Detective Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan is faced with a Da-Vinci-Codesque series of killings. The murderer is profiled as someone with trauma in their past: but in post-Troubles Northern Ireland, the problem could turn out to be finding someone without such a history ...
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Review of The Doom Murders, winner of a Readers' Favourite Bronze Award By Peaceseeker
The author is a master of the genre. The first sentence - “DCI Jim Sheehan studied the mutilated corpse.” – is almost a tongue in cheek acknowledgement of the lovably clichéd parameters of the genre; but our discovery in paragraph 3 that the naked body posed on its back with its tongue pulled three inches out of its mouth and “knife wounds all over the place” belongs to the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor provides an intriguing indication that this is going to give you rather more to think about than your average ‘whodunit’ by an author whose sole purpose is to challenge/tease his readers with carefully concealed clues and myriad red herrings along the way.
Professor O’Hare is a retired academic with a deep interest and involvement in Roman Catholicism. The story's setting is the uneasy aftermath of sectarian strife during the ‘troubles’ in Belfast: opposing doctrines, intransigence, grinding poverty, and religious and nationalist causes being brandished as feeble excuses for mindless violence. A primary concern in this book however, is how disturbing many sincere Catholics find the effect of modern liberal thinking on their Church’s traditional stance concerning such fundamental issues as divorce and homosexuality. The desire for former straight-line certainties is symbolised by the yearning of many traditionalists for the 'Old Latin Mass', the Modern English version seeming hardly different from its anodyne, Protestant/Anglican counterpart.
Beliefs deeply and unquestioningly held in childhood may be shed in the hurly-burly of modern life, especially when facing the routine challenges of being a policeman in Belfast; only to return to haunt the erstwhile holder, leaving him or her with a sense of spiritual longing unfulfilled. In other situations, an excess of misdirected zeal may lead a psychologically disturbed adherent to take God's clearly stated Law into what they imagine to be divinely guided hands. This is Belfast after all: no half measures. “This is where I have always stood, and this is where I will continue to stand.” I can still hear Ian Paisley saying it.
A compelling murder mystery is played out in this complex setting. I found it an absorbing and thought-provoking read. The occasional textual inaccuracies and layout anomalies referred to by some earlier reviewers have been entirely dealt with and are no longer a minor distraction. This is a well-written and unusually profound example of the genre, which I recommend without reservation.
Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite FIVE STARS The Doom Murders by Brian O’Hare is a story of a few murders. To begin with, a bishop is killed in a grotesque manner and the only notable clue from the naked body is an alphanumeric word. During the police investigation itself, more deaths of a comparable nature take place. When clues fail to emerge pointing to a plausible theory as to the criminal, the investigators turn to all possible forms of help, one being religious doctrine. With the help of biblical experts, the investigators manage to decode the writings retrieved from the scene of the crime, especially the alphanumeric word and its possible relevance, which leads the police in a totally unexpected direction.
The Doom Murders by Brian O’Hare is mystery at every turn of the page. The painstaking, repetitive and dry nature of detective work in solving a murder is shown in its real depth. To that end, O’Hare writes with a keen eye for detail with his tale evolving at a surprisingly fast pace. The stereotypes that dominate popular crime thrillers, especially these days, are notable by their absence and O’Hare leans toward the human side of his characters, imbuing them with a real world presence that is in turn witty and passionate. This is most evident in his lead, Jim Sheehan, who in his introspection wrestles with the conflicts of faith as his investigations progress. It’s a cleverly contrived and highly thought provoking plot. A great crime thriller and an enthralling read.