Morton group journalist turns to crime

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DISAPPEARED, the debut crime thriller by Tyrone Times journalist Anthony Quinn, has been launched as a paperback and ebook by the celebrated New York-based publisher Mysterious Press.

The company, founded by Otto Penzler, who is known in the US as the ‘dean of crime fiction’ - combines classic crime and mystery novels from the likes of James Ellroy, Ken Bruen, Charles McGarry, and Ellery Queen with the best new crime writing on both sides of the Atlantic.

Penzler, one of the most respected experts, editors, booksellers, and publishers in the crime and mystery genre. described Disappeared as ‘a smart thriller’.

“First novels seldom show up as confident and mature as Anthony Quinn’s Disappeared”, he said.

“This novel of terror and a man seemingly brought back from the dead is an enthralling work of fiction by a powerful new voice.”

Reviewers in the US have already praised Disappeared for its ‘powerful mood-enhancing prose’; ‘its convincing tightly-plotted story’; its ‘lavish portrayal of Irish history’ and ‘the ratcheting up of tension as the yarn progresses’.

The thriller, set in the aftermath of the Troubles, is about the past coming back to haunt the present with particular urgency and drama.

Inspector Celsius Daly is called to a rural home in the lough-shore area, from which David Hughes, an elderly gent afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, has lately vanished.

Hughes’ sister and caretaker fears he has wandered off and into trouble. But as the inspector investigates, he discovers that Hughes isn’t the quiet country putterer he seems.

Instead, he’s part of a larger and much more complicated story connected to the long-ago slaying (by the Irish Republican Army) of an alleged political informer, Oliver Jordan, and the more recent torture murder of an ex-intelligence agent.

The fact that said agent placed his own obituary in a local newspaper, prior to his death, makes this whole affair particularly bizarre. Daly - a detective still wrestling with a recent separation from his wife and more capable at his job than at handling his personal life - adds further to the stakes in this mystery by inviting Jordan’s answers-seeking son into the case. It soon becomes apparent that the missing Hughes harbors secrets in his deteriorating mind that others don’t wish to see released

The questions that Daly pursues are those that puzzle the reader. Was Jordan killed because he was an informer or was he, as his widow insists, loyal to the IRA? What does Jordan’s son, Dermot, know about his father’s past? Why did Special Branch cover-up the details of Jordan’s disappearance? What is the significance of Devine’s collection of antique duck decoys, to which the story makes frequent reference? Are the ghosts that visit Hughes real or imagined?

“My starting point for writing Disappeared was the idea of a former spymaster suffering from Alzheimers”, said Anthony Quinn. “I wanted to use his illness and the deterioration of his mind as a symbol for how Northern Ireland was dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

“Silence and denial might have been good coping strategies during the Troubles, but in a time of peace, they are potentially dangerous, as some of the characters in Disappeared find out to their cost.

“The book is full of twists and turns which mirrors the murky and tortuous world of spies and informers.

“As one of the book’s reviewers has written: ‘Arson, murder, corruption in the police force and the IRA’s activities during The Troubles mingle together in a complex web of intrigue. The Troubles may be over officially, but old sins cast long shadows, and somebody has been a very, very big sinner…’”.

The paperback will be available in bookstores from September but can currently be ordered from Amazon and other on-line retailers.

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