Norton’s voice bounds of the page of his delightful debut novel. He captures the small town and village life in rural Ireland perfectly. He describes the small village of Duneen with all its secrets wonderfully, in fact so good I am sure readers will be searching it out for a visit.
The story opens when a body is found on the building site resulting in the most excitement for decades in this quiet and secretive town. The Garda, PJ Collins, tasked with leading the initial investigation, whilst enjoying the activity, has panic attacks and begins to fret about solving the murder. All the characters of an Irish village are there, spinster sisters, widows, broken marriages and he weaves them into the story in a warm style. There’s grief, unhappiness and fears and catholic guilt running through the story in bucketful’s.
As the story developed I grew fond of Garda PJ and Norton describes him brilliantly as he copes with the secrets in the households of Duneen. As a long time single man looking for love his search for the murderer offers up love opportunities for PJ and this thread provides much fun through the novel.
Norton captures the Irish village scene perfectly and how “issues” are dealt with. I loved his writing style when describing scenes, such as the smokers huddled against the wall like some very unappetising prostitute. I particularly enjoyed the scene with the singer in the church, singing You’ll Never Walk Alone described as a threat than a promise!
And I for one believes it ends leaving open the possibility of a sequel. Could PJ could become the Irish Morse I wonder?…
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and will happily recommend it. This is not a case of a celebrity penning a novel because they can, rather an author writing an highly enjoyable and well written debut novel.
Hodder & Stoughton/£20/ 9781444792003 Published 6th October