Summary and book reviews of So Say the Fallen by Stuart Neville

So Say the Fallen

The Belfast Novels

by Stuart Neville

So Say the Fallen by Stuart Neville X
So Say the Fallen by Stuart Neville
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2016, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2017, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley
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About this Book

Book Summary

An apparent suicide exposes a deadly secret in the suburbs of Belfast.

Henry Garrick, a local car dealer who was maimed in an accident five months before, has apparently taken his own life. A simple case, it should be wrapped up in a few days. But something doesn't feel right to Belfast detective Serena Flanagan, despite the fact that there is no evidence of foul play.

As she investigates, Flanagan interviews Roberta Garrick, Henry's widow, who is comforted in her grief by Reverend Peter McKay, rector of the local church and a close family friend. Flanagan is carrying heavy personal burdens, her mind and marriage nearly at breaking point, and on impulse she confides in the rector, seeking his spiritual help. But with the secrets McKay is keeping, he is in no position to help anyone. His faith long gone, he is lost in a spiral of lust and guilt from which he sees no escape. Until, that is, the policewoman offers him a glimpse of salvation.

Flanagan ignores her superiors' advice to close the case, call it a suicide, and be done with it. As she picks at the threads of the dead man's life, a disturbing picture emerges, and she realizes the widow Roberta Garrick is not what she seems ...

I can't just live for the other world. I need to live in this one now.
So say the fallen. So they've said since time began."

- Dennis Lehane, The Drop

1

Detective Chief Inspector Serena Flanagan focused on the box of tissues that sat on the coffee table between her and Dr. Brady. A leaf of soft paper bursting up and out, ready for her tears. Just like when she'd been diagnosed with cancer. A box like this one had sat close to hand on the desk. She didn't need one then, and she didn't need one now.

Dr. Brady had no interest in abnormal cells, growths, tumours. Flanagan's mind was his concern. He sat cross-legged in the chair on the other side of the table, chewing the end of a biro. It clicked and scratched against his teeth, a persistent noise that triggered memories of exam halls and waiting rooms, and made Flanagan dig at her palms with her nails.

The counsellor pursed his lips and inhaled through his nose in a way that Flanagan found even more ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

As with most noir, So Say the Fallen is a novel about the monsters that roam among us, unseen until they strike; it’s about greed, lust, and manipulation. It’s also about a sense of duty that sometimes costs too much personally. But Neville, like other sophisticated crime writers – think James Lee Burke or Dennis Lehane – isn’t afraid of exploring themes beyond Thou shalt not shoot nor stab nor poison nor drown.   (Reviewed by Gary Presley).

Full Review (611 words).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
In her second case, Neville's conflicted detective ... stands to lose as much from her hotheadedness as she gains from her persistence.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [A] complex and compassionate study of the human condition.

Booklist
Starred Review. Belfast has been a significant presence in Neville's mysteries, but this compelling procedural is a more universal tale in which unchecked evil flourishes. Flanagan, a breast cancer survivor undergoing counseling, is a fallible protagonist whose appeal grows with each book; don't miss her here.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Belfast

TitanicIn So Say the Fallen, it is murder most foul in Belfast. Northern Ireland's capital city is as much a character in Neville's work as it is a place in the novel. It's where the author lives and, has been the home of a number of famous people; it is the birthplace of the Christian author and philosopher C. S. Lewis; John Wood Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire in Belfast, and James Murray invented Milk of Magnesia there. The sixth president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, was born in north Belfast in 1918 (Herzog's father was a rabbi of the Annesley Street Synagogue). And, of course, the Titanic was constructed in Belfast at the Harland and Wolfe Shipyard between 1909 and 1911 - where the same company now maintains the world's largest dry-dock....

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