• Louise Mullins


A boy’s body is found in bogland: a case as cold as the earth that has hidden it for so long and an echo of Northern Ireland’s darkest hours.

DI Owen Sheen has sworn to get justice for the unnamed boy and digs up links to a covert British Army unit that was operating in the 1970s. But as fresh bodies start to litter the streets of Belfast, Sheen and DC Aoife McCusker, who is fighting to restore her professional reputation, must make the connection and stop a killer hellbent on revenge.

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I absolutely loved GARY DONNELLY'S debut, BLOOD WILL BE BORN so I was excited when his fabulous publisher Allison & Busby offered me a copy of his latest, the second in the DI OWEN SHEEN series, for review. And I've got to say it's just as good.

KILLING IN YOUR NAME begins with the discovery of a boy's body. The police don't know for how long he's been buried in the bog-land, or if he was murdered, and until they do they won't know who was responsible for the boy's death- that's if anyone is. What follows are leads linking the area where the boy was discovered to a secret unit of the British Army, and when they identify the boy it looks possible he was caught up in The Troubles.

What I love about Donnelly's writing is how he seamlessly blends everyday policing: murder, serial killers, corruption, and the adversities people face that lead them to commit crime or fall victim to it with relevant information linking Belfast's current climate to Irish history. I love Irish fiction and feel that I'm learning things about Ireland when I read his books. Things you can;t get a true sense of without a good story to weave it all together. Yes, this is fiction, but it's also true. This title can easily be read as a standalone as Donnelly adds snippets into the book to fill the reader in on what happened before, but I urge you to read the first if you haven't because it's brilliant in it's own right.

I love Aoife Mc Cusker. She's strong and ambitious and together with Sheen they make a cracking team. This is an action-packed and complex thriller with multiple killings, a good back story, and lots of relevant detail that keeps you turning the pages. I highly recommend this and Donnelly's first in the series, BLOOD WILL BE BORN. And I look forward to reading whatever else he has up his sleeve.

Gary Donnelly is a crime and thriller writer from Belfast who lives and works in London. BLOOD WILL BE BORN is the first in the DI Owen Sheen Belfast thriller series, published by Allison and Busby in February 2020 with the sequel, KILLING IN YOUR NAME, to follow in September 2020.The audiobook, published by Isis Publishing Ltd, is spoken by Irish actor Stephen Armstrong. Adrian McKinty, the award-winning author of The Chain, had this to say about the book: “A twisty, violent, cop thriller set in post-conflict Belfast... Brilliant. Gary Donnelly is an exciting new voice in Northern Irish noir.”

Gary attended a state comprehensive school in west Belfast, read History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and has lived and worked in London since the late 1990s. In his time he has been a Belfast cemetery manager, a business conference organiser in the City, a council gardener in Neasdon, and gained a further degree in Psychology, which he teaches in north London. Gary is married to the lovely Sacha and has two non-returnable children. He can cook up a storm and play a mean guitar (after a few drinks).

Gary has this to say about his writing: “I always wanted to write a novel and after I enrolled on a course at the City Lit two years ago, the initial outline of BLOOD WILL BE BORN emerged from one of the homework exercises. But the story has been incubating for much longer. I left Belfast 20 years ago but you see it never really left me. The course finished, and I kept writing; on my day off, weekends and while travelling into work. I took the first 3000 words to Crimefest 2016’s Pitch an Agent slot and some top-flight agents gave the sample and the synopsis and big thumbs up, which was very encouraging. Enough, in fact, to get up at 5am to write before work, and finish the first draft.”

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