Monday, 6 November 2017

Book review : Alone With The Dead - James Nally

Donal Lynch is the ultimate antihero. The blurb on the back of the book describes him as "Irish runaway. Insomniac. Functioning alcoholic." He also has a convicted murderer for an ex-girlfriend and is terrorised by visions he had that night of the murder taking place even though he wasn't in the room - he still isn't sure if they were hallucinations brought on by sleep deprivation, if he is being haunted or if he has some kind of psychic gift. To make things even more complicated, he is a policeman, working the beat in London trying to forge himself a good reputation and earn himself a promotion, despite the spanners that everyone seems determined to throw into the works - his crime hack brother desperate for inside information and willing to sell out his brother to get a front page story; his ex, out on remand who waltzes back into his life; his boss, whose methods aren't always completely orthodox when it comes to nailing a prime suspect and who has no qualms about letting someone else (probably Donal) take the rap.

When Donal is called to the scene of a frenzied murder, he soon starts getting visitations from the murder victim. At first he is terrified, but he soon realises that she is trying to guide his investigation in the right direction - a direction that changes the focus and ultimately cracks the case. Despite the paranormal help (or subconscious help, depending on your viewpoint - Donal's therapist has a scientific explanation for it all), Donal still needs to use good old detective work to piece together the clues and solve the case. Author James Nally's experience as a crime reporter and TV researcher for documentaries focusing on criminals shines through, adding credibility and logic.It's a complex case that had me guessing right up until the end, and the backstory of Donal and his ex adds extra intrigue and suspense.

The end of the story left a few too many unanswered questions for my liking - Did his ex survive their final showdown? Has he blown his chances of staying in the police after slamming his boss's face on the table and insulting him? Can he ever forgive his brother? As there are two further novels in the PC Donal Lynch series, Dance With The Dead (published last year) and Games With The Dead (to be released on 28th December 2107), I guess that answers at least one of those questions !

Donal is an intriguing and multi-faceted character so I'd love to delve deeper into his psyche. I used to love watching the Medium series on TV, and the paranormal side of the story is very similar, so this also appeals to me. If I've piqued your interest, you may also like to know that this another of the £1 bargains that I picked up at The Works, so keep your eyes open !

star rating : 4/5

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; UK ed. edition (8 Oct. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008139504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008139506


  1. Sounds likes gripping read, I'd definitely want to read it from the blurb xXx

  2. Talk of multi-faceted indeed! There seems to be a trend now for police officers to be into all kinds of vice, having mental condition and all that. If I see it on offer, I'd buy it.


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