Borderlands is the debut novel from
Since its release, I’ve heard impressive reports about this book, and must admit that I’m a latecomer to McGilloway’s work. I opened up to the first chapter, hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed. Let me come back to that. Ooooh, the tension.
The first thing I want to talk about is the packaging of the novel. I was very lucky to have picked up a signed first edition hardback at the super-cool No Alibis bookshop in
Now back to the content. In the opening chapters, McGilloway paints a strong sense of place and circumstance. Inspector Ben Devlin arrives on the scene of a young girl’s murder. Angela Cashell, daughter of a local hood is found dead on the Borderlands. Because the family resides in Lifford, the Gardai take the case and so begins a nightmare set of circumstances for Ben Devlin to battle through. Another murder, that at first seems unconnected, puts pressure on the Gardai to wrap up the case and prove their competence. But the more they dig, the more the further from the truth they get, until Devlin uncovers a link in the form of a prostitute presumed dead twenty-five years before.
Although the book jumps right in with great setting and interesting plot, I felt like I didn’t get a real feel for Inspector Devlin in those initial chapters. But as the story unfolded and through his thoughts and actions, he became a fully-formed and complex protagonist. No major flaws, apart from a slight lack of restraint emotionally and physically, but you know, that’s kind of original in itself, isn’t it? I am looking forward to getting to know the man a lot better in the coming instalments. Gallows Lane, the debut, was released on the 4th of April and I’m itching to get up to No Alibis and hopefully get a copy left over from his signing.
Borderlands is further proof that us Norn Irish writers have talent to burn. The rest of the world should take note!