Friday, August 5, 2011
The Priest. Gerard O'Donovan. Sphere (2010)
A gripping thriller with two very engaging leading characters, a vivid supporting cast and a very well structured story. When the daughter of a prominent Spanish politician is brutally assaulted in Dublin, Detective Inspector Mike Mulchay, recently returned from a posing in Spain, is reluctantly drawn into the investigation. Detective Inspector Claire Brogan of the Sex Crimes unit does not welcome his involvement in the case and the investigation develops a strong internal Garda political aspect. Siobhan Fallon is a journalist who finds the story and is determined to follow it, as well as developing a credible relationship with DI Mulchay. The story twists and turns without ever lowering the tension, the reveals are cunning staged and timed and the climax is enjoyably melodramatic, the conclusion satisfyingly sharp.
Gerard O'Donovan has got all the elements of the story woven into a very engaging whole. Mike Mulchay and Siobhan Fallon are great characters, both ambitious professionals they manage to respect each others opposing agendas enough to make an entirely credible, if a little uneasy, couple. The swirl of internal politics within the Garda is a complicating factor that is handled with tremendous skill and care. The structure of the investigation, nicely counterpointed by the media story, effectively developed, none of it feels forced to accommodate a plot point.
The supporting cast are all lively and sharply drawn, they are more than walk on parts,they provide genuine force and momentum to to book by the way they act.
A nice aspect to the book is the minimal role played directly by the villain, the focus of the story is on the horrific actions, the victims and the investigation. He is given an interesting context, he never controls the story. A great read.