They’re all dead.
It’s my fault
I killed them…’
Who Took Eden Mulligan?
[ About the Book ]
‘They’re dead. They’re all dead.
It’s my fault. I killed them…’
Those are the words of Iona Gardener, who stands bloodied and staring as she confesses to the murder of four people in a run-down cottage outside of Belfast.
Outside the cottage, five old dolls are hanging from a tree. Inside the cottage, the words “WHO TOOK EDEN MULLIGAN?” are graffitied on the wall, connecting the murder scene with the famous cold case of Eden Mulligan, a mother-of-five who went missing during The Troubles.
But this case is different. Right from the start.
Because no one in the community is willing to tell the truth, and the only thing DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey can be certain of is that Iona Gardener’s confession is false….
[ My Review ]
Who Took Eden Mulligan? by Sharon Dempsey will be published February 18th with Avon Books. It is described as ‘a creepy, gritty and very compelling crime novel, perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons and Jane Casey‘ and is the first in a new crime series set in Belfast.
DI Danny Stowe has a reputation that he needs to rebuild following a case where he crossed the line. Now situated in the basement office in the Historical Enquiries Unit, Danny Stowe is just about hanging onto his job. He gets an unexpected call to lead a new murder investigation that appears to have a connection to an historical case involving mother-of-five, Eden Mulligan, who went missing during the Troubles in 1986. Eden Mulligan’s disappearance was inadequately handled at the time and her children suffered accordingly, never knowing the truth behind the sudden loss of their mother. Now someone has viciously murdered a number of young friends in their rented accommodation at a remote house outside Belfast. The scene is a frenzied bloodbath with one victim found barely alive. News of the murder scene was brought to the attention of the local police by the arrival into the station of a young woman, Iona Gardener, hysterical, covered in blood claiming that, because of her, they were all dead. She had killed them and it was her fault. At the scene the words ‘Who Took Eden Mulligan’ are painted on an inside wall. What is the connection and who is Iona Gardener?
London based forensic psychologist Rose Lainey is back in Belfast for personal reasons. Having left Belfast years ago Rose made the decision to leave her past behind her. Rose had a very dysfunctional childhood having experienced The Troubles first hand. The violence, the fear, the hatred was all too much for Rose. She wanted out, wanted to create a new persona and be someone that was stronger, someone who could rise above the violence of her childhood and become her own person. A determined and committed student Rose made sure that she remained focused through her college years, as success was her only objective. During that time she met fellow student, Danny Stowe. Both being from the North led to an immediate connection and a strong friendship that remained true for years yet, Rose never let Danny into her past. As far as Rose was concerned that was all part of a different life.
Rose drops by the station to catch up with Danny unaware that a major murder investigation is unfurling. At seeing Rose, Danny persuades her to take a peek at the case and, with much persuasion and a chat with her superiors in the UK, Rose joins the Belfast team on secondment to help them with this seemingly very sinister investigation. Rose is unsettled in her life in the UK. She has had plenty of the anonymity she craved, but having been reacquainted with Danny and, seeing the many changes that peace has brought to the streets of Belfast, Rose is intrigued to give it a chance for a few weeks. This timeout also gives her the opportunity to deal with a few of her own very personal demons.
As Danny and Rose start to delve into the case, they are soon frustrated by the silences they meet on many fronts. What really happened to Eden Mulligan? Why was the case so shabbily handled at the time? Five grotesquely deformed dolls are found hanging in the garden of the murder scene. Are these representative of the five friends who were living in the house?
Who Took Eden Mulligan? is the first book in this new series and it is very much setting the scene for DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist, Rose Lainey. Although the murder investigation is central to the story, the back story of both Danny and Rose is very much to the forefront. For anyone with little knowledge of the history of Northern Ireland be prepared to go down a few rabbit holes of your own, as you explore further some of the online research of those years of terror. Sharon Dempsey is obviously very familiar with The Troubles and her knowledge of both location and people is very evident when reading this novel.
Danny and Rose have a great partnership, both bringing something different to the job and there is most definitely that will-they-won’t-they angle to their relationship going forward. I can most definitely see how this book would be perfect for all fans of Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series. I did find the ending just a little bit rushed but, other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Danny and Rose and am very intrigued as to where Sharon Dempsey will take them next. The stage is set, the players are ready…..
Who Took Eden Mulligan? is a very absorbing read with quite a complex storyline as Danny and Rose attempt to connect all the threads. With some great characters depicted throughout the reader is given a very real sense of time and place. Who Took Eden Mulligan? is a haunting and engaging tale, a great start to a new series.
[ Bio ]
Sharon Dempsey is a crime writer and a PhD candidate at Queen’s University. She was a journalist and health writer, working for a variety of publications including the Irish Times, before turning to crime fiction. Her crime debut, Little Bird, was released July 2017. She facilitates creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges and tutors at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. ‘Who Took Eden Mulligan?’ is the first in a new crime series set in Belfast.
Twitter ~ @svjdempz