Friday 22 April 2016

Siren by Annemarie Neary

ReviewerJJ Marsh

What we thought: A psychological thriller with a political twist, all told in an understated yet believable voice.

Róisín ran from her Belfast childhood and its harsh choices to reinvent herself in New York. She thinks she’s escaped. Until Brian Lonergan appears on the news. Another reinvention who’ll escape what he did unless someone tells the truth.

That someone is Róisín.

She heads back to Lamb Island, determined to expose this man. She’s aware of the risks, she tells herself, unaware she’s being watched by someone with a very different agenda. Someone else with a ‘history’.

Bone-chilling contemporary thriller juxtaposed with flashbacks to a terrifying past, the tension left nail prints on my palms. Neary’s prose is precise and sharp, the characters drawn in nuanced shades and the evocation of a remote island adds both atmosphere and uncertainty – small community secrecy can be friend or foe. Northern Irish politics loom over the story like a balaclava backdrop, a reminder of what division and hatred can do.

Superb storytelling and impressive use of time and place.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Wicker Man, Arlene Hunt and In the Woods by Tana French

Avoid if you don’t like: The fallout from politics, some violence and creepy observation.

Ideal accompaniments: Dry gin, cucumber sticks and silence. This is a book you’ll want to read right through to the end, uninterrupted.

Genre: Psychological thriller

Available on Amazon

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