brian o’hare

Review of ‘The Coven Murders’

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The skeleton of a young woman, stabbed to death by a single blow to the abdomen some twenty-plus years earlier, is found in a shallow grave near an old abandoned church in Northern Ireland. Then, assistant pathologist Andrew Jones meets a mysterious young woman in a café, and later her wealthy industrialist father and his wife are found dead in their home, single stab wounds to the abdomen. Can murders more than twenty years apart be related or is it just a coincidence. Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan doesn’t believe in coincidences. He also doesn’t believe in the actual existence of evil spirits, but as the case unfolds, his beliefs are shaken to the core.

The Coven Murders by Brian O’Hare is a chilling mystery/thriller, featuring good solid police work, exciting confrontations, and a bit of the supernatural that will keep you flipping pages until the stunning surprise ending. I’ve read other Inspector Sheehan mysteries, and enjoyed them, but this one leaves its predecessors in the dust.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. Loved it. I give it four and a half stars.

Review of ‘The 11:05 Murders’

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Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan has just welcomed a new detective to his major crimes unit, Woman Police Sergeant Denise Stewart. The first case Stewart has to work on is a banker, murdered and mutilated at 11:05 on a Tuesday evening. The victim wasn’t popular, so there’s a long list of possible suspects. When a second victim dies later under identical circumstances, the list of suspects grows. Sheehan and Stewart, as they winnow through the list, find a possible link of a 12-year-old case of a female student who committed suicide, and with a third identical murder their situation becomes not just confusing, but perilous.

The 11:05 Murders by Brian O’Hare is mystery-thriller at its best. The reader is given tons of clues, some valid, some red herrings, and enough tension and threat to satisfy the most voracious action junkie. Step-by-plodding step, Sheehan and Steward uncover a vicious and cunning psychopath in a most satisfying conclusion.

I received a free copy of this book.

This one’s a slam-dunk five stars.

Review of ‘Doom Murders’

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When the nude and mutilated body of the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Conner is found in his office, DCI Jim Sheehan is puzzled. Except for what appears to be stage props and a strange carving of a letter and a string of numbers carved into the victim’s desk, there are no clues, and no evidence linking the crime to anyone. As more bodies start appearing, all posed in grotesque positions and each with another letter/numbers nearby, Sheehan begins to suspect there is a link among the victims—he’s just not able to determine what it is. With the help of a monsignor, a colleague of the first victim, he learns that the numbers relate to biblical passages, and are somehow tied to a famous doom painting of the Last Judgment in a Paris museum. Now, the clock is ticking, and Sheehan must identify and apprehend the killer before more people die.

Doom Murders by Brian O’Hare is a well-crafted mystery; the locked-room genre that British authors do so well, set in the religious and political atmosphere of Northern Ireland. The author keeps the tension level high, and invests the characters with personal goals beyond the mere solving of a mystery, that will keep the reader guessing until the unexpected end. Sharp-witted readers will probably guess the identity of the killer just before the author reveals it—I did, but was still unsure until the name was dropped.

A fascinating story that weaves history, culture, and personal angst in with the mechanics of the crime very well, and that will keep you turning pages and guessing throughout.

I received a free copy of this book.

I give O’Hare four stars for this first book in a promising series.