THE SITE FOR DIE HARD CRIME & THRILLER FANS
iBookKindlePrintReviews

NTN: Seventy Times Seven

2 Mins read

Written by John Gordon Sinclair – Scottish actor John Gordon Sinclair is probably best known for his role as Gregory in the 1981 film Gregory’s Girl, or perhaps Ivar the Boneless in Erik the Viking, directed by Terry Jones. However, in September this year he made his crime writing debut with a novel that takes a look at one devastating event in the life of a family and the knock-on effects it continues to have several years later.

Seventy Times Seven centres on the story of two Irish brothers – Sean and Danny McGuire. When Sean is killed in an ambush Danny is left feeling a deep seated need for revenge. He’s drawn towards the republican movement, but despite invitations to join them he is more resistant to being a paid up member than his older brother was. Instead he chooses to become a hired assassin, and is not averse to doing the odd job for the local IRA commander EI O’Leary, aka The Farmer.

It’s Holy Week 1992, and a very important list has been stolen from the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s HQ which could put some high-profile snouts in a whole lot of danger. Among them, the IRA’s ultimate target, the Threvshi, aka the Ghost. He has given away a lot of their secrets, and is now living under an assumed identity – Finn O’Hanlon – in the USA. For Danny this news turns into a real headache when a ghost from his past turns up and tells him that O’Hanlon knows the identity of the man responsible for his brother’s death. The only problem is EI O’Leary has tasked Danny with O’Hanlon’s execution as a traitor to the cause.

In Alabama, O’Hanlon knows that the clock has started ticking when there’s a bungled attempt to kill him in a bar. Danny must get to him before anyone else does, but when the two men meet it becomes clear that this is only the start of a chain of events that only they can stop, and there are going to be casualties. The question is: will Danny be able to carry out his orders once he knows the truth?

When I first started reading this book, I didn’t quite know what to expect, probably because like many other readers I associate John Gordon Sinclair with comedy rather than crime. Given the subject matter of his first book, this was going to be quite some departure. Having said that, there are elements of humour in the dialogue that do make you smile with a hint of Sinclair himself coming through. Another key ingredient to this story – it never loses its humanity. Despite the fact that Finn and Danny are both killers, they do feel a sense of responsibility towards those who are unwittingly dragged into their battles. You can’t help liking them both. It’s a novel that highlights the harsh realities of the Troubles and how they affected ordinary people’s lives, and it’s not pretty.

It’s a strong debut which clearly demonstrates that Sinclair chose wisely when he opted for the crime fiction genre. My only bone of contention – maybe it’s  just me – but there is a slightly confusing ending to what is ultimately, a book well worth reading. At the moment, it’s great value on Kindle at only £1.19.

Faber and Faber
Print/Kindle/iBook
£1.19

CFL Rating: 4 Stars

Related posts
KindlePrintReviews

Kiss the Detective by Élmer Mendoza

Translated by Mark Fried — Sometimes called the godfather of narco-lit, Mexican author Élmer Mendoza sets his latest book in Sinaloa state and Kiss the Detective is the fourth in the Lefty Mendieta series. Mendoza has a distinctive writing style, but for those with the…
iBookKindlePrintReviews

The Waiter by Ajay Chowdhury

Some crime books have you hiding behind the cushions, while others make you cringe and shut your eyes in disgust… In a first for this reviewer, The Waiter made me hungry! Seems appropriate, then, that for the book’s online launch party, a number of reviewers…
iBookKindlePrintReviews

The Final Round by Bernard O’Keeffe

What is it with fictional detectives and music? Inspector Morse, of course, was a huge opera fan, DCI Banks loves a bit of jazz with classical thrown in and it’s been the same score since Sherlock Holmes picked up his violin. Now we have a country…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Crime Fiction Lover