If I Never See You Again

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If I Never See You Again by Niamh O'Connor, book reviewSet in recession hit Dublin, this first novel in a planned new series introduces Detective Inspector Jo Birmingham. She is having a bit of a tough time. Her marriage has broken up, and it doesn’t help that her ex is her boss and is living with his secretary. Her teenage son Rory is worrying her, and she has a young baby too. She is desperate for a chance to prove herself at work. When a murder investigation comes up she asks to lead on it.

At the start of the story I was a bit taken aback by the number of personal problems experienced by the characters – Jo’s colleague Gavin Sexton’s wife committed suicide 18 months ago, and there’s a local crime reporter whose daughter has been abducted and abused, and is still too traumatised by the experience to speak about it. It all seemed rather too much for one novel. The crime plot also seemed a bit sensational for my tastes – a serial killer with an interest in Biblical symbolism.

However, I quickly found myself drawn into the story and anxious to read on to find out what would happen next. Jo is a great character for a crime series, spiky and ambitious, all too aware of the sexism and other prejudices which have affected her career, sometimes too impulsive and reckless. Single mother detectives are rare in crime fiction, and I enjoyed the portrait of her domestic life as a contrast to work (though I wasn’t quite sure why she was giving a one year old formula milk or about the way she was preparing it!) She has a passion for finding out the truth and compassion for the families of victims which is not shared by some of her colleagues, who think that the victims are just more dead hookers.

I also enjoyed the interactions between Jo and other characters in the novel – there is ex-husband Dan who hints that he regrets the affair with his secretary and the break up (but if so, why has he moved in with Jeannie?). Then there’s her moody teenage son Rory, colleagues Sexton and the boorish, chauvinistic and contemptuous Mac.

With memorable characters and a page turning story, I’m looking forward to the next in the series (due out in May this year).

If I Never See You Again by Niamh O’Connor
Published by Transworld, Jan 2011
Thank you to Transworld for sending me this book to review as part of their Great Crime Caper challenge.


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If I Never See You Again
by Niamh O'Connor

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Written by elkiedee
elkiedee

My name is Luci and I live in North London with Mike and our two little boys - Danny is 4 and Conor is 2. I'm trying very hard to bring up two little bookworms, with some success so far. I work full time and at weekends the little monsters like to hang out in the park, but otherwise I spend every spare minute reading and talking about books online. I read a variety of books but particularly like crime fiction, literary novels and short stories, women's writing, biographies and memoirs, and social history. My many many favourite authors include Barbara Comyns, Anne Tyler, Katherine Mansfield, Toni Cade Bambara, Diana Wynne Jones, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, John Harvey and George Pelecanos.

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