About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Collusion by Stuart Neville

14. - 811.) Collusion by Stuart Neville – After the rampage of Gerry Fegan in Ghosts of Belfast executing former associates from “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland there are many powerful forces who want the loose ends to go away permanently.

For Bull O’Kane vengeance is both personal and professional. Permanently damaged and forced to a wheelchair he wants Fagan dead. O’Kane, beyond being crippled by Fegan, cannot stand that Fegan is the only man he fears in the world.

O’Kane reaches out to an independent assassin, The Traveler, a fierce killer of gypsy background. He hires The Traveler to dispose of the loose ends and draw out Fegan who has disappeared. The Traveler is indifferent to his motivations.

In Belfast Detective Inspector Jack Lennon, a Catholic, is living with his own demons. He has been estranged from his family for 15 years for having joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary. He is under constant suspicion within the police for having lived with Marie McKenna and fathered a daughter. McKenna is the daughter and niece of powerful Republicans. The constant tension is wearing upon him.

When Lennon, on surveillance, prevents a Loyalist gangster from killing another Loyalist thug in an internal dispute over turf and criminal ventures he gains increased responsibilities within the police services.

In New York City Fegan is trying to work quietly but his sleep is still haunted. While the ghosts from Belfast have faded he is plagued by visions of fire and smoke and a screaming child.

At the same time Lennon, who had abandoned McKenna and his daughter Ellen, desperately wants to re-establish contact. They have equally gone away and he cannot penetrate Special Branch.

As The Traveler carries out his contract and the bodies begin to mount Lennon does not accept there are no connections. His superiors are content with convenient solutions.

The depths of the scheming are made clear to Lennon:

“Everybody knows it all, but no one says anything. Look, collusion worked all ways, all directions. Between the Brits and the Loyalists, between the Irish government and the Republicans, between the Republicans and the Brits, between the Loyalists and the Republicans …… All ways, all directions. We’ll never know how far it went.”

A degree of paranoia can be healthy in Northern Ireland as there may be a vast conspiracy around you.
As with the Ghosts of Belfast the pages are littered with the dead.

It is a tribute to Neville’s skill that he can create a thriller filled with hard men and hard women. Ordinary thrillers require a hero. Neville does not need a hero to carry his plot. His story drives forward into a contemporary heart of darkness. (Apr. 4/15)
Neville, Stuart - (2011) - The Ghosts of Belfast; (2012) - "N" is for Stuart Neville


  1. It certainly sounds as though it does, Bill. The Troubles were such a sad, traumatic time for so many people that I'm not surprised they have these effects on these characters. And you make a well-taken point that when the story line is well-constructed and engaging, you don't need a 'hero.' Glad you thought this was one of those.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. The hard men and women of Northern Ireland suffer the psychological consequences of "The Troubles" long after the bullets stopped flying.

  2. Bill, The Troubles in Northern Ireland can be a very interesting setting for a novel, especially if one has read about the historical events of the last century. The author has told a good story in that backdrop, I think. I have read a few thrillers set in and around Ulster.

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. It is becoming an older story with the active conflict over 15 years in the past.

  3. I recently read a short story by Stuart Neville, which made me want to read more by him, so this could be the book I need...

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. I would recommend reading Ghosts of Belfast before reading Collusion. I cannot see a reader going back to Ghosts of Belfast if they have already read Collusion.