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The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
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The Ghosts of Belfast (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Stuart Neville

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4393223,979 (3.98)46
Member:kraaivrouw
Title:The Ghosts of Belfast
Authors:Stuart Neville
Info:Soho Crime (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library, 2012
Rating:*****
Tags:Stuart Neville, crime fiction, Belfast

Work details

The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville (2009)

  1. 00
    I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Same setting, same dark tone, same violence (and if you get it in audiobook, same narrator). McKinty's is a bit more "true to life" and Neville's a bit more, err, extreme, but otherwise, very similar novels.
  2. 00
    Divorcing Jack by Colin Bateman (VivienneR)
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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
The Ghosts of Belfast is a solid three star action book. There isn’t exactly a mystery or thriller attached although there is an interesting paranormal element that is unusual for a novel of this type and handled well.

The story is set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Troubles from the 70’s and 80’s have passed and a delicate peace has been established with a provisional government in place comprised of Republicans, Loyalists, Ulsterman and Brits. Many of the former IRA heavies are in the position of having to establish new lives and find new ways of living as well as dealing with their past.

One of these is Gerry Fegan. He was a hired killer for the IRA, spent a considerable amount of time in prison and is considered mad as he sits in the pub, drinking himself to death and speaking to people no one can see. Those unknown ghosts are the spirits of the people that Gerry had killed and they are directing him to kill those responsible for ordering their deaths.

The action expands from there as Gerry goes about tracking down and taking out each responsible party. As he does so, each ghost disappears and he is left with some measure of peace. There are detailed explanations about what happened in the original killings so one is never left wondering how these acts came to pass.

In a parallel story line, there are two agents that have been planted by the British government within the IRA. One is an attorney for what are now, politicians in the provisional government. The other has worked as a stand over man and hired killer. Their paths eventually intersect with Gerry’s to bring the whole book together.

There are some interesting concepts in the book. One is what happens to people who were once considered freedom fighters but who now have been redefined as domestic terrorists? Another is what happens to agents who have been left in place too long? What happens to people who fought for the cause and their families and other innocents were caught up in the conflict? Some of those died. Finally, do freedom fighters become organized crime and gangsters? Do they ever put down their guns?

It’s unusual to have those questions floating around in what is essentially an action novel. The end is wrapped up satisfactorily while leaving room for the author to write follow up stories incorporating some of the characters who are left standing. While not ultra-violent, there is a significant amount of graphic violence in the novel as well as a graphic dog fighting scene.

Action fans will enjoy this book. Those interested in politics will get something out of it too. This is Belfast post-Troubles so don’t look for Catholics and Protestants battling it out on the Falls Road. And there is a cameo of the Mull of Kintyre that will have you humming the song in your head. ( )
  ozzieslim | Feb 26, 2015 |
I wasn't sure if I'd like this book because of the violence, but somehow the author made the main character sympathetic despite his past. Really great writing...I could see the "ghosts" as I read the story. A haunting story. ( )
  NHNick | Jan 5, 2015 |
Very good - a fast paced thriller that didn't sacrifice character development in the process. It's labeled as #1 in the Jack Lennon series, but seems more of a prequel. Jack Lennon is a part of the lives of some of the characters, but is not featured in this book. ( )
  Ann_Louise | Sep 26, 2014 |
Violent and compelling. Makes me want to understand more about all sides of the conflicts in Northern Ireland--and it appears that there were as many sides as people to interpret them. ( )
  KRoan | Jul 25, 2014 |
This is one of the best debuts by an author I have ever read. As the reader you always feel as if you are right there with the narrator. I could not put this book down.
The book is about a former IRA foot solider and killer Gerry Fegan, who has served time in prison of some of his actions but who is haunted by the victims of those he killed. He realizes the only way to end this torture is to go after those who are responsible for him have killed these twelve people.
I can not recommend this book enough, it is fantastic!
P.S. Some scenes are rather gruesome. ( )
  zmagic69 | May 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
A crime novel that counts among the best brought out this calendar year... "The Ghosts of Belfast" would have been a superior effort had it been just about Fegan's struggle to assert his inner goodness in the face of larger evil, but its narrative power draws further strength from Neville's acute understanding of Northern Ireland's true state and how, in just a few short years, "the North had become the poor relation, the bastard child no one had the heart to send away."
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stuart Nevilleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doyle, GerardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gontermann, ArminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'The place that lacks its ghosts is a barren place' John Hewitt
Dedication
For Ellen Emerald Neville
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Maybe if he had one more drink they'd leave him alone.
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Published in the USA as The Ghosts of Belfast Published in the UK as The Twelve
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Former IRA killer Gerry Fegan finds himself haunted by the ghosts of twelve of his innocent victims and comes to the conclusion that he must kill the men who gave him his orders so many years ago.

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