For college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson, a simple undercover errand becomes a deadly jaunt across Ireland in this edge-of-your-seat suspense novel from bestselling author Clare O'Donohue
It's an easy, twenty-minute job. At least, that's the pitch from Interpol to professors Hollis and Finn Larsson. Going undercover to procure a priceless rare book manuscript means an all-expenses paid trip abroad. A little danger thrown into the mix may even spice up their marriage.
Soon after landing in the Emerald Isle, they realize the job is anything but easy. Their contact is a no-show and they're left with fifty thousand euros, a death threat, and some serious questions. Ducking and dodging their way across Ireland, Hollis and Finn must hunt down the priceless manuscript and a missing agent while trying to stay one step ahead of a dangerous and unknown enemy.
"O'Donohue knows her Irish literature and countryside, and weaves them beautifully into an action-filled story."Sara Paretsky, author of the V.I. Warshawski series
"Plenty of thrills and hints at an exciting future for the reluctantly daring duo."Kirkus Reviews
"O'Donohue (the Someday Quilts series) supplies plenty of fun spy business, but the believability and chemistry of Hollis and Finn as a couple, as shown in their witty dialogue, is the main appeal."Publishers Weekly
"The relationship between Hollis and Finn is the hook in this smart debut. It's rare to find a contemporary mystery that makes the everyday challenge of honest communication between partners so compelling, but that's exactly the core of this entertaining mystery about a husband-wife team of crime solvers."Booklist
"Armchair travelers will delight in the colorful descriptions of Ireland, while mystery buffs who enjoy charming sleuths will appreciate the quick-witted couple"Library Journal
"Clare O'Donohue may have invented a new category of crime fictionthe amateur spy noveland I'm a big fan. At turns funny, real, and nail-biting, Beyond the Pale is a terrific read." Lori Rader-Day, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award-Winning author of The Black Hour , Little Pretty Things , and The Day I Died
"This is book one in the new World of Spies mystery series, and the author has created the perfect roller-coaster ride."Suspense Magazine
"A fast-paced thriller."King's River Life
About the Author
Clare O’Donohue is the author of the Kate Conway Mysteries and the Someday Quilts Mysteries. She was a producer for the HGTV show Simply Quilts , and has worked on shows for the History Channel, truTV, Food Network, A&E, Discovery, and TLC.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beyond the Pale by Clare O’Donohue is the first book in A World of Spies Mystery series. Hollis and Finn Larsson are professors at a local college who have been married for fifteen years. Hollis feels that Finn does not appreciate her and that their marriage is lacking (stale, dull, predictable). She has been trying to convince him to travel this summer without success (liven things up). Hollis is surprised when she hears from David Agnelli whom she trained at the Farm with many years ago. He needs her help in convincing Finn to do a job. They need Finn and his reputation (credentials) to obtain a rare manuscript in Ireland that could help save an agent. The job should last under twenty minutes and then they can enjoy a vacation in Ireland. The job, though, fails to go as expected. They show up at Byrnes Antiques, but their contact does not. Finn and Hollis have fifty thousand euros (courtesy of David) and a trail of mysterious people following them. They are not the only ones trying to obtain the manuscript. There are other dubious people after it, and they will do whatever it takes to get it. Hollis and Finn need to find the manuscript and the missing agent while staying ahead of their adversaries. Will they make it home alive? Beyond the Pale sounded like a great fast-paced mystery/suspense novel, and I enjoyed Claire O’Donohue’s A Someday Quilts Mystery series. After I finished Beyond the Pale, I wondered if it was the same author. The best part of the book is the beautiful descriptions of Ireland (the scenery, Trinity College, Book of Kells) and the Irish history. The one thing I kept wondering throughout the whole book was why had Hollis married Finn and why did she stay married to him. Finn is more interested in baseball and his adoring fans than Hollis. The pair seem to have nothing in common. I never felt any passion or emotion between them. I never got into Beyond the Pale. The book starts off with Hollis whining about her marriage (not a good start). She wanted them to travel during the summer and he had already agreed to teach. I thought Hollis should plan her trip and go. I have a feeling Finn would never have noticed she left. Hollis’ backstory seemed slightly farfetched (unbelievable). She finished college and trains for the CIA. She is top of her class, but she gives it up for the love of her life (is anyone buying this) and teaches at a small-town college. I can understand Finn being at a small-town college. It makes him a big fish in a small pond (he likes attention, accolades, and admirers). You knew the mission to Ireland would go sideways, but there seemed to be a bad guy everywhere they turned (who knew them, their names and what they were after). I found the pacing in Beyond the Pale to be slow which made the book seem so very long (360 pages). There were some good elements in the story, but it failed to come together. Identifying the bad guy was child’s play. I kept thinking the author would throw a twist in at the end because the solution could not be that simple. Unfortunately, there was not surprise ending. I am giving Beyond the Pale 2 out of 5 stars. While Beyond the Pale was not for me, I suggest obtaining a sample to see if the story appeals to you.
This mystery novel set in Ireland was totally engrossing - The characters and the unique mystery made for a book I could not put down. Modern technology played a prominent place in the story despite the fact that much of the time internet and occasionally even cell phones were useless, and it was entertaining to learn how the adage 'beyond the pale', which I have heard all my 70 years and even used occasionally, came about. The mystery took us across Ireland from Dublin to the Islands of Aran and the descriptions were spectacular. I enjoyed professors Hollis and Finn and their shortcut wordless conversations after many years of marriage. I also very much recognized their way of passing the decision back and forth so no one had to be held responsible if the project fell apart before completion. I was very much surprised at the final resolution. This was an excellent who-done-it that I can happily recommend to friends and family. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Clare O'Donohue, and Midnight Ink Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
Clare O'Donohue has written several mystery series. I was familiar with her quilting mysteries which I enjoyed. I was excited to see that the author had written something in a new series and that it was set in Ireland. The descriptions of places in the Emerald Isle did not disappoint. I also enjoyed watching the relationship between Finn and Hollis evolve, each has a distinct approach to life at the start of the novel. Anyone who has been married or in a relationship will be able to relate. The mystery itself was a bit too based on chases for me. In that way, I think that perhaps the book could have been more tightly written. Nonetheless, a good read.
Hollis and Finn have entered the dull and boring stale of their marriage. They are both professors and while Hollis yearns for adventure, some spark, something energizing, her husband Finn seems to be stuck at the start. Then an old flame, David, now an erstwhile agent working for Interpol, who met Hollis while they were both training to be CIA agent, entices her to get her husband on board to accompany her to Ireland where they will get their hands on the manuscript written by an old Irish playwright, Brendan Behan. The agent, David, proclaims that this should be a quick nothing of a job. First Hollis needs to persuade her husband to verify an old manuscript which is actually a fake. However, it contains information which if gotten into the wrong hands endangers a man's life. Hollis cons her husband into accepting this what is termed a twenty minute job and the couple head off to Ireland all expense paid of course, where an adventure they never dreamed of ensues threatening both their lives. As they race around Ireland trying to find the fake and well hidden manuscript the spies and players in this international game they are engaged in, take risks, chances, and of course threaten the lives of our new and inexperienced agents, Hollis and Finn. This book while possessing a cute and sassy interplay between Hollis and Finn did not work as well as I wanted it to. It had all the makings of a fine book, with its atmosphere, its daring do, and likeable protagonists, but I had somewhat of a time following the interplay between the supporting characters. Thank you to Clare O'Donohue, the Publishers, and NetGalley for allowing me a copy of this book. You can follow me and my reviews on my newly created blog https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...