The Dark Place

By Sam Miller

There's no doubting Sam Miller’s mastery of the crime genre. From the first page of his latest offering The Dark Place, his atmospheric, well-paced thriller brings you right to the heart of the darkness he’s created. This is his most riveting page-turner yet.

Set in Belfast, where young homeless women and drug addicts are being abducted and murdered by a cunning and wealthy serial killer, Miller’s tale echoes other classic crime novels, but he also carves out a new niche for himself. 

When it becomes clear that city cops and corrupt political leaders don’t want to know about the spate of disappearances, Miller clear the way for his edgy hero to take the lead.

Private investigator Karl Kane is as captivating a character as any dreamed up by Raymond Chandler, but Kane digs deeper, venturing to scarifying places that other crime writers rarely touch. Miller has first hand experience of both sides of the scales of justice, and this knowledge informs his writing. The Dark Place is his fourth and best thriller to date in an already distinguished crime series.

Dufour Editions, $19.95.

Hearts and Mines

By William Sheehan

During the Irish War of Independence the British 5th Division controlled most of central and western Ireland. Sheehan’s book makes available for the first time their own account of how they fought.

In December 1920 the destroyer HMS Leamington landed the 5th Division troops at Inishmore in the Aran Islands, where they arrested ten IRA officers and shot dead one more. Thereafter they combed the countryside searching for more IRA members, whom they considered despicable murderers (they saw no counterpoint in the men they shot themselves).

This books gives us the British point of view on famous encounters like the Partry Ambush, the burning of Ballinlough Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks, and it gives the British view of famous IRA leaders like Sean McEoin who would come to be celebrated as “the gallant Blacksmith Of Ballinlee.”

Containing many previously unpublished photographs and an appendix that underlines its scholarship, Sheehan’s book will be mandatory reading for all students of the War of Independence.

Dufour Editions, $25.95.

A Good Deed and Other Stories

By Sean McCabe

IF you enjoy unadorned recollections of the recent past, have I got a book for you. Sean McCabe’s memoir of his life in rural Co. Meath during the seventies and eighties is written in a homespun you-are-there prose style that conjures his childhood and adolescence so vividly you will feel like you’ve come along for the entire ride yourself.

The innocence of an earlier age is wed to the innocence of childhood in these 17 interconnected short stories. Featuring all the flotsam of an Irish country childhood, including piano lessons from patient nuns, weekly ice creams from favorite uncles, spirited games of schoolyard marbles, GAA fan worship, funerals, and road trips to Cavan, you’ll be swept up by McCabe’s gentle recollections, which are told so matter of factly that they might have happened yesterday.

In the mythical town of Baile, where these tales are set, a favorite pastime was to record the license plates of new cars passing through the district and then report them to your friends. If that was your pastime too then you’ll see yourself on every page.

Nowadays that kind of rustic game has gone the way of Tara’s Halls, but in McCabe’s book it springs eternal. To obtain a copy visit www.

Navancowboy Publishing, $10.

Irish Folk and Fairy Tales

Edited by Gordon Jarvie

The Irish have always believed in magic and no wonder, living in a landscape that has the power to evoke awe or the gentlest reverie. The nation’s storied history is etched in every field and valley from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen in Cork.

In Irish Folk and Fairy Tales, a reprint of the classic 19th century text that recorded and relayed our ancient folk tales, there’s so much magic and wonder to be found that it will make a treasured gift to anyone who receives it.

Although there’s irony in the fact that it was Anglo-Irish figureheads like the poet W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and Lady Wilde who made a record of these native Irish tales and then handed them back to the culture, the works themselves are so finely crafted that it makes no difference.

The fairy tales of Ireland are unquestionably part of one of the richest folk literatures in the world and this unforgettable book belongs on the shelf of anyone who considers themselves Irish.

Dufour Editions, $15,95.

Words of the Grey Wind

By Chris Arthur

To exist is a very mysterious thing, Irish author Chris Arthur reminds us, but if anyone is equal to the task of unraveling the strands of existence with poetic meditations on love and loss, it’s this man.

In Words of the Grey Wind, his compelling collection of 13 essays, Arthur draws upon his Belfast past. Though faded photographs, boyhood memories and fragments of his own family history he approaches what he calls the “the stupendous fabric of the real.”

There are few nations where what is real, what is authentic, what is true are debated with such ferocity as Ireland. Arthur knows this, and that often creative tension informs every line of his prose, which has been compared to Seamus Heaney’s for its metaphorical depth and illumination.

Dufour Editions, $25.95.