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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Rising by Brian McGilloway

The Rising by Brian McGilloway – Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin is called out at 4:30 in the morning to investigate reports of gunfire. As he nears the area he sees it is a fire on a farm. At the farm he finds a barn burning. Rushing into the building he rescues an elderly man. Returning to try to find a young man he is trapped by falling debris and almost killed.

The next day Devlin learns the old man has died and the young man in the barn was murdered. While the young man’s body is badly burned they are able to identify the corpse as Martin Kielty, a local drug dealer.

In conversation with Elena McEvoy, his girlfriend, Devlin learns that Kielty had received a Mass card with a bullet in the card. It is a message of threat and warning familiar in the area from the Troubles.

Devlin is stationed in Lifford, an area of Ireland adjacent to Northern Ireland. The residents go back and forth across the border. The region has seen its share of violence. While peace has come some of the para-militaries have little interest in peaceful pursuits.

Kielty has property on both sides of the border giving him convenient bases for his drug dealing. Devlin and other officers work on Kielty’s relationships in the drug world.

A group have formed a group called The Rising to challenge drug dealers in the area. Their primary forms of advocacy are intimidation and assault.

At home Devlin, having spent too much time working, is not able to recognize that his children, especially 11 year old Penny are growing up. She is no longer a little girl. While his wife, Debbie, understands Penny’s need to go out Devlin exerts a tight rein upon his daughter. His concerns with the parents of a boy she likes cause a rift in the family.

In the midst of the investigation Devlin is called by former colleague, Caroline Williams, whose son, Peter, has disappeared while camping with friends on the coast. Devlin joins the search for Peter. A text from his phone buoys Williams. It turns out to be a cruel hoax.

Devlin pursues his investigation into Kielty’s death gradually penetrating into the drug dealing world along the border.

The Rising is led by vigilantes too comfortable with violence. Devlin finds it hard to believer their motives are pure.

Back home Devlin is adrift as he tries to understand the needs of an 11 year old girl. An area not touched upon often in crime fiction is the damage to relationships with children for police officer parents who spend excessive time pursuing crime.

The late Maxine Clark considered The Rising an excellent book. I agree the author is a good writer. The plot proceeds smoothly. The pages turn easily. I would not call it a great book. It is a comfortable book. While drugs and murder are not comfortable topics the story flows well. It was interesting to read of the challenges to para-military men reluctant to adjust to a new world of peace. Violence has been their way of life and solution to problems.


  1. Bill, I read McGilloway's first book a few years ago and it was enjoyable without being outstanding. I'll try and re-visit his work soon,

  2. Bill - As always, an excellent post. I like McGilloway's writing style too, so I'm glad you mentioned that. And you make a good point about how hard it is for people used to violence to adjust to a peacetime context. Glad you found the book enjoyable.

  3. col: Thanks for the comment. I consider your characterization of the first book as apt for The Rising.

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I had not thought about peace being difficult for the hard men of Ireland until I read the book.

  5. I need to beef up my reading of Irish crime fiction writers, be true to one-half of my heritage.

    And I've been drawn to this author for awhile but haven't read his books.

    Have you read any others? Is this where to start? Or should one begin earlier?

  6. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. It is the only book of McGilloway's I have read. I think it would be better to start earlier. There are enough unexplained connections with previous books to think it is better to go to the start or early in the series.