The Ghosts of Belfast
Fegan has been a “hard man,” an IRA killer in northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by twelve ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he’s going to have to kill the men who gave him orders.
As he’s working his way down the list he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too. Now he has given Fate—and his quarry—a hostage. Is this Fegan’s ultimate mistake?
Released in the UK under the title The Twelve.
“The best first novel I’ve read in years…It’s a flat-out terror trip.” —James Ellroy
“Not only one of the finest thriller debuts of the last ten years, but also one of the best Irish novels, in any genre, of recent times.” —John Connolly
“The Ghosts of Belfast is the book when the world finally sits up and goes WOW, the Irish really have taken over the world of crime writing. Stuart Neville is Ireland’s answer to Henning Mankell.” —Ken Bruen
“Sure to garner attention and stir lively pub discussions.” —Library Journal
“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
“Neville’s debut is as unrelenting as Fegan’s ghosts, pulling no punches as it describes the brutality of Ireland’s ‘troubles’ and the crime that has followed, as violent men find new outlets for their skills. Sharp prose places readers in this pitiless place and holds them there. Harsh and unrelenting crime fiction, masterfully done.” —Kirkus
“[Stuart] Neville has the talent to believably blend the tropes of the crime novel and those of a horror, in the process creating a page-turning thriller akin to a collaboration between John Connolly and Stephen King…[The Ghosts of Belfast] is a superb thriller, and one of the first great post-Troubles novels to emerge from Northern Ireland.” —Sunday Independent (Ireland)
Barnes and Noble
Just when you thought the invasion of excellent Irish crime writers—a group nicknamed Celtic Noir—had ended, along comes Stuart Neville with his first novel. Its central character, Gerry Fegan, is a former IRA “hard man,” a killer in Northern Ireland, now reduced by the coming of peace to a shambling drunk, haunted by the ghosts of 12 victims who follow him everywhere. In a Belfast bar, “Fegan looked at each of his companions in turn. Of the five soldiers, three were Brits and two were Ulster Defence Regiment. Another of the followers was a cop, his Royal Ulster Constabulary uniform neat and stiff, and two more were Loyalists, both Ulster Freedom Fighters. The remaining four were civilians who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He remembered doing all of them, but it was the civilians whose memories screamed the loudest…They’d been with him since his last weeks in the Maze prison, seven years ago…He told one of the prison psychologists about it. Dr. Brady said it was guilt…” The only way that Fegan can kill off his ghosts is by tracking down his IRA superiors who ordered their deaths. This he does with violent precision, one by one, until he is alone again. Along the way, Neville condenses the fear and hate that troubled Ireland for so long, at the same time creating a memorable character with ease and a cool, deceptively straightfoward writing style. —Dick Adler