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A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village by Michelle Vernal #Review

  Michelle Vernal's A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village was published on September 27th by Bookoutre . Ava Kelly loves returning to Emerald Bay for Christmas. Snowflakes fall on the green rolling hills and mulled wine fills The Shamrock Inn with the smell of winter spice. But this year, the Kelly family is hoping for a miracle… When twenty-four-year-old Ava Kelly and her adventurous twin Grace return home to The Shamrock Inn, their Ma’s favourite baubles bring back so many memories of Christmases past. They have always done everything together, even leaving their little Irish village for the excitement of London. But with the locket her handsome ex Shane gave her hanging just above her heart, Ava has just one wish this festive season… After a year stuck in a job she can’t stand and going on dreadful dates, Ava longs to be back with Shane. Curling up in front of the fire with him, the brooding fisherman everyone else sees melts away as his blue eyes meet hers.

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway #Review

Brian McGilloway's The Last Crossing was published on April 2nd by Dome Press and I am delighted to be taking part in the celebrations.
Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite - to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future - they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus - some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.

My Thoughts
What strikes me most about this crime novel is the relentless pace of the story. It is quietly spoken and intense but ongoing. You just know that there are going to be revelations as you get towards the end- that the past will be explained. The story is told through alternating chapters set in the past and present. As each chapter ends, the line is picked up in the next, which gives continuity to the story and links past and present. This is a very clever device.

    Martin's execution style murder opens the story and sets the underlying cruelty which lay below the surface of life in Ireland during the Troubles. Tony, Karen and Hugh have their own reasons for agreeing to return to Scotland to the scene of Martin's final resting place and of course, there are some twists and turns in their tale. Hiding secrets and keeping silent has become a way of life for the three and you come to realise that memories of the past may not be accurate and misunderstandings may have clouded opinions as to what actually happened.  This is a grim and harsh narrative but one with a sense of moving on possible.

In short: A powerful and well written crime novel.
About the Author

Brian McGilloway is the New York Times bestselling author of the
critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin and DS Lucy Black series.

He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English until 2013. He currently teaches in Holy Cross College, Strabane.

Brian’s work has been nominated for, and won, many awards, including Borderlands (shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger), Gallows Lane (shortlisted for both the 2009 Irish Book Awards / Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2010), and Little Girl Lost (winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award 2011).

In 2014, Brian won BBC NI’s Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors, an award which saw him become Writer In Residence with BBC NI.

Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife, daughter and three sons.

You can follow Brian here: 

Facebook:        @bmcgilloway

Twitter:             @brianmcgilloway


Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Brian McGilloway and Dome Press for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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