Borderlands – Brian McGilloway

This is the first Inspector Devlin book, which the author Brian McGilloway is going to make into a series of books. Therefore you could be forgiven in thinking that all this book will do is set the scene and introduce us to the characters. It does all that and more – it gives us a storyline so gripping that the book can be finished in one sitting easily.

Inspector Benedict ‘Ben’ Devlin works in the south but very near the border with the north. Where am I talking about, well Ireland. Any prior knowledge the reader brings to this book, about the troubles between north and south and all the politics which accompany it, are not wasted, it just gives the book a bit more of a grounding.

Devlin whilst trying to juggle family life in the few days before Christmas is trying to piece together the murder of local girl, Angela Cashell. Her body found on the border leaves little clues, not even clothes only an old ring and a photograph.  Her father is known to the police and many theories revolve about how he is implicated. When another youngster is murdered, leaving another clue of a photograph – whoever is in the photograph must know something.

But the photograph is twenty five years old and when Devlin and his colleagues discover who it is in the photograph then begin to unearth connections back to one of their own colleagues, but with new faces at the Garda station in recent months, which one of them is it.

McGilloway has created suspense and mystery, and uses the weather to set the scene for many confrontations, and place the deaths and the investigation in a rather dark place, while the snow and the whiteness of it is the contrast. Battling the weather at every turn, Devlin is being warned off by someone and their exacting revenge but when it starts to affect his young family he needs to solve these murders and the mystery of the photograph very quickly.

An excellent debut novel, and for someone who likes crime, detectives and an interesting setting then you will not go far wrong with this book, and the subsequent ones.  Very much current, and only thing I would watch out for is the amount of characters, it makes it one of those books where you need to concentrate to ensure you know who is who and what side of the border they work on.  Other than that – excellent.

I have read his fourth book The Rising under the Amazon Vine programme, and decided that I wanted to make sure I read the others. I was therefore wary about the review here (also published on Amazon) as although it was the first Inspector Devlin book, it was not the first book I read of McGilloway’s. Hopefully my review reflects this.