I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Blood Will Be Born by Gary Donnelly
Published by Allison & Busby Ltd on February 20, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, General, Hard-Boiled, Noir
Format: ARC, Paperback
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‘Brilliant. An exciting new voice in Northern Irish noir’ Adrian McKinty, author of The Chain
MURDER. BLACKMAIL. WELCOME TO BELFAST.
DI Owen Sheen vowed never to return to Belfast, but he needs answers about his brother’s death. He is on loan from London’s Met to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, although before he can dig into the past, he must babysit DC Aoife McCusker on her first murder investigation.
As the case slides into chaos, can Sheen put his personal agenda aside? And will McCusker keep her job long enough to ensure that this first case is not her last?
‘A gripping debut thriller. The story thunders to its bloody conclusion’ Stuart Neville, author of Those We Left Behind
'Blood Will Be Born is a rare find - a sucker punch to the gut that will also put a tear in your eye. Unflinching but never cynical, twisty but utterly plausible, and full of heart. I loved it. I only wish it didn't feel so timely' Catriona McPherson, author of Strangers at the Gate
Blood Will Be Born sets its explosive tone in the mind-blowing prologue. Imagine a bullet ricocheting off the walls in a box room. This is exactly how I would describe this cracking debut novel. That bullet is speeding towards its end goal. It’s impossible not to get hit in the wreckage, this is the delightful experience that Blood Will Be Born will engross you in. every twist, every delightful description has you ducking but also in rapturous attention. The story leaves you with a nasty case of whiplash that leaves you pained and distraught. The deep meaning behind the title is pure poetic brilliance.
Bearing in mind that this is a debut, it is seeping in palpating brilliance. Gary is the Irish Noir Fisherman extraordinaire. He’s pulled you in hook, line and sinker. His narrative pulls you in, ties you up and leaves you for dead.
A revisited past. Anger and anguish. A thirst for revenge. Mixed loyalties. It’s a heady mix
The setting gives you the immense feeling of unrest with a bubbling undercurrent of both events gone by but also events being ready to be perpetrated. The troubles are still at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It won’t do any good to forget, but the want and raw need to forget is what drives the people. It’s that human want -peace and quiet. What I loved most about Blood Will Be Born is just how flawed the characters are. John Fryer is a haunted man. Left in an asylum to basically rot. He is consumed by the death (his own doing) of a young man in 1976. He was a tough guy in the IRA but has his time being locked away really changed him?
Christopher Moore. His only motivator is revenge. Revenge for him and his father. His perceived sin has rotted his brain for years. Apparently being born to a protestant father and a catholic mother is akin to pissing on the altar of Jesus. Harsh words spoken and never forgotten and now he’s back, and he’s going to make people pay.
DI Owen Sheen. Belfast was a painful memory. He hasn’t been back since he was a boy. A bomb that killed his brother. They fled to England for their lives. Time moves on as they say, and he is now a detective in Metropolitan Police, murder squad. When the opportunity knocks on his door to take a position on the Historical Crimes Unit he grabs it by the balls. His hunger for revenge is fuelling his decision.
DC Aoife McCusker is flawed but she is determined to prove herself when she lands a promotion in serious crimes in Belfast. She’s a bit miffed when she has to babysit a new DI Joining their team. They head to the crime scene – the murder of an apparent sweet old lady. Does she have a connection to the individuals responsible for Owen Sheen’s nightmares?
Blood Will Be Born is an utter kick to the genitals. Its swift, brutal and it brings you to your knees. Its utterly compelling and deviously plotted. A dark twisted tale that will leave you gripped from start to finish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Donnelly is a crime and thriller writer from Belfast who lives and works in London. BLOOD WILL BE BORN, the first in the DI Owen Sheen Belfast thriller series, was originally published as an e-book to critical acclaim in 2017 and will be properly relaunched in trade paperback/e-book by Allison and Busby in February 2020 with the sequel, KILLING IN YOUR NAME, to follow in September 2020. Watch Gary speak about his book in this 30 minute televised interview on Novel Ideas for NVTV. The audio book, published by Isis Publishing Ltd, is spoken by Irish actor Stephen Armstrong. Adrian McKinty, the award winning author of The Chain, had this to say about the book: “A twisty, violent, cop thriller set in post conflict Belfast where hard men lurk in pubs and back alleys awaiting their chance to mete out the old kind of justice from the dark days of the Troubles. Brilliant. Gary Donnelly is an exciting new voice in Northern Irish noir.”
Gary attended a state comprehensive school in west Belfast, read History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and has lived and worked in London since the late 1990s. In his time he has been a Belfast cemetery manager, a business conference organiser in the City, a council gardener in Neasdon, and gained a further degree in Psychology, which he teaches in north London. Gary is married to the lovely Sacha and has two non-returnable children. He can cook up a storm and play a mean guitar (after a few drinks).
Gary has this to say about his writing: “I always wanted to write a novel and after I enrolled on a course at the City Lit two years ago, the initial outline of BLOOD WILL BE BORN emerged from one of the homework exercises. But the story has been incubating for much longer. I left Belfast 20 years ago but you see it never really left me. The course finished, and I kept writing; on my day off, weekends and while travelling into work. I took the first 3000 words to Crimefest 2016’s Pitch an Agent slot and some top flight agents gave the sample and the synopsis and big thumbs up, which was very encouraging. Enough, in fact, to get up at 5am to write before work, and finish the first draft.