Author: Graham Norton
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled: Sergeant P.J. Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; Brid Riordan, a mother of two, 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—suspected to be those of Tommy Burke, a former lover of both Brid and Evelyn—are discovered on an old farm, the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As a frustrated P.J. struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his professional life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regrets.
Darkly comic, at times profoundly sad, and “especially inviting because of its tongue-in-cheek wit” (Kirkus Reviews), Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic humor to breathe life into a host of lovable characters, and explore—with searing honesty—the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
Holding is a well written, readable crime novel which I have now both read and listened to on audiobook, and both are different but equally enjoyable experiences! Holding doesn’t have a hugely gritty storyline but it does have some very dark themes, and it’s an intriguing read.
I really warmed to some of the main characters Graham Norton has created – for example PJ, who I have to admit I felt very sorry for, but who also seems like such an honest, sweet and authentic person. I really wanted him to succeed and be happy! PJ is a police officer in the sleepy Irish village of Duneen who, when a body is found in a local building site, is called in to investigate. The residents he comes into contact with are also interesting to read abouy, if not all likable!
The book is full of secrets, gossip and very potted history covering the various families in the village. Some characters evidently know a lot more than they’re letting on, and others have a vested interest in keeping the truth covered up…
I have to say, Graham Norton does a great way of creating an atmospheric sense of place in this remote and, at times, eerie setting. He writes with a real flair and shows anyone who may doubt him that he has a true talent for writing. The story has twists without being too complicated or unbelievable, and we learn more about the family’s history as the story goes on instead of the plot only focusing on the crime.
A great debut from Graham Norton.