Review: Disappeared by Anthony Quinn (4/5)

Thursday 25 September 2014
DISAPPEARED introduces Celcius Daly, a Belfast Police Inspector laden with flawed judgment and misplaced loyalties. One of 2012's top ten crime novels.

A retired Special Branch Detective succumbing to early-stage dementia disappears from his remote home in rural Northern Ireland. An ex-intelligence officer is tortured to death. But why was his obituary printed in the local paper before his death? A son seeks his father's long-lost body and vengeance against those who murdered him. A stone-cold killer stalks the outskirts of Belfast. But at whose behest is he hunting his targets? And why?

All are connected by a single strand spun out of the past... but as Inspector Celcius Daly knows, the past is never dead... it's not even past.

Something I've been wanting to read a lot more of recently is crime fiction set in Northern Ireland as I was planning a trip there recently and rather than look for guide books of the area chose to seek out crime fiction instead. I was excited to read this book after reading its blurb and started it not long after it was posted through my letterbox. Thanks to Head of Zeus for the copy! Expectations were high and I wasn't left disappointed, but very eager to read book two, Border Angels.

Our main character Inspector Celcius Daly is back in Northern Ireland and on the case of a missing man with dementia who has disappeared from his remote home. Meanwhile an ex-intelligence officer is tortured to death with his obituary being printed in the local paper before his death. A son wants vengeance against those that killed his father. And a killer is stalking the outskirts of Belfast. Daly wants answers. For me I always like the characters that go against the advice they are given. Here Daly faces a wall of silence from pretty much everybody. Advised to leave the case well alone, it is clear that that is not something he is willing to do. With secrecy from all sides it certainly makes for a gripping read.

What has always interested me in novels set in Northern Ireland is the religious conflict and tension between the differing religions. As Daly is a Catholic detective in a Protestant nation that definitely left room for lots of tension. Anthony Quinn teaches the reader yet it's in a subtle way where you take it in without feeling like it's a history lesson in school. This is a book to savour, to take in every word that you are reading. It is emotional in parts and definitely leaves an impression. It is a book I won't forget in a hurry. For someone who doesn't know a lot about that time I'm constantly learning more with each book I read about the Troubles and despite an often uncomfortable at times read they are often stories that need to be read for future generations to be educated.

It was clear from the beginning that Anthony Quinn knows what he's talking about, helping to make the book all the more authentic and a lot more enjoyable than if it was in the hands of an amateur. I love nothing more than discovering new (to me) authors and Anthony Quinn is definitely one that will be staying on my radar, and one who I will be hoping to read more books from in the immediate future. 

Thanks to Head of Zeus for the review copy.

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