So Say The Fallen by Stuart Neville

In a week’s time on Monday October 3rd, First Monday Crime will be opening the doors of its new venue – Library  in St. Martin’s Lane, in Covent Garden. October’s panel will be SJ Watson, William Ryan, Antonia Hodgson and Stuart Neville.  If you would like to buy tickets (£5 per person) then click here

I was kindly given So Say The Fallen to review (thank you very much).

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Set in Northern Ireland, DCI Serena Flanagan is investigating the suspected suicide of a severely disabled man. Everything points to the man taking his own life – even the pathologist agrees. But something doesn’t quite add up for Serena, not least the close relationship between the grieving widow and the reverend of their local church. As DCI Flanagan scratches the surface, she finds even more tragedy. Flanagan feels compelled to take the case further but does so at the risk of her career and her family.

I’ve done my usual thing of reading books out of order. So Say The Fallen is the second book in the DCI Flanagan series with Those We Left Behind being the first. What I find so incredible is that this is only the second book. It felt as though it should be the third or even the fourth – that’s how well established DCI Serena Flanagan is as a character. Neville has put some back story in and it’s enough for the reader to grasp the amount of stress that Serena and her husband Alistair have been under. Their marriage is at breaking point and Flanagan has to make decisions about who comes first – her family or her job – sometimes with catastrophic consequences. And Neville writes a female narrator remarkably well, especially since Serena Flanagan has had breast cancer. The most moving part of the story for me was when Serena prays to a God she doesn’t believe in, in order to save her marriage.

But this isn’t just about Serena Flanagan’s life. At the heart of the novel is the death of Harry Garrick and, reminiscent of a Columbo episode, we the readers know more than DCI Flanagan at the start. Or at least we think we do. Stuart Neville, though, keeps enough back to keep us guessing until the end.

So Say The Fallen is a book that seems at odds with itself – a moving and profound exploration of faith versus a tightly written thriller. Yet Neville entwines them beautifully. I do hope there’s a book 3. DCI Serena Flanagan is a woman going places.

To buy So Say The Fallen then click here

And if you want to find out more about Stuart Neville then check out his website stuartneville.com

 

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