the memories of a child she feels she let down in the first book, and is determined to track down the person who caused the death of that child, even when that puts her at risk of personal danger. It seems that Lucy is making many enemies in this investigation and someone is determined to stop her getting to the truth of the situation, it is by luck that she is not injured when someone resorts to an old way of trying to stop her. Someone else however is not quite so lucky, the comments of the emergency personnel notwithstanding. Lucy is paradoxically something of a renegade, whilst she is very judgemental of her father's past, and to a degree, her mother's way of working in the past, she is not averse to causing injury to a suspect, nor to passing on information to people who shouldn't have it. She is determined that people will pay for their crimes in one way or another.
We are left with a bit of a tease, will Lucy develop a relationship with officer from the Tech Dept who has been so helpful to her, or will she return to Robbie? If she does, will it be a testament to the strength of their relationship or will it be a guilt reaction? We are also left with an open ended situation from the first book, will she ever find the arsonist she is seeking?

This is a hard book to read because of the subject matter, but it is dealt with carefully and with a degree of sensitivity.
I found it hard to put down because I wanted to get to the end, to find out who was behind it and to ensure that justice was done. Sometimes however, where justice is not transparent a different form of 'justice' is sometimes brought to bear on a situation and not everyone here gets the sort of justice I would recognise.

I look forward to seeing more books in this series, and to seeing them develop.
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on 21 November 2013
Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is our main character, a young girls body is found on railway tracks and Lucy must identify it. Lucy is haunted from a past case and won't let this one go. When another body turns up Lucy knows she is on the right track and like a dog with a bone she won't let it go.

This story covers some dark areas, murder, paedophilia, vengeance and some built up rage. Lucy seems to be the kind of cop who acts like you, the reader, would want to act. Punish the bad guy, ignore the strict rules of the law, do what it takes to punish the bad guys. Her actions as a police officer as questionable to say the least however I imagine most readers will be rooting for her.

I have never read this author before and to be honest I think if I knew more of the back story I would have enjoyed it much better. It is clear she has major issues with her mother, who is also the assistant chief constable. There are some clues as the why she behaves like the bad behaved teenager in almost every interaction with her mother but in the place of work I felt this should have been reprimanded. Maybe knowing more of the back story it is understandable but for me it did annoy me at times as she is an officer and this is her boss.

There is a fair amount of action within the book and the story, whilst dark doesn't go into too many horrific details although there is enough for you to know exactly what is going on. This was a good introduction to a new author, to me, and I think I would pursue more of his work but maybe start from the beginning and work my way through.
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on 25 November 2013
Almost unputdownable, really enjoyable read.

Interesting and entertaining, leaves you wondering to the end, another winner from the Brian McGilloway stable.
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on 2 July 2016
I bought the two books together. After reading book 1 I was rather bored with with so much trivia that I had a job to finish it, I hoped book 2 would be better, but I am afraid it was not. Lucy must be a top athlete because no matter how many other policeman were with her she always outrun them all and got to the suspect first, either killed them accidentally or got herself hurt, because she didn't wait for help. The story is good but I found I was skipping a lot . With so much explaining of detail I got lost on some of the many names. If this had of been a paper back I think I would have missed a few chapters and gone to the end. But as I said the actual story was good.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 November 2013
Following the phenomenal success of Little Girl Lost, the first thriller featuring DS Lucy Black, McGilloway returns to her character in his new release Hurt. Despite me being a huge fan if the Inspector Devlin series, I must confess that somehow McGilloway's alternative series had escaped my radar, so this is my first foray into Lucy Black's world, and a thoroughly riveting and enjoyable one at that.

There is more than enough reference to the events of the first book for the new reader to be quickly immersed in the harrowing events that Black has experienced, and which have shaped her character, both in a personal and professional sense. What the reader quickly perceives is that Black is an extremely committed and focused police officer, even if she does become slightly too personally involved in her cases at times, but fulfilling the classic edict of all great detective fiction, has a rather unsettled personal life in the wake of a failed relationship. Refreshingly though, she is not aided and abetted by the failings of her personal life by being either sexually promiscuous or befuddled by drink and drugs, but instead immerses herself in an emotive investigation where damaged young girls in the care system are procured for sex, resulting in murder. McGilloway really taps into Black's increasing bewilderment at the sheer disregard shown for these vulnerable girls, by the men (some of them in positions of trust or power) that use and abuse them, and embarks on a single-minded mission to gain justice on their behalf, drawing Black into extreme personal danger. McGilloway once again demonstrates his superlative skill at pace and plotting, increasing the feeling of danger at a steady pace to a truly nail-biting last few chapters. This, in tandem, with the superb characterisation of both Black herself, and her colleagues, in particular her immediate boss, DI Tom Fleming, who has an interesting story of his own within the plot, and Black's difficult relationship with his replacement, makes for a powerful and gripping thriller. The reader is immersed throughout in Black's personal narrative, but in addition McGilloway perfectly conveys the less than pleasant aspects that lurk below respectable society, that powerfully unsettle the reader but which are integral to the overall theme of the book, focusing on the abuse of vulnerable young people in society, and the role of individuals like Black in bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. A striking read with a great female protagonist that kept me hooked throughout.
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on 4 December 2013
I really enjoy this author, both in terms of plot lines and relationship building. This book was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint. As others have said a page turner and hard to put down until completed.

The setting in Derry provides a different slant to other detective stories and I particularly enjoy being challenged in terms of perceptions and the ongoing impact of "the troubles"

Highly recommend to those who enjoy good story telling, interesting characters and story lines that are not pleasant but should be considered and brought higher into people's campaigning consciousness.
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on 24 April 2015
I admit to being a little biased, as I am familiar with the local setting of McGilloway's novels and I find his attention to detail in describing the scenes to be impressive and for me this lends the stories a certain level of realism. I also appreciate the way he maintains neutrality and even-handedness in describing the recent protagonists in 'the troubles' with a healthy degree of scepticism. 'Skeletons' are regularly dragged out of cupboards, particularly those blelonging to Police or former paramilitary characters in the novels. In fact, the 'heroine' of the story is not exempt from this scrutiny and I think that the author sems to relish exploring and exposing the characters of the detectives just as much as unravelling the characters of the criminals. The plot is well thought out and largely believable, and the story flows smoothly, switching gently between the sub-plots without requiring the reader to 'back-track' to pick up the threads of the story. This is the seventh McGilloway book I've read and probably the best. I have enjoyed all of them but in the later books the characters are being explored with ever more detail. I suppose the one criticism that I would have would be that at times the criminal stories can be a little predictable and although the book is entertaining it is not quite a 'cliff-hanger'. I look forward to the next installment...
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on 25 February 2014
This is the second Lucy Black novel i'v read and i like the way Brian takes you back to the first Lucy book now and again.Its important that you read the first one to get the feel of this story before reading Hurt.I have read all this author's books.The Devlin novels we're excellent reading and i'm hoping he will revisit the inspector again,not forgetting Lucy of course.I have known Brian for a number of years having worked in the College.
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