We are so excited here to be publishing Brian McGilloway’s marvellous and gripping Blood Ties in March; after an overlong break of ten years, Ben Devlin is back in a new thriller set in the borderlands between north and southern Ireland. We’re marking the event by reissuing the entire Ben Devlin backlist (and just read the reviews for that series!) and also publishing, for the first time in paperback, Brian’s absolutely devastating and truly special standalone thriller. And from having spoken with Brian about this, I know The Last Crossing is very close to his heart.
The Last Crossing is beautiful, brutal and heartbreaking. It tells the story of three childhood friends who are reunited thirty years later when they are summoned and asked to lay old ghosts to rest for the good of the future. And as they take a ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland, the past is brought into terrible focus once again.
If you want an understanding of recent Irish history and the lasting legacy of The Troubles, then everything you need to know is here. Ian Rankin called the book ‘poetic, human and gripping’ while Ann Cleeves simply called it, ‘an important book’. So do read this, from an author who is clearly at the top of his game.
Blood Ties is out later this month – and as it says on the jacket, Ben Devlin is back! And much anticipated as well – Brian’s peers have already given him marvellous reviews so now you can catch up with Ben Devlin too. And although the sixth in the series, because of the gap between this and the earlier books, Brian has written this as a standalone; you don’t need to know Devlin’s backstory to be gripped by this. So if you have not come across the Ben Devlin series before . . . be prepared to be blown away now!
'Blood Ties is a compulsive police procedural, but it's so much more than that: thought-provoking, compassionate and beautifully-written. McGilloway is one of the finest crime-writers working today.' Ann Cleeves
'Blood Ties is one of those rare gems; a beautifully written crime novel that's also brilliantly paced, skillfully plotted and utterly absorbing. Brian McGilloway is, quite simply, a master of his art. Bravo.' Jo Spain
'Brian McGilloway's police procedurals are a masterclass in crime fictions' Andrea Carter
'Some of the very best crime fiction being written today' LEE CHILD on Bad Blood
How can a dead woman avenge herself on her killer twenty years after her murder?
This is the puzzle facing Ben Devlin in his latest case. He is called to the scene of a murder - a man has been stabbed to death in his rented room and when his identity is discovered Devlin feels a ghost walk over his grave as he knows the name Brooklyn Harris well. As a teenager, Harris beat his then-girlfriend Hannah Row to death, and then spent twelve years in prison for the murder.
As Devlin investigates the dead man's movements since his release it becomes apparent Harris has been grooming teenage girls online and then arranging to meet them. But his activities have been discovered by others, notably a vigilante, who goes straight to the top of Devlin's list of suspects... until he uncovers that Harris was killed on the anniversary of Hannah's death - just too big a coincidence in Devlin's books. So Hannah's family join the ever-growing list of suspects being interviewed by his team. And then forensics contact Devlin with the astounding news that blood found on Harris's body is a perfect match to that of Hannah Row's. Yet how can this be; the girl was murdered many years ago - and Devlin doesn't believe in ghosts.
Praise for Brian McGilloway
'This dazzling, labyrinthine debut impresses not only for the authentic depiction of a troubled community and the conflicts of a fallible detective, but also for the intense portrait of the borderlands themselves; as beautiful and terrible as the secrets they keep' Guardian
'McGilloway's Borderlands was one of last years most impressive debuts. Does Gallows Lane pass the feared second-novel test? Easily.' The Times
'McGilloway skilfully handles the tangled threads of a conspiracy surrounding an old crime, to make a satisfying mystery with an attractive central character.' Sunday Telegraph
'Poetic, human and gripping... reminded me of Bernard MacLaverty's early work. Yes, it's that good' Ian Rankin
'Moving and powerful, this is an important book, which everyone should read' Ann Cleeves
'The Last Crossing is not only a riveting story about loss and guilt in a fractured society, it is also an
important work. Beautifully written and lingers long in the memory' Steve Cavanagh
Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they'd seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite - to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future - they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought into terrible focus - some things are impossible to leave behind.
In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.
Praise for Brian McGilloway
'... McGilloway brings a forensic and compassionate eye to bear on the post-Troubles settlement in this thoughtful, moving, morally complex book' The Irish Times
'McGilloway's grasp of characterisation is of the first rank, and more than compensates for the familiarity of the scenario here. The author continues to be one of Ireland's most accomplished crime writers' CrimeTime
'[A] superb book... thoughtful and insightful, wrenching and utterly compelling. It says something truly profound and universal about love, loyalty and revenge... If you want to understand Northern Ireland, or any society that has experienced conflict, put it on your list. And the writing is exquisite' Jane Casey
'Unearths individuals truths, unreliable memories and personal mythologies with a complex character-driven story that will leave you breathless until the final page' Gerard Brennan
'As heart-stopping and thrilling as it is exquisitely written and prescient' Claire Allan
'Another extraordinary novel from one of Ireland's crime fiction masters' Adrian McKinty