In Deep Water by Sam Blake

In Deep Water is Sam Blake’s second novel featuring Detective Garda Cat Connolly. A tense crime procedural, it is set in South Dublin and North Wicklow with the action kicking off when Cat’s friend Sarah Jane Hansen goes missing.

A student at DCU, Sarah Jane works part time job as a waitress in a trendy restaurant called The Rookery. She was last seen leaving work when her boss, Billy Roberts, put her in a taxi. According to Roberts, he sent her home because she wasn’t feeling well. But Sarah Jane didn’t make it home and when Cat investigates, she discovers that someone has ransacked Sarah Jane’s flat.

Fears intensify

Then a body turns up and Cat fears the worst. It turns out not to be Sarah Jane but with her friend still missing Cat’s remains worried. Her fears intensify when she discovers a second waitress is also missing.

Is Roberts telling the truth? And what’s his relationship to restaurant owner Richard Farrell?

The investigation leads Cat and her boss Detective Inspector Dawson O’Rourke into a seedy and dangerous world. Every set of CCTV images  throws up further questions and the fears for Sarah Jane mount.

Readers of Blake’s first Cat Connolly novel, Little Bones, will enjoy how the relationship between Cat and DI O’Rourke develops in In Deep Water.

This is shaping up into a good series and I’m looking forward to getting to know the central characters a little better the next instalment.

The Good People by Hannah Kent | Review

The Good People by Hannah Kent is an engrossing read.

Set in County Kerry, Ireland in the 1820s it’s a richly imagined story about folk beliefs. This is a very visual, sensory and atmospheric novel. Kent describes water pooled outside a doorstep  as “tight with ice”, robins “bloodsmocked against the sky”.

The story centres on three women brought together by a disabled child.

When her husband Martin drops dead at a crossroads, Nóra Leahy is left alone with their grandson Micheál.

The son of her only daughter, Johanna, Micheál was born a healthy infant. But after Johanna’s death, he became sickly and, by the  age of 4, could no longer speak nor walk.

When Johanna’s husband leaves Micheál with Nóra and Martin, Nóra hides him away because she doesn’t want the neighbours to see his disabilities. Martin seems to have a connection with the child but Nóra sees only the changes in her grandson and she finds it hard to cope with him. So, after Martin’s death, Nóra  hires a maid, Mary Clifford, to help care for the boy. Mary is fourteen and comes from a large family. She is used to caring for young children and is kind and caring to Micheál.

The Good People and Changelings

But soon, stories about Micheál begin to spread and neighbours blame him when things go wrong. Nóra thinks he’s a changeling. She believes the ‘good people’ stole her grandson away and left a disabled child in his place. As she becomes more convinced about this, she grows more distant from the boy.

When neither priest nor doctor can help Micheál, Nóra turns to a a healer. Nance Keogh has ‘the knowledge’ to cure ailments and understands the ‘good people’ so Nóra believes that Nance can restore her grandson.

As Nóra, Nance and Mary attempt help Micheál, their efforts lead to danger and elements of the attempted cures may upset some readers. But, like Hannah Kent’s earlier work, Burial Rites, The Good People is a well-researched and absorbing read that draws you in from the first sentence and hold you till the last. I loved it.

[Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of The Good People via Netgalley]

Sisters and Lies | A twisty domestic thriller by Bernice Barrington

Link to Amazon product details for Bernice Barrington Sister and Lies
Click to view more details of Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington on Amazon.

Bernice Barrington is a writer and journalist based in Ireland. Sisters and Lies is her debut novel.

I enjoy domestic thrillers so when Penguin Ireland gave me an advance review copy of Bernice Barrington’s debut novel, Sisters and Lies, I was excited to get stuck in.

Sisters and Lies is a twisty domestic thriller about two Irish sisters — one a successful author and the other a struggling business journalist. Each has a troubled past due, in part, to the sudden disappearance of their father while they were still children — an event with lasting consequences for the sisters’ adult relationships.

The story begins when successful author Rachel Power has just returned to Ireland from a book tour.  Rachel gets a life-changing phone call telling her that her sister, Evie,  is in a coma in a London hospital.

Evie has crashed a luxury car and it’s uncertain if, or when, she’ll wake up. With no other family to call on since their mother died, Rachel is Evie’s next of kin. She flies to London and discovers that no one else was involved in the accident and Evie is the only casualty.

Could suicide have been Evie’s motive? The police don’t seem to suspect foul play but Rachel is not so sure. For one thing, Evie doesn’t have a car so whose car was it and why was Evie driving?

Before long, Rachel finds questions about Evie’s life mounting up and her suspicions grow. For one thing, there’s a man living in Evie’s flat who claims to be her boyfriend. But who is the handsome Donnagh Flood and why has Rachel never heard of him?

The more Rachel discovers about Evie’s life, the more she fears the crash was not  an accident. As the days go by and Evie remains unconscious, Rachel begins to question how well she really knew her sister.

Meanwhile Evie although comatose is aware of Rachel’s presence in the hospital but unable to communicate. Mentally, Evie tries to piece together the events that led to the crash.

Into the mix of Sisters and Lies Bernice Barrington adds Rachel’s estranged husband, Jacob, and Evie’s past and current boyfriends, Artie and Donnagh. Barrington draws her characters well — they are believable and rounded and their complicated relationships make for an interesting story line in this twisty domestic mystery thriller. Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington is published by Penguin.