Ben Devlin is a unique copper in the ranks of murder mystery writing; with a (mostly) happy family life and an easy familiarity with his small community which never borders on the arch, he still evidences the kind of common sense thinking and popular misconceptions about the modern world that make him instantly relatable and much more than just a device for the author's omniscience. He's incredibly likeable, but has enough of the poet about him that he remains compelling enough to follow, in this short debut novel from McGilloway. The plot is tightly structured and meticulously paced for the most part; the first two thirds of the book follow an almost linear and procedural progression which keeps the seasoned reader happily immersed in their own suspicions. If the book has a flaw it is in the final pages, where possibly too many twists in too short a time stretch the believability slightly. Still, I didn't see the end coming. A wonderful subplot with the family dog provides an elegant allegory for the larger issues in the book and shows just how sophisticated a writer McGillway is and how good this ongoing series should prove to be (He's written the second and been signed upfor three more after that). Highly recommended.
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