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Published by Corsair, 18 May 2017. ISBN: 978-1-472151-30-8 (PB)
Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the week before the
vote of the European referendum on June 23, 2016. The national debate which had
begun somewhat flaccidly has suddenly become extremely heated with passions
running high among those in favour of leaving (Brexit) and those in favour of
remaining. In Northern Ireland those passions are further inflamed by the
age-long hostility between the Unionists and the Republicans. In a hall in
Londonderry Pastor Nixon is inveighing against homosexuality particularly gay
marriage, legal in both the mainland U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, but
anathema to hard-line Protestant Unionists. He lauds a newspaper report of an
instance in an African country of two gay men being stoned to death. But gay
marriage is not the only inflammatory issue in the referendum campaign:
anti-immigrant feeling in mainland Britain and the North is being stoked
ferociously. Detective Sergeant Lucy Black is called to one Romanian family who
have been the target of graffiti and offensive leaflets. Lucy enquires at the
leaflet printers who claim to have no idea who ordered the leaflets; however,
the proof of the leaflet has a barely legible signature which leads them to
Jackie Moss, a local café owner, who has served four life sentences for
sectarian murders but now describes himself as a community activist. And Moss identifies
the signature as being that of Charles Dougan who runs a local taxi firm; he
claims to know nothing about the leaflets. Meanwhile there is a more serious
event: a young gay man is found murdered. He is identified as Marty Givens who
was present at a Gay Pride celebration at a local night spot. Eventually the
police find that there is possibly a link between anti-immigrant prejudice and
anti-gay prejudice but is there something else, a link between someone in the
police force and a shadowy Unionist association calling itself Ulster Force?
And at the same time, although Lucy is not at present in a relationship, there
is still the problem of her relationship with her mother Assistant Police
Commissioner Jane Wilson. And her sadness for her father who is in a nursing
home with Alzheimer’s.
fourth in the writer’s Lucy Black series and is a worthy follow-up to the
earlier titles. I particularly appreciated the way in which the plot is
connected to recent political events. Recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May
was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After
studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast,
he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry,
where he is currently Head of English. He lives near the Borderlands, with his
wife and their four children.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.