Dublin Dead, by Gerard O’Donovan

Article published on December 8, 2011.

Journalist Siobhan Fallon is still recovering from the events in The Priest, when she’s send to Cork to cover the funeral of a formerly successful estate agent who has committed suicide in England. What at first appears to be a complete non-story becomes more interesting when she is approached by a woman who is worried about her missing daughter who was supposed to be with the deceased man in England.

At the same time, in Dublin, DI Mike Mulcahy and his team are gathering information about a known gangster and drug dealer on behalf of the Spanish police, who are trying to solve the man’s murder in Spain. The team is also looking into a massive drugs haul on a yacht off the coast of Cork. Curious, Siobhan travels to Bristol to find out more about the estate agent’s suicide and the missing woman, only to find no trace of the later as well as discrepancies in the travel documents of the man. At the same time more underworld figures are being killed, both in England and in Ireland.

When Mulcahy and Fallon get together and compare notes, strange coincidences soon turn into a sinister plot. With a gunman on the loose, determined to kill anybody who knows his secret, the detective and the journalist have only five days to tie all the loose ends together and prevent more deaths.

This is an enjoyable thriller, with an intriguing plot and connections where you wouldn’t expect any. In books like this you just know that what appear to be unconnected events will in all likelihood turn out to be connected. However, in this book it was completely unclear how that could possibly be the case for quite a while. In fact I found myself wondering once or twice whether the author would succeed in delivering believable connections, and was delighted to find that he did.

I did however find the book a bit slow to start. I think it took me to about half way through the book to pick up on any sense of urgency. Once I did get that sensation though, I couldn’t stop turning the pages, and found myself racing through the second part of the book to find out how it would all link up, who the killer actually was and how it was all going to end. Parts of the final solution came as a complete surprise to me, which is always good in a thriller, and turned this book into a more satisfying read than I thought it was going to be. I do have a bit of a problem believing that any policeman would ever co-operate with a journalist in the way described in this book. Since this plot device does work very well, I’m prepared to dispel my disbelieve on that front though.

I feel that this book flowed better than its prequel, The Priest, did and think that O’Donovan is hitting his stride. If there is going to be a third book in this series, as I hope there will be and the ending of this book seems to indicate, I will definitely get myself a copy. I’ve got a feeling that these books will only get better and better.

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‘Cuckoo’

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The Dead Witness, by Michael Sims

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