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Stolen Souls (The Belfast Novels) Paperback – September 4, 2012

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Stolen Souls (The Belfast Novels) + Collusion (The Belfast Novels) + The Ghosts of Belfast (The Belfast Novels)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Belfast Novels (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616951680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616951689
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Author One-on-One: Stuart Neville and John Connolly

John Connolly: To what extent has the end of the Troubles, comparative or otherwise, freed you to write? Could versions of books like The Ghosts of Belfast or Collusion have been written while the Troubles were ongoing?

Stuart Neville: No, I definitely couldn't have written The Ghosts of Belfast twenty, fifteen or maybe even ten years ago. I've long argued that the best fiction, on page or screen, about any conflict doesn't come along until the conflict is over. We didn't get movies like The Deer Hunter and Full Metal Jacket until the Vietnam War was over, for example. In a more practical sense, Ghosts was more about the aftermath of conflict than the conflict itself, and what happens to those who fought when they're no longer needed by the men of power.

Connolly: Collusion was very much a sequel to the first book. Do you think that presented difficulties for readers new to your work?

Neville: Almost all of the comments I've heard have been positive, even for those people who read the books out of order. Collusion is, as you point out, a continuation of the first book, but people seem to be happy to take it on its own terms. I think it works because it's in part a mystery where the protagonist, Jack Lennon, has to figure out what went on in the first book, so if you've not read Ghosts, you follow the mystery with him.

Connolly: Did you perceive a difference in the way the books were received in Britain, Ireland and the U.S.?

Neville: Yes, to my surprise. I think the first book in particular was taken more seriously in the U.S., perhaps seen as a more literary thriller, whereas it was seen as more commercial in the U.K. and Ireland. I've been constantly surprised how universally well the first book was received within Ireland, across all sections of society. I had been expecting some flak from certain quarters because of the politics of it, but that never materialized to any significant extent.

Connolly: You've spoken of the new book in terms of a departure from what has gone before it. In what way does it differ from the earlier novels?

Neville: For Stolen Souls, I really wanted to take a step away from the heavier political aspects of the first two books and concentrate on writing a thriller whose only purpose was to scare the hell out of the reader. I wanted it to be fast, hitting hard from the first sentence and not letting up until the end, which I hope I've achieved.

Connolly: There were obviously elements of Collusion that took place outside Ireland. Do you feel in any way constrained by being regarded as a writer from Northern Ireland? Would you be tempted to look outside the province for plots and material?

Neville: I'll go wherever the story leads me. When I first started writing, I didn't want to write about Northern Ireland, and I especially didn't want to write about the Troubles, but then the idea for The Ghosts of Belfast presented itself, and that was that. My next book, Dweller on the Threshold, mostly takes place south of the border in the Republic of Ireland, which is a small change of location, but its action actually spans Europe because that's what the story demanded. I have plans for a future Jack Lennon novel which may have more international locations, but that won't be for a while yet.

Connolly: Do you feel that you and a handful of other writers from Northern Ireland are essentially creating a genre as you go, given the absence of models for Irish mystery fiction, and mystery fiction from Northern Ireland in particular?

Neville: Crime writers from anywhere other than London, LA or New York tend to get labels put on them, like Tartan Noir for the Scots and Emerald Noir for the Irish. I tried to coin the term Norn Noir for Northern Irish crime fiction, but it didn't stick. I don't really know if they qualify as genres, though. I guess there are stylistic tics that'll separate out writers from one place or another, but does that make it a genre unto itself? Colin Bateman was the trailblazer for Northern Irish crime fiction, but I don't think anyone who followed him has been able to ape his style. Rather, I think writers like Adrian McKinty have carved out their own styles.

Connolly: You're perhaps the best example of an author who used electronic publishing as a way into mainstream publishing. How did that come about? Does it give you a degree of comfort with the changes that are taking place in the industry, or are you concerned by them?

Neville: Technology moves so fast, I think I'm behind the curve already. Yes, it was through blogging and selling short stories to online zines that got my foot in the door. Here we are just three or four years later and everyone has moved on from blogging to Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, there seems to be a lot of fearmongering and panic in certain quarters, and a gold rush mentality in others. Me, I'm going to wait and see.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Stolen Souls is a nightmare story in the most noir place on earth, told by an exceptional talent. Crime fiction doesn't get much better than that."
Lee Child

“Top-notch Irish crime fiction ... one senses a diamond-hard stillness at the heart of Neville's prose, despite the hurtling plot. This leaves us poised between savoring the beauty of his words and reading madly to get to the end.”
Los Angeles Times

Stolen Souls offers harrowing, uncompromising suspense.”
Val McDermid
"Gripping, compassionate and packed with wonderfully realised characters, this is a book that will stay with you long after you finish it. Just three books in and Stuart Neville is already a crime-writing star."
Mark Billingham, author of Lazybones

"Stolen Souls is another winner from a man who's rapidly establishing himself as a top-notch thriller writer. Great stuff."
Simon Kernick

“You read Stolen Souls wincing, in thrall to Neville's brilliance but wishing you weren't.” —Guardian

“A no-frills thriller that barrels along at a ferocious pace.... Belfast looms large as a character in itself, its warren of streets simultaneously offering threat and the hope of salvation in a novel that explores not only the dark heart of the Irish sex trade but also the twisted motivations of the men who so brutally exploit women.”
Irish Times

“If you by chance have never read Stuart Neville’s Belfast Trilogy, it’s time to redeem yourself.”
Grift Magazine

“Neville excels at conjuring up memorable details.... A gripping excursion into the nightside of humanity, but it is not without its richness and insights. It burrows into your brain like the best dark fairy tales.”
Mystery Scene

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

This is my first Stuart Neville book and I am going back to read his other ones.
Susan Johnson
I love good mysteries, but it takes a really good one to keep me awake late at night because I don't want to put the book down and go to sleep.
N. Caruso
So, this is a very decent, well written book with a good plot and well-developed characters.
Sid Nuncius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in Belfast, a young woman from Lithuania named Gayla, is coerced into coming to Ireland for a chance at a better life. She thinks she'll be in a good home working as a nanny. Instead, she's sent to do hard labor at a farm and then sold into prostitution. When the people who run the group attempt to force her into prostitution and one of them is attempting to rape her, she manages to kill him in self defense.

Two men were in the home with the murdered man, Tomas Stazdas. They fear Tomas's brother so try to dump Tomas's body into a waterway, planning to drown Gayla there too. Gayla is a fighter and when the men aren't paying attention, she escapes.

Tomas's brother, Arturas is a sadistic gangster. When he informs his mother, in Lithuania about her youngest son, she demands that he kill any one associated with her son's death.

Gayla remembers a man who said he'd help her if she ever got away from her house of prostitution. She calls him and he meets and brings her to his home. He tells her that he is a Baptist minister but without a church.

Investigating the case is Det. Inspector Jack Lennon. Soon after being assigned to the case, he learns that there have been additional murders.

The author writes in a style reminiscent of fellow Irishman, John Connolly. In Connolly's "Every Dead Thing," revenge is the center of the novel as the protagonist searches for the killer of his child. In "Stolen Souls" revenge is also central to the story with Arturas's demand for revenge at all costs.

Stuart Neville uses description well and when things turn against Gayla again and again, we can almost feel as though we are in her shoes wondering if there is any reason to expect help.

Not for the squeamish, this is a story that is so dramatic that there are times when the reader needs a break from the action. I enjoyed the novel and feel that it demonstrates that the author is a master storyteller.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alla S. VINE VOICE on October 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Stolen Souls" by Stuart Neville follows Galya Petrova, a Ukrainian teenager brought to Belfast, Ireland under false pretenses and made to work as a call girl after working on a mushroom farm, as she murders her very first client--Tomas Strazdas, the brother of the man who runs the whole ring--and escapes from the two thugs assigned to guard her, before getting herself into yet more trouble.

Parallel to Galya's escape, we follow the story of Detective Inspector Jack Lennon, as he is assigned to investigate the murder of Tomas and the two thugs who chased after Galya, while living with his own demons. Lennon's wife Marie was killed in a house fire, and he is a single dad to little Ellen. As Lennon tries to solve Galya's case, he develops an interesting relationship with his neighbor Susan, though he hesitates to make it romantic.

Meanwhile, Galya contacts a man who claims he can help her--a mysterious man who calls himself Billy Crawford. As he drives Galya to his house, Galya starts to question herself for trusting him. Before long, she finds herself in an impossible situation.

My thoughts: Neville is an Irish author, and the writing reflects that. You feel like you're in Ireland. Jack Lennon, the lead character (alongside Galya), is a very multi-layered character. He is against human trafficking, yet had experience with call girls himself. He is lonely after becoming a widower, yet refuses the company offered to him by a woman who he admires. He wants to be a good father, yet frequently puts his safety on the line. Galya, the other lead character, is young, yet--considering her life experience--interestingly naïve. She listens to a man who lies--promising to hire her as a family nanny to teach English to little kids--only to wind up as a call girl.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book. It is the first of Stuart Neville's I have read and although there are references to what has gone before in Inspector Jack Lennon's history, it isn't necessary to have read the previous two.

It's a good story involving Eastern European gangs and people smuggling and an unexpected plot generated from this which I won't spoil. Neville creates very believable characters, he paces his story well and the dialogue in particular is excellently done. He generates a very powerful sense of place - the place being mainly the seedier bits of Belfast - and I found the whole thing very readable and involving.

There were some flaws. I do wonder why it is considered necessary for every fictional policeman or woman to have an Incredibly Complicated Personal Life and I did get a bit fed up with the rather cliché-ed tension over whether he would keep his promises to get home to his daughter. I could also have done without a paranormal element in which his young daughter dreamed about details of a case she knew nothing about, although luckily this didn't feature very large, and *two* arch-enemies for one policeman seems a little over the top. I didn't find the irritations too intrusive, though and, to his credit, Neville managed to subvert my expectations several times and I enjoyed being genuinely surprised.

So, this is a very decent, well written book with a good plot and well-developed characters. For some reason I can't quite put my finger on it reminded me slightly of the Rebus series, which is a very good thing, and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a gritty, thoughtful police-based thriller.
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