Border Angels by Anthony J Quinn

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Border Angels by Anthony J Quinn

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The second book in the Inspector Celcius Daly reads well as a standalone and is a great evocation of the Irish border country.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 978-1784082604

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Lena Novak knew all about border country. She was an illegal immigrant from Croatia and whilst she wasn't having to cope with landmines, bears and wolves, the Irish border had its own problems. She had worked in the farmhouse brothel for two months when she met Jack Fowler but her plan to escape left bare footprints in the snow and more than one dead body. The investigating officer was Inspector Celcius Daly and it wasn't long before he found himself in the unprofessional situation of working with a prostitute and a hitman.

It was a windy night and sleep simply wasn't going to come, so I picked up just about the first book which came to hand. I didn't realise that it was the second book in a series or I might have looked further, but in the event it didn't matter - there are hints about what has gone before but seemingly no spoilers. I finished Border Angels tempted to go back and read Disappeared rather than left feeling that I was adrift in the second - or that there was no need to read the first book. For more than five hours I was deep in border country and unworried about gale-force winds.

It's a good story and I bought in to the characters, particularly Daly himself and his boss, Commander Boyd, who could reduce any investigation to the need to fill in yet more forms. But what really held me in the book was the country itself. Anthony J Quinn lives in Belfast but it's obvious that he knows and understands the border country, thick with disappearing lanes, bridges which have no middle and untold stories. There's an added problem too - not entirely a result of the troubles - in that the financial collapse resulted in the bottom falling out of the housing market. Estates of houses have been left unsold and often unfinished with only the odd resident in splendid isolation. There's an almost eerie feel to the book - on more than one occasion I felt a shiver down my spine.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

For more crime set in Northern Ireland we can recommend I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty and Bleed a River Deep (Inspector Devlin Mystery) by Brian McGilloway.

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