A sadist targets young women in O'Donovan's derivative second novel, a step down from his debut, White Lion, shortlisted for the CWA's Debut Dagger. When Insp. Mike Mulcahy returns to Ireland after a prestigious antinarcotics posting in Madrid, the contacts he made in Spain make him valuable to the police detectives assigned to identify the brute that assaulted Jesica Mellado Salazar, the Spanish interior minister's 16-year-old daughter, who was found in a Dublin road early one morning with severe burns on her genitals. Before the inquiry can make much progress, Jesica's father has her spirited away to recover at home. When the object used to burn her is identified as a gold crucifix, the target of the probe becomes known as "the Priest." As the fiend claims more victims, Mulcahy's love interest, reporter Siobhan Fallon, hypes the Priest as a national menace. The police follow all too familiar procedural lines, while Mulcahy needs to be a more distinctive lead if he's to sustain a series. (Mar.)
"...exciting debut mystery...Expect more from this author since listeners will come to love the male and female leads...[Michael] Kramer's narrative voice is rich and warm, and his pacing is flawlessly keyed to the action of the story. His portrayals of the young female characters are also well done, especially for a narrator with such a deep voice." - AudioFile Magazine
"It is difficult to believe that The Priest is Gerard O'Donovan's first novel, so gripping and assured is it. And, one asks, in crime-writing terms, is Ireland becoming the new Scotland?" - The Times (London)
"Fast-paced, exciting and thrilling, this is an impressive debut." - The Sunday Times (Ireland)
"A sure command of plot and pacing, a lively sense of locale and a quirky sense of character...compelling." - Irish Independent
"In Mike Mulcahy, O'Donovan has created a well-drawn, multi-faceted cop who readers are likely to want to spend more time with in the future...An impressive debut, with a well-placed plot and enough twists to keep the reader interested until the last page." - Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
"An exciting serial-killer thriller...The writing is strong and the Dublin locations are well described and interesting." - Canberra Times (Australia)
"A book that the reader will not want to put down…an outstanding first novel." - Murder by Type
"[A] gripping thriller." - The Buffalo News
"This is a book you want to read right now, so you can later lay claim to bragging rights of having been 'one of O'Donovan's earliest fans.'" - BookPage
"O'Donovan excels at crisp dialogue and descriptions that place the reader in the midst of a city thrust into a faster, nastier new era." - Star Tribune
"O'Donovan nicely balances character and plot...an addictive beginning by an author who is positioning himself as a major talent." - BookReporter.com
This promising series debut introducing Irish detective Mike Mulcahy and journalist Siobhan Fallon by journalist and CWA Debut Dagger short-listed author O'Donovan is as much about sin and hope of redemption as it is about crime. Set in a post-Celtic Tiger, mid-pedophile-priest-scandal Dublin, the novel is breathlessly overbilled by the publisher as a battle with "a religion-obsessed serial killer" (not technically accurate, as there is only one death in the book, and that one is an accident). Hyperbole notwithstanding, characterization is spotty: the two protagonists and several of the female victims are well described, and other actors are merely paper dolls. Nonetheless, this is a gripping and atmospheric tale of obsession, violence, and inspired detective work, as Fallon and Mulcahy, working both together and at odds with the bureaucracy, flawed colleagues, and each other, seek to stop the serial rapist known as The Priest. VERDICT While leaving room for improvement, this first novel is a strong start to a promising fictional collaboration/relationship between Mulcahy and Fallon. For fans of European crime fiction and psychological thrillers.—David Clendinning, West Virginia State Univ. Inst. Lib., Charleston
Journalist O'Donovan launches a new series with the tale of a Dublin assailant whose crimes give the Troubles and Ireland's current economic crisis stiff competition.
English-language student Jesica [sic] Mellado Salazar, 16, is walking home when she's grabbed by a man in a van and brutally assaulted. For all the horrific details, the crime would be routine if she weren't the daughter of Spain's Interior Minister. Supt. Brendan Healy attaches Inspector Mike Mulcahy, just back from a posting with Europol's Narcotics Intelligence Unit in Madrid, to Inspector Claire Brogan's Sex Crimes squad as an interpreter who can take the girl's statement. When First Secretary Ibañez sees that Mulcahy is the only officer who treats either Jesica or himself humanely, he insists that Mulcahy be assigned to the case, then spirits the victim out of the country, forcing the Garda Siochana to hide their investigation. Marooned in a posting he hates, surrounded by colleagues who look down their noses at him, Mulcahy finds comfort only in devising theories of the case that Brogan and Sgt. Andy Cassidy, her sneering sidekick, ignore, and chatting with his old friend Siobhan Fallon, a Sunday Herald reporter who soon sets her sights on a story she's convinced involves a high-level cover-up. A second attack on a dental secretary, and the news that the first assault wasn't the first after all, raise the stakes for all concerned.
The killer's religio-pathic background is never quite convincing, but O'Donovan juggles his suspects deftly, and frustrated Mulcahy promises to be excellent company for the long term.