4 out of 4 stars
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The 11.05 Murders by Brian O’Hare is an excellent read. This mystery novel, written in third person, surprised me at every turn. I read the entire book in two sittings simply because I couldn’t put it down. The plot, setting, and characters weave together seamlessly to engage the reader in a compelling murder mystery.
O’Hare’s story revolves around Denise Stewart and Chief Inspector Sheehan. Stewart is a female detective in a male-dominated world. Her difficult background has naturally affected how she perceives the world. When she begins working at a new police station under Chief Inspector Sheehan, her first case involves a brutal murder. While events continue to unfold, all the detectives at the station become invested in the case. Sheehan can feel danger threatening not only the victims, but also his new detective. As a possible romance begins to blossom in her life, Stewart must decide who she can trust while Sheehan must solve the mystery before it is too late. I was fascinated through the entire novel. The twists and turns kept me interested as I could not predict where the story was going. In the end, all the pieces fit together perfectly.
The 11.05 Murders is set in Northern Ireland during present day. As an American reader, I did not recognize most of the locations. However, O’Hare’s descriptions were vivid and expressive enough for me to picture every place. The settings contribute to the sense of danger. For example, Stewart lives alone on a street that is frequently deserted at night. The eerie side streets provide suspense as Stewart never knows if someone is watching her. Similarly, the expansive size of the police station puts Stewart on edge and causes Sheehan to wonder if there could be an informant in their ranks.
Each of the characters are fully developed, complex people. Stewart’s backstory affects her character arc. Her assertive confidence and difficulty in trusting men stems from experiences in her past. Sheehan also struggles both physically and spiritually. He tries to keep his physical limitations a secret from his subordinates, and Sheehan’s crisis of faith intertwines with the climax of the murder case. Additionally, every detective at the police station has round, unique characterization. Their personalities made it possible for me to imagine each of them as distinct from each other. Typically, when there are multiple characters, I forget several of them throughout the course of the story, but even O’Hare’s minor characters are memorable.
Although The 11.05 Murders is volume two of the Inspector Sheehan Mysteries, the book stands on its own. Personally, I would love to see The 11.05 Murders adapted into a movie or television show. The only warning I would give readers is to be aware of the strong language. While I find that it adds to the realism of the characters and situations, it may offend more conservative readers.
I rate The 11.05 Murders 4 out of 4 stars. The plot, setting, and characters are well-written and work together to draw the reader into the story. Brian O’Hare is a modern Agatha Christie, and his mystery novel will be a hit with fans of the genre.
The 11.05 Murders
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