The Ghosts of Belfast

The Ghosts of Belfast

by Stuart Neville, Gerard Doyle

Audiobook(MP3 on CD - Unabridged)

$9.99 View All Available Formats & Editions


Fegan has been a "hard man"—an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders.

As he's working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too. Now he has given Fate—and his quarry—a hostage. Is this Fegan's ultimate mistake?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781522635147
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 05/31/2016
Series: Belfast Novels Series , #1
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Stuart Neville is the author of five other books: Ratlines, shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller; Collusion, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Stolen Souls, which The Guardian said “confirms him as the king of Belfast noir”; The Final Silence, nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel; and Those We Left Behind. He lives outside Belfast.

Read an Excerpt

The Ghosts of Belfast

By Stuart Neville

Soho Press, Inc.

Copyright © 2009 Stuart Neville
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-56947-600-0

Chapter One

Maybe if he had one more drink they'd leave him alone. Gerry Fegan told himself that lie before every swallow. He chased the whiskey's burn with a cool black mouthful of Guinness and placed the glass back on the table. Look up and they'll be gone, he thought.

No. They were still there, still staring. Twelve of them if he counted the baby in its mother's arms.

He was good and drunk now. When his stomach couldn't hold any more he would let Tom the barman show him to the door, and the twelve would follow Fegan through the streets of Belfast, into his house, up his stairs, and into his bedroom. If he was lucky, and drunk enough, he might pass out before their screaming got too loud to bear. That was the only time they made a sound, when he was alone and on the edge of sleep. When the baby started crying, that was the worst of it.

Fegan raised the empty glass to get Tom's attention.

"Haven't you had enough, Gerry?" Tom asked. "Is it not home time yet? Everyone's gone."

"One more," Fegan said, trying not to slur. He knew Tom would not refuse. Fegan was still a respected man in West Belfast, despite the drink.

Sure enough, Tom sighed and raised a glass to the optic. He brought the whiskey over and counted change from the stained tabletop. The gummy film of old beer and grime sucked at his shoes as he walked away.

Fegan held the glass up and made a toast to his twelve companions. One of the five soldiers among them smiled and nodded in return. The rest just stared.

"Fuck you," Fegan said. "Fuck the lot of you."

None of the twelve reacted, but Tom looked back over his shoulder. He shook his head and continued walking to the bar.

Fegan looked at each of his companions in turn. Of the five soldiers three were Brits and two were Ulster Defence Regiment. Another of the followers was a cop, his Royal Ulster Constabulary uniform neat and stiff, and two more were Loyalists, both Ulster Freedom Fighters. The remaining four were civilians who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He remembered doing all of them, but it was the civilians whose memories screamed the loudest.

There was the butcher with his round face and bloody apron. Fegan had dropped the package in his shop and held the door for the woman and her baby as she wheeled the pram in. They'd smiled at each other. He'd felt the heat of the blast as he jumped into the already moving car, the blast that should have come five minutes after they'd cleared the place.

The other was the boy. Fegan still remembered the look in his eyes when he saw the pistol. Now the boy sat across the table, those same eyes boring into him.

Fegan couldn't hold his gaze, so he turned his eyes downward. Tears pooled on the tabletop. He brought his fingers to the hollows of his face and realised he'd been weeping.

"Jesus," he said.

He wiped the table with his sleeve and sniffed back the tears. The pub's stale air clung to the back of his throat, as thick as the dun-colored paint on the walls. He scolded himself. He neither needed nor deserved pity, least of all his own. Weaker men than him could live with what they'd done. He could do the same.

A hand on his shoulder startled him.

"Time you were going, Gerry," Michael McKenna said.

Tom slipped into the storeroom behind the bar. McKenna paid him to be discreet, to see and hear nothing.

Fegan knew the politician would come looking for him. He was smartly dressed in a jacket and trousers, and his fine-framed designer glasses gave him the appearance of an educated man. A far cry from the teenager Fegan had run the streets with thirty years ago. Wealth looked good on him.

"I'm just finishing," Fegan said.

"Well, drink up and I'll run you home." McKenna smiled down at him, his teeth white and even. He'd had them fixed so he could look presentable for the cameras. The party leadership had insisted on it before they gave him the nomination for his seat in the Assembly. At one time, not so long past, it had been against party policy to take a seat at Stormont. But times change, even if people don't.

"I'll walk," Fegan said. "It's only a couple of minutes."

"It's no trouble," McKenna said. "Besides, I wanted a word."

Fegan nodded and took another mouthful of stout. He held it on his tongue when he noticed the boy had risen from his place on the other side of the table. It took a moment to find him, shirtless and skinny as the day he died, creeping up behind McKenna.

The boy pointed at the politician's head. He mimed firing, his hand thrown upwards by the recoil. His mouth made a plosive movement, but no sound came.

Fegan swallowed the Guinness and stared at the boy. Something stirred in his mind, one memory trying to find another. The chill at his center pulsed with his heartbeat.

"Do you remember that kid?" he asked.

"Don't, Gerry." McKenna's voice carried a warning.

"I met his mother today. I was in the graveyard and she came up to me."

"I know you did," McKenna said, taking the glass from Fegan's fingers.

"She said she knew who I was. What I'd done. She said-"

"Gerry, I don't want to know what she said. I'm more curious about what you said to her. That's what we need to talk about. But not here." McKenna squeezed Fegan's shoulder. "Come on, now."

"He hadn't done anything. Not really. He didn't tell the cops anything they didn't know already. He didn't deserve that. Jesus, he was seventeen. We didn't have to-"


Excerpted from The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville Copyright © 2009 by Stuart Neville. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Ghosts of Belfast 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 141 reviews.
AllPurposeMonkey More than 1 year ago
"All I wanted was some peace. I just wanted to sleep." - Gerry Fegan Set in Belfast in the aftermath of Northern Ireland's Troubles, The Ghosts of Belfast introduces us to ex-con Gerry Fegan. Treated by the locals as a hero for his activities as a "hard man" during the Troubles, activities that got him sent to prison for twelve years, Fegan just wants to leave his past in the past and live out his life in peace. That, unfortunately, isn't going to happen. The guilt of his own conscience weighs heavily enough upon him, but that is not the only burden Fegan has to bear. Shortly before his release from prison Fegan began getting visits. Not from friends or family, but from the ghosts of the twelve people he killed during the Troubles. Sometimes only one or two at a time, other times all twelve at once, when we meet Fegan it has been seven long years since his "followers," as he calls them, first came calling. Tormented to the very edge of sanity, Fegan barely manages to do more each day than wander down to the pub, get drunk, go home and pass out, then get up and do it all over again. One night a friend Fegan used to run with before his time in prison comes to visit him in the pub. Now a smooth talking politician, Fegan's friend, McKenna, was once one of the men Fegan took orders from during the Troubles. Orders that led to deaths including one of Fegan's followers, the one he calls "The Boy." As The Boy circles McKenna in the pub, miming putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger, Fegan comes to believe that what his followers want - no, demand - is justice. The followers want him to put to death those responsible for ordering theirs. Ignoring the potential consequences of killing a politician crucial to the fledgling peace process, not to mention one still very much "connected," Fegan tests his theory by killing McKenna. Sure enough, The Boy disappears. And with that, all in the first fifteen pages, we are off and running. One down, eleven to go. As Fegan systematically seeks to balance the scales, and hopefully save his sanity, the reader is given glimpses back in time to the circumstances under which each of his followers was killed. It's not pretty, as author Stuart Neville provides graphic descriptions of Fegan's past brutality as a hard man. And yet, one never gets the feeling that the depictions of violence are being used gratuitously. Rather, they are necessary to illustrate the events which gave birth to Fegan's extreme guilt, and which justify in his mind the extreme measures he's willing to take to rid himself of that guilt... and of his followers. Part noir, part ghost story, The Ghosts of Belfast is unflinchingly brutal, completely original, and absolutely brilliant. Stuart Neville has most definitely announced his presence with authority.
BostonRick More than 1 year ago
This first novel is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat read. Neville melds an original concept and a riveting plot to create a top-notch thriller. "The Ghosts of Belfast" is one of those rare books that I truly "missed" when I had finished reading it.
HistoryHunter12 More than 1 year ago
I loved the writers style and flow of the story its a brutal story with many twist and turns it will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters are all very colorful people with shady back rounds that came from their struggle for freedom. I was amazed at the level of violence and the brutal tactics of torture used to maintain absolute allegence to their cause yet they still where infiltrated with touts constantly. This book would be a great block buster movie!!!!
rnoncology More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this book on B&N and intrigued, read it. I was NOT disappointed. Wow. The story was great, the characters very interesting. I would love to hear more about the main character. He seemed to deserve a better life at the end. The writing really made you see Belfast and Ireland. Hopefully we can expect many more books from this author.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Gerry Fegan believed in the cause of freeing Northern Ireland from the British. He was a soldier who did the assigned tasks willing to die for his belief and committed atrocities against adversaries. He felt no remorse when he killed a civilian as collateral damage is the norm in warfare especially urban guerilla warfare. He was able to ignore the greed of his superior officers as long as the cause was just especially with whiskey. However Gerry is not an ordinary soldier as he has always been able to communicate with the dead. While believing in the cause, he could keep the spirits of those he killed in the shadows, but no more. The Good Friday Agreement leaves Gerry free in Belfast living under British Rule and wondering why he believed. Those he followed in combat and went to prison for now serve in Parliament; while they are fat, dumb and wealthy, Fegan feels the guilt of the twelve innocent people he killed; their ghosts demand he do what those fat cats trained him to do: kill his former allies. This is a great haunting war story whether one agreed with the IRA or not as THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST could easily have been the ghosts of Saigon or even Baghdad, as the soldier's psyche depends critically on the cause. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action as Gerry begins his new mission while his former friends send an agent to stop him. Readers will appreciate this thought provoking thriller that will have the audience pondering the prime underlying cause and the short and long term effects. Harriet Klausner
sharno22 More than 1 year ago
Truly the best book I've read in a long time. A gripping story which will grab your attention and not let it go. I'm so glad to see this is the first in a series. Can't wait to read the next one.
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
Also published under the title 'The Twelve' This novel is a stunning debut thriller; tension-filled from start to finish telling the fictional story of Gerry Fegan, a former IRA assassin who is haunted by ghosts of his twelve victims. I was grabbed from the first pages and I couldn't read fast enough to see the outcome. The tale begins with the central protagonist, Gerry Fegan, driven to the brink of insanity, haunted and tormented day and night by the terrible memories of the twelve people he killed. Since his release from Maze Prison, he spends his waking moments in a state of inebriation in an attempt to seek refuge from the visions and guilt that continually haunt him. One day through a vision, he sees a possible way out, eliminate the people who contracted these murders and hopefully banished the ghosts of guilt forever and lead a normal life. One by one, Fegan seeks out the master minds and makes them pay for their misguided decisions, a life for a life, gradually clearing the burden hanging heavy over his shoulders. This novel is full of energy creating an escalating sense of tension as you go deeper into it. The author has created a harsh and unrelenting story that dabs into the political and religious landscape of today's Ireland and the fragility of its peace accord. The prose is sharp and emotional. ' Ghosts of Belfast' is a mystery novel with a different spin, brilliantly done and brims with its strong characterization. We see how leaders with self centered ideas manipulate the minds of average people and turn them into puppets, some haunted by their actions for the rest of their life. I enjoyed my time spent with this thought provoking thriller.
Foldog More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent thriller with great political undertones regarding the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Gerry Fegan is a compelling character who you want to empathize with, but who also has a dark history which is hard to ignore. It is Gerry's haunting ghosts who deserve your sympathy. For anyone interested in an Irish thriller, this books satisfies and intrigues. Neville's second book in this series is also excellent - "Collusion." I also suggest Tara French's great Irish detective novels - "In the Woods" and "The Likeness"
magric More than 1 year ago
Fabulouly written, an absolute must-read, even if you find the seemingly never-ending "troubles" of Ireland depressing beyond words. This imaginatively-written book brings the whole thing to life in a way I never would have thought I would enjoy. I'm starting to find these incredible European books; I should have done it much earlier.
Geeper More than 1 year ago
I was absolutely thrilled at finding this book! I am adding Stuart Neville to my list of fav's along with Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly and John Harvey. Can't wait for the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kept my interest throughout
blueberryNY More than 1 year ago
Well-written and fast paced. Fegan is a terribly complex and human protagonist, at once brutal and compassionate, driven by anger, shame, guilt,and ultimately love. Given the violence with which he has lived, the ending is surprising but satisfying. The plot is compelling, and leaves the reader with much to think about and discuss. Neville is a novelist I would read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good writing I do not know how accurate it protrays actual events because I am not that familar with them. A lot of blood and guts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderfull mix with paranormal and mafia type hitmen. Ghosts of his past hits haunt him and have him killing those who ordered them dead. I reccomend this, you will not be bored with this one. It is written pretty good and you get the feeling you get to know all the characters, dead and alive. Great read!! Pick it up
jenmurph21 More than 1 year ago
This is a very dark, gritty and haunting novel. I was intrigued by the story line and the character of Gerry Fagan. He's a tortured soul trying to find absolution for his past crimes, and that part was interesting to me. The stuff I didn't care for was the excessive amount of cursing that at times seemed unneccesary. It's very violent, and very harsh, and if that isn't your thing then I don't recommend this book.
Donna-Tully More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and hope that it is made into a movie! It's fast-paced and well written. Mr. Neville knows how to draw the reader into the characters. I hated to go to sleep at night because I wanted to keep reading. I read my nook during transportation to and from work and on my lunch hour. Finished it in two days - fantastic!
Cassandra Spangler More than 1 year ago
Very good read, some parts are difficult to get through because of the writer's in-depth knowledge of the history and struggles of Ireland's political powers. If I was 15-20 years older it would have been easier for me to follow the story line. But overall, a good read with just to right amount of details to provoke a reader's feelings about the main characters and their thrilling situations. Def. going to read #2 in the series. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gerry Fagen, released from the Maze Prison, spends his evenings drinking himself into a stupor. It is the only way that he can find to deal with his guilt and remorse. He sees his victims, always ever present around him. He is unable to understand what they want from him. All is revealed when his old friend Michael McKenna volunters to give him a ride home after another long night of drinking. His victims want retribution. So begins a brutal story. Recomended if you can handle thr blood and gore. J M Lydon J M Lydon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this greatly, very good pace to the story, i would highly recommend it, you wont be sorry!
oldsmores More than 1 year ago
A great read that works on several levels. Violence and brutality, as seen by a violent and brutal man looking for peace. Gerry Fegan horrifies you, yet you root for him. I for one will be looking for more from Mr. Neville.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I was holding my breath through half this book. Time flew by as I read, not being sble to put this story down. The effects of war on any man can be awful, physically -- sure. But mentally, war has crippled many more. Gerry lives every day being haunted by the ghosts of the men whose lives he took........until one day he finds the way to silence the ghosts. Truly haunting tale. Lots of mystery and lots of action. This was my first read from this author and I will DEFINITELY be looking for more from this author! -- SPeeD
eternalised More than 1 year ago
This was an intriguing debut. Fegan is haunted day andn ight by twelve ghosts, the ghosts of his innocent victims. This is a gritty, haunting novel with great prose, and a main character who gives a whole new dimension to the word ‘intriguing’. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book a lot the main character is a tortured soul trying to get right with his past. He disturbs a lot of plans and the past with his retribution. A must read!!
druidgirl More than 1 year ago
The Ghosts of Belfast is the story of Gerry Fegan an ex-hitman for the IRA. After leaving Maze Prison Gerry starts drinking and is nearly drunk every night, and he starts to see the ghosts of twelve people he has killed and they want vengeance on those who were responsible. All Gerry wants is to sleep aand have some peace so he plans the murders. This is a well written and informative book about the IRA. The characters are well thought out, there is alot of violence and brutal murders. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Net Galley and Soho Crime for allowing me to read and give my honest review of this fine novel.
poppaDS More than 1 year ago
This is a good murder mystery with some twists and turns that make for good reading. I takes place in post war Ireland and deals with the how the creators of all the violence coped with peace and becoming obsolete.