12/1/2013

Troubles Tales

A great full page article on Disappeared in the Irish News:

"Co Tyrone native Anthony Quinn was a social worker before dabbling in gardening and teaching yoga. He switched careers again to become a journalist and now he has written his first novel, a book categorised as fiction but one very much inspired by real-life Troubles tales. He talks to Brian Campbell ANTHONY Quinn's debut novel Disappeared has the tagline 'In Northern Ireland's darkest corner, The Troubles have never ended'."

http://www.irishnews.com/features/troubles-tales-1221170

12/1/2013

Disappeared in Kirkus Reviews 2012 top ten crime books

Disappeared has been selected as one of the top ten crime books in 2012 at Kirkus Reviews.

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/blog/mysteries-and-thrillers/youre-tops-2012s-10-best-crime-novels/

 

Mystery Bookshelf has also selected Disappeared as one of the year's top crime reads.

 

http://henryct.wordpress.com/

19/9/2012

"Shocked and informed by Anthony Quinn's journey into the dark heart of the Troubles"

Culture Northern Ireland has posted up a tantalising review of Disappeared.

"In the company of his chief protagonist, Inspector Celcius Daly, I take a trip to Anthony Quinn's fictional version of Northern Ireland: a dark and eerie but beautiful place.

As a crime novelist myself, I was pleased to have visited, but each time I put this book down – seeking respite from feeling as though I were constantly looking over my shoulder – I was glad to be home, in the safety of my study, and not roaming Quinn's disturbing streets.

Quinn's gothic world is populated by some very strange, often sinister characters, all of whom I was suspicious of – even Daly, at times. But, as with anything that is dark, creepy and filled with intrigue, we can only ever leave it alone for a short time.

Disappeared is a very well structured novel. I absorbed great hunks at a sitting. As a reader, sometimes I struggle to feel and imagine clearly the descriptive scenes and passages in books, but there was no such problem with this novel.

The action begins in a cottage owned by Special Branch agent David Hughes, who has gone missing during investigating the closed case of Oliver Jordan, a man heavily involved with the IRA who mysteriously vanished during the Troubles.

There the somewhat melancholic Inspector Daly – who recently separated from his wife – has been called to the scene of a brutal murder. The body is that of Joseph Devine, a former spy. Daly suspects that the three cases (Jordan/Hughes/Devine) are connected.

Exhuming the secrets of the past in Northern Ireland is never easy, and Daly's investigation us further hampered by the fact that he is a Catholic detective – mistrusted by his colleagues, reviled by his own people.

The sounds, emotions, atmosphere, scenery, smells and characters described by Quinn are tangible. My skin prickles; I wrap my cardigan tighter around myself and huddle further into the warmth of my armchair.

Amidst the darkness there is a silvery thread of humour running through this story – Daly's character in particular provides some much needed light relief on occasion – but it is clear that Quinn is a master of the macabre. Disappeared is an unrelentingly tense journey into the dark psyche of a troubled society.

Sentences remain in the memory. ‘...he filled his glass and returned to stare at the broken ridges shining in the moonlight like the ribcage of a hungry beast’, or ‘...now I feel her weeping inside me. It’s as if she’s wringing out my soul’ are particular favourites. 'He was surrounded by memories, the wind puncturing holes in the darkness through which ghosts could stream.'

The factual side of the book Is also incredibly interesting, especially to someone who has only a small knowledge and understanding of the Troubles. I was only a young child then, and have since relocated to England, although I do remember the news reports of those terrible times.

I enjoy the way Quinn see-saws between past and present, offering enough subtle information for the reader to grasp a simple comprehension of Northern Ireland's history without it seeming like a prosthetic limb to the rest of the story.

Quinn cleverly depicts doubt and suspicion in all of his characters, and constructs his plot in ways that should shock the most ardent fan of crime fiction.

Many theories rained in my head as I sat on the cold, dusty floor of Daly’s cottage, in front of his turf fire, trying to piece together the clues offered up by Quinn. None of my conclusions would have been of any use to Daly, however. Quinn always managed to surprise me with his conclusions.

This is a truly exceptional read which has stayed with me like the remnants of a vivid and disturbing dream; exactly how I want to feel once I have finished a book. If reading is all about escape, then Disappeared is an entertaining transportation into another world. In short, I loved it and look forward to seeing what Quinn has yet to offer."

19/9/2012

"As dark as a pint of Guinness and just as satisfying"

Another great review - this time from Richard Cosgrove at the Book Club.

 

"For more than three decades Northern Ireland was a hotbed of sectarian violence, religious divisions and a breeding ground for terror in which everyone knew who their enemy was. This all changed with the ceasefire, however, plunging the country into an uneasy, and for many, restless calm. Former terrorists became politicians, informants were quietly maneuvered into hiding and the confession boxes of the country’s churches had never been busier as many previously self-appointed soldiers and activists flocked to be absolved of their sins.

It against this backdrop of a post-Troubles Northern Ireland that Disappeared, the debut novel by author Anthony Quinn is set. When Inspector Celcius Daly is called to investigate the horrific murder of Joseph Devine, a former informer found tied up, burned and mutilated on a small island following a tip off to his priest, he makes a connection between this crime and the disappearance of a Special Branch detective and realises that the two incidents could be the beginning of something much bigger.

Warned away from digging too deeply into the community’s past, one that Daly was absent from for many years after being effectively exiled to Glasgow as a youth following the murder of his father, he finds that he can’t ignore his responsibilities and obligations as a man of the law to discover the truth, no matter how many feathers he ruffles along the way, and begins to uncover old secrets that threaten not only the lives of the people around him, but the stability of the peace process itself.

Quinn, himself born in Northern Ireland and a reporter on his home turf of County Tyrone, creates a haunting and claustrophobic stage, among the broken down cottages, the eternally babbling streams and the heavy rain and rolling mists that shroud the lough that is a pivotal and central character of the book, upon which the players in this noir tale of subterfuge, deception and death are effectively brought to life.

There are no black and white personas here. Everybody, just like the lough itself, is a murky composite of secrets, demons and ulterior motives and Quinn expertly uses this to great effect, a literary puppet master who manipulates the reader with as much finesse and expertise as the Special Branch wranglers manage their past informants. A modern take on the noir thriller, Disappeared is as dark as a pint of Guinness and every bit as satisfying, and with this debut Quinn has marked himself as an author to watch.

Disappeared will be published as an eBook on 24th July by Mysterious Press, a newly launched imprint of Open Road, but a name with a long history of promoting classic authors like Isaac Asimov, Raymond Chandler and John Le Carre. Originally founded in 1975 by acclaimed editor Otto Penzler, The Mysterious Press dealt exclusively with mystery and crime fiction and was the first publishing house to introduce many of today’s revered crime writers to America, a tradition it now hopes to carry on in the digital publishing world."

19/9/2012

Ken Bruen's generous praise for Disappeared

Line up the Edgar for best first novel.

Disappeared is a major piece of work.

Eerily tender, a wonderfully wrought classic that is a landmark in the fiction of Northern Ireland.

Betrayal

Pathos

Compassion

Brutality

As beautifully written as the wild ferocity of Lough Neagh.

And lines to sing for, like this description of drunkenness:

“...the throng of young people cavorting down the streets was like a poisoned organism celebrating its own death throes.”

And the sly humor that is quintessentially Irish:

"...a series of bends that the locals claimed would knock the devil out of a heretic.”

And this lilting image:

“...a landscape that was a sniper's puzzle of thick thorn hedges and slanting fields.”

Line up the glittering prizes of mystery. This one is going to take 'em all.