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Saturday, 20 July 2019

BOOK REVIEW - A RIVER OF BODIES BY KEVIN DOYLE

Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. 
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A River of Bodies
by
Kevin Doyle

The Blackstaff Press

'Noelie Sullivan, disaffected ex-punk and grassroots activist, has every reason to be afraid.  His investigation into Danesfort Industrial School and the boys who went missing from it is attracting attention. Special Branch want him to disappear and he's made enemies of the powerful Walsh and Donnelly families. But Noeli is determined to get to the truth. He won't walk away. At least that's what he tells himself until his friends and family start paying the price.

A River of Bodies is the gripping sequel to To Keep a Bird Singing and the second part of Kevin Doyle's Solidarity Books trilogy.'

I have not read the first book of this trilogy and I may have been disadvantaged by missing out on back story details and character connections but as a stand-alone novel A River of Bodies works extremely well. It didn't take long to get me up to enough speed to understand what drives the plot.

I like thrillers where the reader feels part of the gang, in this case a group of like-minded people out to uncover child abusers from the past. I was drawn in to their world, enjoying being party to their secrecy and plans.

Mix together the dark abusive side of the Catholic Church, local gangsters, corrupt cops, undercover shenanigans and mysterious deaths and there is a concoction of murky deceit, lies and cover-ups to make retrospective investigations feel like a mission impossible.

But Noelie Sullivan and his cohorts have good personal reasons and much determination to cope with dead-ends and blind alleys. They operate in a world where trust is never certain, even amongst themselves. They disagree. They argue. They console and reassure each other. They hit the ropes and bounce back. They suffer loss. They find themselves in cul-de-sacs. But they get lucky too. And, whilst failure outweighs success as they plough on, they gradually pull enough strings together to get as good an explanation of the past as possible, to identify the names of guilty individuals and to gather enough evidence to hopefully deliver justice.

A River of Bodies is well-researched and well-written. The main characters are interesting personalities, with Noelie as the central 'lost soul' guy trying hard to decide what to do with the rest of his life. The writing has addictive pace, the plot thickens nicely, and as it is part of a trilogy, book two ends with a cliffhanger. Damn it! Now I'm hooked!!

Kevin Doyle is to be congratulated for producing a thoroughly entertaining and edgy novel. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the positive review Joe. Given that you hadn't read To Keep A Bird Singing it was particularly interesting to hear your take on how the story worked from the point of view of the overall plot. I am relieved!

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