Stuart Neville

Harvil Secker £12.99 – Trade p/b

Released 5th August 2010

Reviewer: Adrian Magson


Adrian Magson is the author of five crime novels set in London. Two new series begin in 2010 with ‘Red Station’ (Severn House) and ‘Death on the Marais’ (Allison & Busby). See for more information.


Trying to stay ahead of his violent past in Northern Ireland, Gerry Fegan is working on a building site in New York, incommunicative, reserved and trying to mind his own business. But that past is about to come and find him. The Traveller is on his trail. 

A man of many identities and no loyalties, he has been hired by Bull O’Kane, a former hard man now hanging on by a life’s thread but desperate to get revenge on Fegan for shooting him and betraying the cause and to cover up his own misdeeds. And in the Traveller he has a ruthless killer who will take out whoever he is paid to, be it man, woman or child.  

But O’Kane doesn’t want to kill Fegan by proxy – he wants the pleasure of doing it himself, of seeing Fegan die. And he knows all about Fegan’s one fatal weakness: a woman named Maria McKenna and her daughter, both in hiding. If the Traveller can get to McKenna, then Fegan will not be far behind, ready to do anything he can to protect them, even at the risk of his own life.

It is the most basic kind of bait – and the most effective. 

But Maria was close to another man, too: DI Jack Lennon, the father of her child. Also irrevocably embroiled in Belfast’s violent history, he is at odds with his colleagues and superiors, has a serious stain on his disciplinary record which has reduced him to low-level police work, and trust between them is at an all-time low. 

Gradually, the three men are drawn together, each tugged resolutely towards finding Maria and her daughter; each with a different agenda; each knowing that their past deeds have come back to haunt them and that trust is something none of them can depend on. 

A graphic and gripping portrayal of revenge and retribution, this is a thriller in every sense of the word. It trawls through the grubbiness and menace of Northern Ireland’s death-dealing shadows, and is also a startling reminder (as if anyone but our politicians needed reminding – especially with recent news) that the ‘troubles’ in the Province have not yet been eradicated; that arms have not been done away with; that old enmities have not been laid to rest and that new ones are very often cultivated for convenience over belief. It also addresses some uncomfortable possibilities – that past collusion was not always on the side of the angels and some unpleasant things were done and are yet to be done for political and personal ends. 

A brilliant follow-up to ‘The Twelve’.






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