McGilloway, Brian - 'Bleed a River Deep'
This is the third novel in a series featuring Inspector Ben Devlin, and set in Ireland, but this is the first one I've read. However, it didn't seem to matter, as there wasn't much of an apparent backstory to catch up on. Ben is a fairly bland, ordinary policeman and in some ways, this is a pleasant change from other crime novels, but in others is a real difficulty partly because he is so bland, and therefore not very interesting as a character. He is married, has '2.4' children and a 'normal' suburban existence outside of his job, and that's about it. No drinking, gambling or other devious habits. He's also not terribly lively, and even a little bit dim.
The story revolves around a gold mine, which is about to be opened by a controversial arms dealing US senator. Ben is in a bit of difficulty with his boss, and is under pressure to make sure security works well at the gold mine opening. He also has to discover the identity of a bank thief, who is shot and killed at the beginning of the novel; the man has false identification on him. Ben finds out that he was an illegal immigrant, and this starts the second major theme of the novel about illegal immigrants, and how they might be getting into the country. The story is well put together, plods away at a steady pace and all the ends are neatly tied off. There are a few moments of danger and excitement, such as a car chase, and the shooting of Ben's car, but no real surprises.
I found the style of writing a little like something I might expect to read in an actual police report. It was quite factual, with not much in the way of description or character development. Although there are a few scenes involving Ben and his family, very little happens, and it all seems happy and fairly normal. Ben's wife is a little upset, when Ben brings a female illegal immigrant home to stay with them, when there is no-where else to go, but that's about it. Overall, this is a fairly dispassionate, though well told and well plotted story, and was enjoyable to read, but it just didn't quite have enough excitement for me.
Read another review of BLEED A RIVER DEEP.
Michelle Peckham, England