Review: Border Angels by Anthony J. Quinn

Wednesday 7 January 2015
Title: Border Angels
Author: Anthony J. Quinn
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication Date: 7th January 2015
Pages: 240
Source: Unsolicited Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
A charred corpse and a set of footprints in the snow lead Celcius Daly into the twilight world of people trafficking.

Inspector Celcius Daly is hunting for a missing woman, Lena Novak, who mysteriously disappeared one winter's night along the Irish border, leaving in her wake the corpses of two men.

Daly finds himself hooked together with a prostitute and a hit man in a life-or-death chase. His investigation leads them deep into border country, a wild terrain of disappearing lanes and blown-up bridges, abandoned ghost-estates and thick forests - the ultimate refuge for anyone who does not want to be found.

As a blogger I receive a small number of unsolicited books, some I'll read, some I won't. I was very pleased however to open a parcel and see this book inside. I only read Disappeared, the first book in the Inspector Celcius Daly series a few months ago and when I finished it I was left wanting more. I was unaware that Border Angels was first published over a year ago or I'd have got my hands on it much sooner! Having now finished Border Angels this series is now a 'must read' for me. I'm very much late to the party, but I don't care as I am now a huge fan.

Border Angels is a believable and complex tale. A chilling and haunting opening really sets the scene for what's to come. It is very much a mystery, and I started off trying to work it out alongside Daly and I found myself feeling incredibly relieved that I was reading the book in the comfort of my own, warm home and not out on the border finding my life in danger. There's such a sense of realism with the book that at times it was quite frightening, it's a story that feels all too real, like something you would see on the news and think 'oh isn't that awful?' Well yes, it is awful and I found myself completely consumed by this book and the characters within, wanting good to overcome evil and doubting whether it would, and at times doubting who was even good and who was bad... As I said, complex but absolutely riveting stuff.

Very rarely has a book's setting come alive in my mind more than with the two novels I have read by Anthony Quinn. I have been actively seeking out crime fiction set in Ireland for a while now, which is how I came across these books in the first place and the setting has never been brought to life more than it has with Anthony's books, his knowledge of Ireland and the subjects he writes about along with some wonderfully descriptive writing is used to create a truly authentic, atmospheric reading experience that gave me goosebumps throughout. The character development of Celcius Daly was great, I am now totally invested in this character's history and his future and I can't wait to read more. He's certainly one of the more unique and interesting characters I've read about for a while, and I like that he isn't portrayed as some sort of Supercop which you usually find in crime fiction (generally American, which is what I read a lot of). I will say however, and it's hard to explain why without discussing the plot, that at times I felt he was coming across as a little naive, and certain aspects of the story felt a little contrived, where you think 'would that really happen?' But, it's fiction and it all serves to move the story along and adds some interesting twists and turns.

It seems that I tend to be repeating myself in my reviews, but I'm realising there's only so many ways you can say you enjoyed a book. What I will say that's different though is that Border Angels reminded me why I read, and it's because of books like this. I'm constantly baffled at people who say books are boring, or that they don't read. Books like this should be used as an example of why people should read, it's brilliant. For some reason I get the impression Anthony's books aren't as popular as they should be, perhaps I'm wrong but I'd never heard of him until a few months ago and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable where crime fiction is concerned, so if you are a crime fiction fan only just hearing about Anthony, then go and check out Disappeared, you won't be disappointed. Or, start with Border Angels as it can be read as a standalone.


1 comment:

  1. I've got Disappeared, and am looking forward to reading it - also Stuart Neville's The Twelve sounds brilliant. It seems that The Troubles are now being dealt with in crime fiction, and these books come highly recommended. It's not the easiest subject to deal with, as, even if it is fiction, there's the knowledge that a lot of it is very close to the truth...I can't help feeling for families who are still hoping to find the bodies of loved ones. If I enjoy Disappeared, as I suspect I will, I'll seek this out. Some great books to start the year Shaun.


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