Those We Left Behind served as my introduction to Stuart Neville’s work, which I devoured in a single reading session; so too this year’s sequel, So Say the Fallen, which was equally fantastic, and solidified his status as a must-read author. Since then I’ve been biding my time, waiting for the opportunity to sample Neville’s first book, The Twelve: and while it’s not as nuanced, or as polished as his later books, it’s a brilliant thriller that you can safely file under unputdownable.
Gerry Fegan sees dead people. Years after his release from prison, with an uneasy peace existing between the IRA and England, the former hitman is haunted by the ghosts of the twelve people he killed. No amount of alcohol has silenced these accusing ghouls; they are with him every single day, slowly driving him insane. A chance encounter with an old ally leads to Fegan ending the life of one of the IRA’s old guard — and the extinguishment of one of his ghosts. Which is when Fegan realises: his salvation lies in his extermination of his former friends. Trouble is, his silencing of his ghosts threatens to blow the IRA’s truce to smithereens. This fantastic premise is complimented by Neville’s sharp prose, and makes for a relentless, white-knuckle read. The body count is high, and the action comes thick and fast.
The Twelve is a cracking thriller; fast-paced, tremendous executed, with a plot guaranteed to keep you guessing. If you’re yet to sample Stuart Neville’s work, his debut is as fine a place as any to start.
Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x 30mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 24-Jun-2010
Country of Publication: United Kingdom