I’m delighted to be sharing my stop on the blog tour for Delaney And So It Began with the lovely Joanne from My Chestnut Reading Tree.
A serial killer is targeting children appearing in pageants, whisking them away from under their parents’ noses. His niece is also entering the pageants and the New Orleans Police Department want Delaney to go under cover, without telling his sister and her family. Omitting the truth doesn’t sit well with Delaney but the perpetrator is running rings round the police. There don’t appear to be any leads to follow and no clues left at the crime scenes.
Meanwhile Julian Boutte, in a safe house guarded by FBI agents after making a deal to give evidence in a trial, escapes after shooting the agents. Boutte wants revenge. Delaney killed his brother when the two of them abducted, mutilated and murdered a female victim. Boutte managed to escape and has been under the radar for the past several years. Now he’s back and on the loose again.
And as if Delaney didn’t have enough going on, payments are being extorted from the local shopkeeping community, supposedly for protection, and the shopkeepers are asking for Delaney’s help.
‘Mrs Bartholomew, all of you, what I’m hearing is extortion. Organised crime. Really, this is a matter for the police. I can make a call. Put you in touch with a guy I know. This isn’t what I do, I’m sorry.’
Pricilla Bartholomew held me with her eyes. She was the one I had to convince.
‘I’m not unwilling. It is a police matter. Extortion is a serious crime. You need the police.’
She let me dig a hole for myself.
‘That’s why we’ve come to you. These people are the police.’
There’s a lot going on in this book, in a good way, which only served to keep me riveted to my kindle. The separate threads and flashbacks were woven together seamlessly so the storyline was easy to follow. I warmed to Delaney, and his dry humour, almost immediately. He’s not the angst ridden detective of so many novels, however he has had his share of problems. With his high moral code, leaving the police force when he became disillusioned, and disinclined to carry on under the circumstances, was his only option, as far as he saw it. He does what he feels is right regardless of what others think.
I’m loving Delaney’s dog, Lowell, his music appreciation, sensitivity to situations and how he reacts when Delaney talks to him. Delaney is a character I’d be happy to follow. He’s laid back and quirky with lots of character, whether it’s playing the harmonica while riding his bike with Lowell running alongside, or playing the harp in his band. All this adds a good contrast to the seriousness of the story line.
The setting is evocative. New Orleans is depicted so well and gives a real sense of place, even to someone who has never been. The story’s main focus are the children’s pageants being held across the country. It was an eye opener and although these types of competitions are no doubt widespread, it’s still hard to believe that parents would voluntarily subject young children to this kind of aggressive pressure.
A fast paced, well written thriller and, unusually for me, I did get a feeling when the perpetrator appeared in the narrative. Not that it spoiled the story because I second guessed myself several times. I enjoyed Owen Mullen’s writing style and will check out his other books. I hope to see more of Delaney in the future.
I chose to read and review Delaney And So It Began based on a copy of the book supplied by Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books.
- Author: Owen Mullen
- Published: 5th October 2017 by Bloodhound Books
- Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Book Review, Books, Reading
PI Vincent Delaney thought he was done with the NOPD until a string of seemingly unrelated child murders brings an unexpected invitation from the FBI, and his old boss.
A serial killer is roaming the South, preying on children appearing in pageants, and the police want him to go undercover using his own family. Accepting would mean lying to people he loves and maybe even putting them in harm’s way.
In Baton Rouge, a violent criminal has escaped and is seeking revenge for the brother Delaney shot dead. But Delaney isn’t going anywhere. He has unfinished business. Meanwhile, north of the French Quarter, shopkeepers are being extorted and ask for Delaney’s help. Extortion is a matter for the police.
But what do you do when those responsible are the police? Delaney has his work cut out and he’ll be lucky if he makes it out of this alive…
Owen Mullen is a The Mcllvanney Prize long listed Novelist
About the author
OWEN MULLEN’S debut novel Games People Play has been long-listed for Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year 2017
School was a waste of time for me. Or rather, I wasted time; my own and every teacher’s who tried to get me to work. It took twenty years to appreciate what they were telling me. Life has rules. They aren’t written down but they exist nevertheless. I got that. Eventually. But by then I was thirty five.
Along the way I missed an important clue. At ten I won a national primary schools short story competition – and didn’t write anything else for forty years.
SMART BOY WANTED APPLY WITHIN
As a teenager my big obsession was music. Early on I realised if I was successful I would probably be rich and famous and pull lots of girls.
So how did that turn out?
Well, you haven’t heard of me, have you? And this morning I caught myself worrying about the electricity bill. So the short answer is: one out of three ain’t bad.
Running around the country in a Transit van with your mates is fun. It’s your very own gang. You against the world. Until you fall out and the dream lies bleeding on the dressing-room floor.
When that happened I went to London [everybody from Scotland goes to London, it’s like first footing at New Year, or ten pints of lager and a vindaloo on a Friday night; a sacred tradition] and became a session singer. I also started gigging with different bands on the circuit.
Back in Scotland – most of us come back with wild tales of great success, none of them true – I wondered what I should do with myself and didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Her name was Christine. We got married, I went to Strathclyde Uni and got a bunch of letters after my name, and toughing it out at Shotts Miner’s Welfare, or dodging flying beer cans at the Café Club in Baillieston, was in the past. The long hair was short now, I wore a suit and pretended to like people I didn’t like because we were ‘colleagues’.
After many adventures I started my own marketing and design business and did alright. Christine and I were very happy, we travelled all over the place; India, Brazil, Botswana, Nepal, Borneo, Japan. One day I suggested we move. To the Greek islands. So we did. We bought land and built a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Then the pan global financial crash happened, years of fiscal carelessness finally caught up with Greece; the exchange rate dived and the cost of living in Paradise went through the roof.
I had to do something. Then I remembered the short story competition. I had been good at writing, hadn’t I?
I wrote another short story called The King Is Dead…the first thing I’d written since primary school. When I typed the last word [Christine taught me to type] I held the pages in my hand then started to read. An hour and a half, rooted to the chair unable to believe what was in front of my eyes. For four decades I had shunned a god given gift. And as I read I started to understand why. It was awful. Not just bad. Bloody terrible.
But I kept going.
And now, eight years and seven books later, three literary agents plus two I turned down [they were reading a different book] I am a writer. My books are on Amazon. People buy them and come back for more.
One seasoned London agent has predicted I am destined to be ‘a major new force in British crime fiction.’
So is the moral: follow my example, find something you’re good at and stick with it. Hardly. I didn’t, did I? Do it your own way; it’s your life.