Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.
In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.
Northern Ireland and The Troubles can never be forgotten it seemed in McGilloway’s The Last Crossing, but how long are you made to pay for those wrongs?
McGilloway’s three characters, Tony, Hugh and Kate thought the past was the past until summoned back to a wood in Scotland. The ferry crossing gave McGilloway the opportunity to unravel their story, one mired in politics, in history.
Tony, widower, retired teacher, Karen, mother of two, and Hugh, recently released from prison.
Thirty years ago they were young, touched by violence that had a devastating effect on their families and ripe for Hugh as he drew them into the fight against the British. He instinctively knew which buttons to press, how to slowly coerce, persuade until, in too deep they had no choice but to do as he said despite the consequences.
I admired McGilloway’s ability to probe their mindset, to exaggerate their vulnerabilities, to highlight the utter terror they lived under as the military took over their streets, as violence lurked behind every corner.
He made you question wether their involvement was right, would it make things better or did it merely stoke the flames, increase the reprisals, creatre more victims and more distraught families?
Fast forward thirty years on the ferry crossings, as they wandered back to that time, things never as they seemed, as each hid a secret, secrets that had a profound affect on the outcomes. It increased the tension you felt as you read, as McGilloway pulled you into a whirling mess of emotions, lies and recriminations.
As they approached their destination, you knew something was about to happen, and when it did , it was explosive. Truths were outed and the real Tony, Karen and Hugh emerged, the author making you question their motives, the rights and wrongs of their actions. He also made you realise just how far we have come from those harsh, violent times, yet it still lingered, the young pulled into its clutches, driven by, in my opinion, misappropriated glamour, and visions of a past long gone.
The Last Crossing was a thoughtful novel, that provoked opinion, yet still told a story that was both
I would like to thank The Dome Press for a copy of The Last Crossing to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
About the author
Brian McGilloway is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin and DS Lucy Black series.
He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English until 2013. He currently teaches in Holy Cross College, Strabane.
Brian’s work has been nominated for, and won, many awards, including Borderlands (shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger), Gallows Lane (shortlisted for both the 2009 Irish Book Awards / Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2010), and Little Girl Lost (winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award 2011).
In 2014, Brian won BBC NI’s Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors, an award which saw him become Writer In Residence with BBC NI.
Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife, daughter and three sons.