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Collusion (Jack Lennon, Book 2) Hardcover – October 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sectarian hatreds and an assassin’s quest for absolution were at the heart of Neville’s brilliant debut, The Ghosts of Belfast (2009). In this riveting sequel, collusion, dating back decades between and among Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries, the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s Special Branch, Britain’s MI5, and British Army Intelligence, is the cornerstone. Ulster police detective Jack Lennon is caught in the middle of the sectarian hatred and the psychopathic desire for revenge that live on in Belfast, even in peacetime. Fearing for their lives, Jack’s daughter, six-year-old Ellen, and her mother, Jack’s former lover, have disappeared. Lennon’s superiors tell him to stop searching for his daughter, but Ellen is all he has in the world. Her trail leads him to the collusion that helps fan the flames of hatred in Northern Ireland. Lennon goes rogue in order to protect Ellen and her mother, and he forms an edgy alliance with the terrifying IRA assassin Gerry Fegan, the main character in The Ghosts of Belfast. Neville’s deft style builds mounting tension, and his characters, all tragic figures, are skillfully developed. The collusion he describes sounds all too plausible; it’s devious and endemic enough to impress even descendants of the infamous Borgias. The violence, administered up close and personal—and the rage of those who commit it—is almost operatic. A feast for thriller fans. --Thomas Gaughan


Praise for Stuart Neville:
“Neville’s novel is a coldly lucid assessment of the fragility of the Irish peace … a rare example of legitimate noir fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Stuart Neville belongs to a younger generation of writers for whom the region's darkest years are history—but that history endures, as his first novel, 'The Ghosts of Belfast,' shockingly demonstrates.… This noir thriller plays out in a Belfast that, even in summer sunshine, remains oppressively gray. The clannishness of its inhabitants is vividly evoked.... A riot scene, one of the novel's best, captures a new generation's appetite for blood and an old veteran's nostalgia…. In scene after gruesome scene, Neville attempts to persuade us that this time around, with this repentant murderer, the killing is different.”—Washington Post
“Neville's tightly wound, emotionally resonant account of an ex-IRA hit man's struggle to conquer his past, displays an acute understanding of the true state of Northern Ireland, still under the thumb of decades of violence and terrorism.”—Los Angeles Times
“Stuart Neville is Ireland’s answer to Henning Mankell.”—Ken Bruen
The Ghosts of Belfast is a tale of revenge and reconciliation shrouded in a bloody original crime thriller…. Brilliant.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Neville’s debut novel is tragic, violent, exciting, plausible, and compelling.… The Ghosts of Belfast is dark, powerful, insightful, and hard to put down.”—Booklist


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569478554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569478554
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stuart Neville's debut novel, THE TWELVE (published in the USA as THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST), won the Mystery/Thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was picked as one of the top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA Times. He has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Barry, Macavity, Dilys awards, as well as the Irish Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year. He has since published three critically acclaimed sequels, COLLUSION, STOLEN SOULS and THE FINAL SILENCE.

His first four novels have each been longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and RATLINES was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.

Stuart's novels have been translated into various languages, including German, Japanese, Polish, Swedish, Greek and more. The French edition of The Ghosts of Belfast, Les Fantômes de Belfast, won Le Prix Mystère de la Critique du Meilleur Roman Étranger and Grand Prix du Roman Noir Étranger.

His fourth novel, RATLINES, about Nazis harboured by the Irish state following WWII is currently in development for television.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This sequel to "The Ghosts of Belfast" takes its time. Jack Lennon's character's expanded and although not quite likable, his predicament softens you to him. In Irish noir fashion, he's caught between who he should trust in a place where nobody's secrets stay so. He's from a Catholic family who's rejected him after he joined what was, fifteen years ago, an overwhelmingly Protestant Northern police force. Jack sought to do his share to heal a community who trusted the cops less than the thugs and paramilitaries who controlled the streets with their own clumsy and cynical justice, and the injustice that set up Jack's brother, Liam, as the informer he was not.

Jack struggles now, after the bloody events of the first novel continue as witnesses to its considerable slaughter (even by Troubles thrillers standards) are killed off. At 37, he's still trawling the pubs in search of companionship. "He wasn't quite old enough to be anyone's father, but maybe a creepy uncle." His years in the tangled loyalties and betrayals of Northern Irish hatreds, after the uneasy peace, rankle him. "Some say that when you're on your deathbed, it'd be the things you didn't do that you'd regret. Lennon knew that was a lie."

Resented by his colleagues, he's alone in a gentrifying city: "Belfast was starting to grate on him, with its red-brick houses and cars parked on top of one another. And the people, all smug and smiling now they'd gathered the wit to quit killing each other and start making money instead." Similar to Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor (see my reviews) series set in Galway today, Neville's Jack must deal with an Ireland eager to leave his sort behind in a rush for greed.

Detective Inspector Lennon still must do what he feels right, despite official opposition.
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Format: Hardcover
Set in Belfast and focused on the long-term conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, and among official agencies in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, this complex and violent noir thriller shows all the rivalries involving many departments of the police, the British Army, the SAS (Special Air Service), MI5 (one of the UK's Military Intelligence services), the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force, a paramilitary group) , the UDA (the Ulster Defense Association, another Loyalist force), and various Catholic paramilitary forces. Jack Lennon, a Catholic who has accepted the outreach of the RUC (the Royal Ulster Constabulary) and has become a member, tries to stay on the straight and narrow in a corrupt environment in which everyone compromises on the truth.

The novel opens with a vividly described assassination told from the point of view of three shady victims as they realize they are about to die. When Lennon tries to investigate this crime, he is repeatedly warned off by higher-ups. Two sadistic assassins-The Traveler, a gypsy hired by godfather Bull O'Kane's family, and Gerry Fegan, an assassin now living in New York City, who has been working for the McKenna family-are hired to deal with those families' different agendas, and they soon find themselves stalking each other, even as many different law enforcement agencies are stalking them.

At the heart of the novel is Marie McKenna, a criminal capo's daughter who is also Lennon's former lover and the mother of his child. She has been in hiding, and her life and that of her daughter are still in danger. Orla O'Kane, daughter of rival godfather Bull O'Kane has taken over for her father, the victim of a stroke.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Denis J Sullivan on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What Stuart Neville gave us in "Ghosts of Belfast," he destroys in "Collusion." What he taught us in Ghosts, he attempts to ignore in Collusion.

In Ghosts, we learned to despise Jack Lennon (without really thinking much of or about him). We felt for and grew to understand and appreciate the dilemma facing Gerry Fegan (okay, some of us actually loved him!). We wished he could fall in love with Marie McKenna, but knew his role was simply to protect her daughter. And as the book ended, we begged for more.

Unfortunately, we got more. In Collusion, Stuart Neville destroys Gerry and seeks to exonerate and reinvent Jack Lennon. We didn't know this, at the start, but very quickly it becomes apparent what the author is about to do. The author's motives are clear from the subtitle of the book itself: "A Jack Lennon Investigation"! So just like that, and regardless of who the real hero is to Neville's readers (that would be Fegan), the author seeks to raise from the ashes of his cowardly past a new hero, and asks us to love him - after all, he is such a doting father (in the making). Neville had a successful hero in Fegan, but simply figured out a *better* hero would be a cop in Northern Ireland. Okay, he's the author. He can do that. I just won't be reading any more. And the author did his best to make sure that Fegan won't be appearing in any more books ...

my final problem (and a bigger one) is how Neville left his successful writing behind him (that of "Ghosts") and chose instead to throw out thoughtful plot-filled writing, with human stories we can relate to and with characters we can care about (and others we can hope receive "justice").
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