Hurt – Brian McGilloway

Hurt is the second Brian McGilloway novel to feature DS Lucy Black. If you have not met Lucy before in the first novel Little Girl Lost, then that is okay there is enough in this book to give you the background and work out why Lucy has something to prove not just to others but herself as well.

She has seen the suffering of death and how only some can survive when she sees a young girl burn in a house fire and the perpetrator seems to have got away with it. Exacerbated by the fact that the girl ‘s grave is vandalised, Lucy is on a personal mission to stop anyone else getting hurt. She thinks she can protect everyone. It is that which gives her a loner type status or stuck with colleagues who have their own issues to deal with.

But hankering after justice in the past is not going to help her solve the current case. A young girl is found dead on the railway tracks,  but she was not run over by the train. It is all very placed and it appears to be a suicide, even more so when you hear about the girls background. It is not, it is murder and there are friends lurking in many dark corners of Derry and her life both real and also online. It becomes a challenge to find out who is real and who is not all the while trying to stop anyone else getting hurt.

This novel deals with the fractious relationship that Lucy has with her mother and her colleagues. There appears to be a lot of sexism still in the force and Lucy is still trying to hide who her mother really is. Lucy has a tendency to go out on a limb and leave herself exposed to danger and hurt. But the sheer determination of Lucy’s character overcomes and she somehow gets herself into scrapes which then result in a conclusion that you as a reader were perhaps not expecting but it all twists and turns to a conclusion. What McGilloway portrays in this novel are nasty crimes (there is no graphic detail, it is the not saying that makes it all the more clever) and ones that have been made so much easier for criminals with the popularity of social media. If you wanted to find a book where it shows how this has infiltrated into the criminal world and also the ways that have developed in catching such criminals then look no further than this book.

This is a good gripping crime novel and what makes it stand out perhaps from others is that Brian McGilloway has chosen a female lead and has done it very effectively. Male authors can sometimes in my opinion struggle somewhat when trying to give voice to a female lead, McGilloway does it extremely well. There are I am sure plenty more layers to the character of Lucy Black and I am intrigued in the way that they may develop in future novels.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this novel. It is out now and published by Constable and Robinson.