Crime fiction: Loose ends, gothic twists and a missing twin

Reviews: Blood Ties, A Man Named Doll, Vera Kelly is not a Mystery, Mirrorland, Every Vow You Break

Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway has some extraordinary scenes between a son and his ailing father, rendered acutely and with great emotional intelligence.

Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway has some extraordinary scenes between a son and his ailing father, rendered acutely and with great emotional intelligence.

Halfway through Brian McGilloway’s marvellous new novel, Blood Ties (Constable, £13.99), Inspector Ben Devlin finds himself in the attic in the middle of the night. Devlin’s infirm father, who is staying with the family in anticipation of lockdown – the book’s action unfolds across the week leading up to March 14th, 2020 – has fallen out of bed, and Devlin is tasked with locating his son Shane’s old bed guard. 

Among the dismantled cots and boxes of toys and games are photographs, and Devlin is taken by them: the children as babies and toddlers, a dear departed dog, and Christmas pictures of his parents holding first their granddaughter Penny and then Shane. Devlin notes with shock how little they seemed to change between the two births, and how much has changed since: his mother’s death, his father’s illness. 

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