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.Killing in Your Name by Gary Donnelly
Published by Allison & Busby Ltd on August 20, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, General, Hard-Boiled, Noir
Format: ARC, eBook
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A boy’s body is found in bogland: a case as cold as the earth that has hidden it for so long and an echo of Northern Ireland’s darkest hours.
DI Owen Sheen has sworn to get justice for the unnamed boy and digs up links to a covert British Army unit that was operating in the 1970s. But as fresh bodies start to litter the streets of Belfast, Sheen and DC Aoife McCusker, who is fighting to restore her professional reputation, must make the connection and stop a killer hellbent on revenge.
How often can you truly say that the second book in a series is as good as the debut? From personal experience I could count on one hand how often that’s happened to me. Killing In Your Name has surpassed Blood Will Be Born ( and I loved that). It’s explosive, compulsive and knock your socks off shocking. Gary Donnelly is swiftly becoming my favourite crime novelist – he can spin a yarn and have my guts twisted in knots with his raw storytelling. The past truly catches up with you…the threads of the past always have a way of coming home to roost.
A boy’s body found in bogland. The condition and nature of the death is quite harrowing and the visual implanted into my brain felt like a kick to the gut. A cold case. Questions unanswered. A family that has had to move forward with no closure. Has it been too long to gleam any forensic evidence, or will the closure of the case be down to budgets? Imagine a twelve-year-old boy whose biggest problem was cycling his bike or finding his next fix of sugar. His life shouldn’t be ended in such a cruel and evil way.
Killing In Your Name is bursting with characters who create depth and destruction around DI Sheen. I definitely think that Sheen is a lovable rogue that’s been dealt a pretty shitty hand of cards and times he seems to be shovelling snow in a snowstorm. He’s a character with flaws, as are we all. He is brimming with intrigue and confusion, but he always gets the job done. They say every action has a direct consequence, well every Gary Donnelly novel should come pre-packaged with some anxiety reducing blankets. The guy could force out emotion from a stone.
Like any kick ass crime novel, it has spades of action, drama and obstacles. Donnelly created a veil around his plot and it is completely up to the reader to tear back the layers to get to the epicentre. Sheen and McCusker have a hell of a job on their hands stopping someone on the path of revenge. It’s like a snowball rolling down a mountainside – once it gathers momentum, you’ll have a hard job slowing it down! Is a happy ending possible? A tattered reputation on the line, mounting bodies and the clock just keeps on ticking.
Killing In Your Name was the rollercoaster ride that I needed to renew my vigour for the crime genre. After reading so many of them, I felt that I had become stagnated. This felt like electricity to the heart, restarting that drive to be excited about it once again. The story took over senses, I had no recollection of time, I’m pretty sure I wore down the fingertips with the rate I was turning the pages. It’s an unsettling novel with a palpating menace of an atmosphere and more skeletons in the closet than your local morgue!
Killing In Your Name is oozing with suspense and raw power. The depth of social commentary makes Gary Donnelly the new crime writer to watch. Executed with scalpel like precision!
ABOUT GARY DONNELLY
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.”