***If you are in the London area, Graham Norton will be appearing at the Lyric Theatre on the 3rd of October to discuss his new novel. Please click here for more information and how to get tickets.***
Graham Norton’s masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.
The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.
So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.
Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
I have always been a big fan of Graham Norton so was very excited to see that he had written a novel. I did wonder though whether he could entertain me as much off the screen as he does on it and I’m pleased to say he did.
In a village the size of Duneen, I don’t think crime is something the residents usually have anything to worry about as it’s something that doesn’t happen very often. When human remains are found the usually sleepy little village comes alive and becomes rife with gossip and suspicions.
For Sergeant PJ Collins, I think it’s a chance for him to prove to the residents of the village of just what he is actually capable of, though I don’t think he even knows himself as he has never dealt with anything like this before and he just seems to stumble his way through the case.
Even though it is a small village where everyone knows everyone as well as usually their business, the human remains goes to show that some are hiding secrets and the residents may not know each other quite as well as they would like to think.
Holding is not your typical crime thriller novel. It is a slowly paced read full of suspense and mystery that the reader can sit back and take their time with and enjoy and devour every word. Graham Norton draws his readers into the idyllic Irish setting so we feel like we are there experiencing village life for ourselves. Whilst quite a serious novel from a man that usually makes us laugh, we still get the odd glimpse of Graham’s wicked sense of humour that shines through in parts and I think it would work very well on the small screen.
An absolute gem of a debut that goes to show Graham Norton is a man of many talents.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.
Holding is out on the 6th of October and is available to pre order from Amazon now.