Ireland’s Disappeared, the persons kidnapped by terrorist organisations, are the subject of this dark thriller.


Ireland’s Disappeared, the persons kidnapped by terrorist organisations, are the subject of this dark thriller.

According to award-winning writer Brian McGilloway, the present boom in Northern Irish crime literature reflects the need for stories to assist people come to terms with the Troubles.

Last week, the father-of-four was honored at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate for his political thriller The Last Crossing.

His current work opens with a shallow grave and a terrifying execution in a Scottish wood, inspired by the “Disappeared,” those victims abducted, murdered, and secretly buried by terrorist groups.

We learn about the impact on Tony, a former teacher who has now become a sacristan, and his co-conspirators Hugh and Karen.

During a ferry trip from Northern Ireland to Scotland, they were brought together for the first time in three decades to identify the burial place, ostensibly to bring closure to the victim’s family.

“One of the compromises of the Good Friday Agreement was that any information supplied to help with the retrieval of the bodies of the Disappeared would not be forensically investigated,” argues McGilloway.

He explained that it was a means for families to find closure even if no justice was served.

“Then I read that during the search for one of the Disappeared, the people responsible for the death had gathered for the first time in 30 years to try to remember where the body was buried. That’s where I got the idea for my book.

“I was interested not only in the actual journey on the ferry to find the body, but also in the journey over 30 years – how could each of them deal with what they had done?

“So many of my stories are about the effects of violence on family and society as portrayed by the police,” says the author.

“This was about the ramifications of violence on those who perpetrate it. Taking someone’s life is the worst thing you can do, so how do you deal with it, how do you cope?”

Steph McGovern, a Harrogate festival judge and star of Channel 4’s Packed Lunch, hailed The Last Crossing as “a book that stuck with me long after I’d finished.” “Very believable three-dimensional characters and a riveting story,” she added.

Borderlands, McGilloway’s first novel, was published in 2007. His tenth novel is The Last Crossing.

He claims that Northern Irish fiction has exploded: “When I started 20 years ago, there were only two or three writers; now there are a lot of us.”

“Crime writing is.” according to the Brinkwire Summary News.


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