McGilloway, Brian - 'The Nameless Dead'
THE NAMELESS DEAD opens with the continuing search for 'The Disappeared' ( the undiscovered bodies of those informers etc who have died during 'The Troubles') on a small island midway between the North and South and formerly associated with cross-border smuggling. Whilst the search revolves around uncovering the body of a certain Declan Cleary, a number of corpses are found linked to a former mother-and-baby home on the mainland, all displaying signs of physical deformities and having appeared to have died in suspicious circumstances. The story then spirals out further into an investigation of an illegal baby-smuggling operation and the link between all these strands to a seemingly respectable property developer whose father had carried out drug trials at the aforementioned home with disastrous consequences. One of the major strengths of McGilloway's writing is his vice-like grip on plot development as all the disparate threads are wound together into a seamless whole, so at no point as a reader, are you led to false and unbelievable plot turns. McGilloway always stealthily avoids the over-reliance of some crime writers on the frankly lazy plot device of coincidence, so in conjunction with his strong factual detail and research the plots are always plausible and I always seem to learn something new about Irish history with every book which is an added bonus.
Following on from THE RISING we are also witness to the trials and tribulations of Devlin's personal life as Penny continues to wreak havoc with Devlin's position as a cop and his son Shane starts to show the first signs of rebellion that his daughter is becoming so accomplished at. I really enjoy these very natural portrayals of the family unit which always seem to impact in some way on the central plot but feel unforced and add another level to the novel.
Married to this we again have a good solid depiction of Devlin as a marvellous combination of the moral yet maverick detective getting himself into scrapes again and as one of his colleagues drily remarks, "He's not a good cop. He's a walking disaster. I only hang around with him to see what he'll do next." which perfectly sums up Devlin's uncanny knack to not only always be involved in the thick of it but to also manage to annoy his superiors at every possible turn. However, contrary to his colleague's tongue in cheek comment, Devlin is a good cop and McGilloway makes us realise this through the skill of his writing and by his solid characterisation of Devlin. A good series that just gets better and better….
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