Tyrone author’s debut thriller tipped for US crime fiction awards
TYRONE Times author Anthony Quinn has attracted high praise for his debut thriller Disappeared from one of Ireland’s most successful crime writers.
Best-selling author Ken Bruen, who penned The Guard, said he was tipping Disappeared to win a host of fiction awards.
The award-winning author said: “Line up the Edgar for best first novel.
“Disappeared is a major piece of work. Eerily tender, a wonderfully wrought classic that is a landmark in the fiction of Northern Ireland.”
The Galway-based author, whose books are critical and commercial hits in the US as well as Ireland and the UK, said he was struck by Disappeared’s combination of pathos, betrayal, compassion and brutality.
“As beautifully written as the wild ferocity of Lough Neagh”, he added.
“And lines to sing for, like this description of drunkenness:“...the throng of young people cavorting down the streets was like a poisoned organism celebrating its own death throes.”
“And the sly humor that is quintessentially Irish:’...a series of bends that the locals claimed would knock the devil out of a heretic.’
“And this lilting image: ‘a landscape that was a sniper’s puzzle of thick thorn hedges and slanting fields.’
“Line up the glittering prizes of mystery. This one is going to take ‘em all.”
Disappeared has also received glowing reviews from the Culture Northern Ireland and Literary Belfast websites.
Reviewers in the US have praised Disappeared for its ‘powerful mood-enhancing prose’; ‘its convincing tightly-plotted story’; its ‘lavish portrayal of Irish history’ and ‘the ratcheting up of tension as the yarn progresses’.
The thriller, set in the aftermath of the Troubles, is about the past coming back to haunt the present with particular urgency and drama.
Inspector Celsius Daly is called to a rural home in the lough-shore area, from which David Hughes, an elderly gent afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, has lately vanished.
Hughes’ sister and caretaker fears he has wandered off and into trouble. But as the inspector investigates, he discovers that Hughes isn’t the quiet country putterer he seems.
Instead, he’s part of a larger and much more complicated story connected to the long-ago slaying (by the Irish Republican Army) of an alleged political informer, Oliver Jordan, and the more recent torture murder of an ex-intelligence agent.
The fact that said agent placed his own obituary in a local newspaper, prior to his death, makes this whole affair particularly bizarre. Daly - a detective still wrestling with a recent separation from his wife and more capable at his job than at handling his personal life - adds further to the stakes in this mystery by inviting Jordan’s answers-seeking son into the case. It soon becomes apparent that the missing Hughes harbors secrets in his deteriorating mind that others don’t wish to see released
The questions that Daly pursues are those that puzzle the reader. Was Jordan killed because he was an informer or was he, as his widow insists, loyal to the IRA? What does Jordan’s son, Dermot, know about his father’s past? Why did Special Branch cover-up the details of Jordan’s disappearance? What is the significance of Devine’s collection of antique duck decoys, to which the story makes frequent reference? Are the ghosts that visit Hughes real or imagined?
“My starting point for writing Disappeared was the idea of a former spymaster suffering from Alzheimers”, said Anthony Quinn. “I wanted to use his illness and the deterioration of his mind as a symbol for how Northern Ireland was dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.
“Silence and denial might have been good coping strategies during the Troubles, but in a time of peace, they are potentially dangerous, as some of the characters in Disappeared find out to their cost.
“The book is full of twists and turns which mirrors the murky and tortuous world of spies and informers.”
The paperback will be available in bookstores from October but can currently be ordered from Amazon and other on-line retailers.
For more information log onto MysteriousPress.com and AnthonyQuinnWriter.com.
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