Top critical review
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3.5 Stars - Good plot, HATE the portents
on 9 April 2009
First Sentence: James Kerr returned to Lifford on a blustery morning in May, shuffling under the heavy clouds that scudded across the sky towards the North.
DI Benedict Devlin has a lot to deal with. He as been asked to keep an eye on recent parole James Kerr and encourage him to leave the area.. Kerr claims here's not there to commit crimes but first to talk to someone. But people Kerr knew start to die and Kerr, himself, if found murdered. Two girls have been drugged and beaten; and one died. Devlin want to find the killer before he strikes again.
How nice to read a police procedural where there is more than one case that needs to be solved. How nice, too, when the protagonist is a married man with children and without great angst or addictions, other than the stresses of the job. That doesn't mean he is perfect. In fact, McGilloway has made Devlin a classically flawed human.
The story is set in the Borderland of Ireland, where a concern is felons escaping either way over the border to the North or South. Again, it's a nice chance to have the story not set in a large city. The political aspects add to the veracity and interest to the story.
The plot is well done with lots of threads and relationships. The story was never predictable and I certainly never guessed the primary killer.
There were a couple little problems. McGilloway loves portents, which did make me crazy. I occasionally felt lost in the story and had some problems keeping the characters straight. .
One rather amusing thing was that my copy was clearly a first state, first printing. Each chapter heading is a date. Unfortunately someone missed that the first state copy went from Sunday May 28, Monday May 31, Tuesday Jun1, Wednesday June 2, Thursday June 1...and didn't get on track until page 66 and Friday June 4th. It was definitely disconcerting.
Even so, McGilloway has a wonderful style and I look forward to his third book.