by Stuart Neville
Harvill Secker (e-book)
Something wicked is bubbling up in Irish crime writing, on both sides of the border. Belfast author Stuart Neville is one of the brightest new stars: his first two novels starring Detective Jack Lennon, Collusion and The Twelve, were authentic, scary and addictive. Stolen Souls will only enhance his burgeoning reputation. Our heroine is Gayla. As the action starts, we know it is cold (Christmas is coming), Gayla is barefoot and she is running from some very bad people indeed. Like so many others, she has been lured from Ukraine with the promise of work and a better life. But landing in Belfast, she finds only entrapment and exploitation - working on a mushroom farm. She runs for her life, seeking the one mysterious person who offers her hope: her only clues are a cross and a phone number. Jack Lennon faces two challenges: on the one hand, he is dreaming of a quiet Christmas with his young daughter; on the other, he faces an escalating gang war between East Europeans. Although less political than Neville's first two books, the three plots converge spectacularly. Roll on episode four.