Quinn, Anthony - 'Disappeared'
It's January during the present time in Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland. Detective Inspector Celcius Daly has been woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from the police station. The caller is concerned about a disturbing report that an elderly woman at a place called Washington Bay had said that her home had been forced into and her brother has disappeared. The brother, David Hughes, is sick with Alzheimer's disease.
Celcius lives in his late father's cottage on the shores of Lough (or lake) Neagh. He had moved there to his childhood home, six months previously, from Glasgow, when his wife left him and is now working for the Northern Ireland Police Service; unlike the majority of his Protestant colleagues he is a Catholic. So at 4am on a freezing, windy cold January day he drives off to the sister's house where he meets some other detectives who were searching the outbuildings for any clues. The following day a colleague of the man who disappeared is found tortured and bludgeoned to death in his own cottage. Oddly enough, he placed a copy of his own obituary in the local newspaper the day before he was murdered. Both men had shared an interest in ornithology and the squawking of sea gulls and other birds is a strong visual clue of the surroundings in this very rustic landscape, as are the hides that were constructed to view the birds in their natural pastoral habitat.
This is the start of a complex, but very intriguing story from this first time author who is based in Northern Ireland. Although the "troubles" in Northern Ireland have more or less finished there is still a lot of resentment between Protestants and Catholics alike and a lot scores to settle between the two sides in the struggle. Detective Inspector Celcius Daly has a lot of trouble getting answers to the questions that he needs answered, to discover the identity of the murderer but he does get there in the end.
I very much enjoyed this very exciting, well-plotted story, told by an author with a strong awareness of the local scenery in this unusual setting. It was very atmospheric and the characters are richly drawn. I read it very quickly, as it's one of the best, first books of a British author, I've read in quite a long time. I understand that the author, who works as a journalist is currently preparing a sequel to DISAPPEARED and I hope that I get a chance to review it also. Well recommended.
Read another review of DISAPPEARED.
Terry Halligan, England
last updated 25/04/2015 16:57