Controlled Explosions by Claire McGowan

Published 1st July 2015 by Headline


Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist on the Irish border, returns as a teenager in this exclusive digital short story from Claire McGowan, proclaimed by Ken Bruen as ‘Ireland’s answer to Ruth Rendell’.
1998 and future forensic psychologist Paula Maguire is still in school, being taunted by bullies. In particular one girl, whose family has paramilitary links, is calling her a rat. Even though Paula might not know why her mother went missing five years before, she’s sure she’s no traitor’s daughter.
But words are nothing compared to what her policeman father, PJ, is dealing with. The hot summer is simmering with violence and the entire force is focused on finding a bomber leaving devices on the routes of Orange parades.
When PJ is injured at the scene of a crime, Paula is shocked to find herself next in the perpetrator’s crosshairs. The threats at school don’t feel so empty now, but what connection could there be? As the possibility of first love appears, will Paula be able to find out in time to save herself and follow her heart?

My thoughts

This is a great peek into the history of Paula. Our favourite psychologist!

The story takes us back to the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland. A time when Northern Ireland was synonymous with bombings and political/religious riots. Paula is at school and its 1998. She longs to be far away. Her Dad is in the police force. And Paula is being bullied at school. At least there is Aidan, in the background. A love interest.

This is a very welcome short story that fills in a few gaps. Paula is on the verge of becoming the Paula, we all know and love. Aidan, who we know as her ex-boyfriend, is there. All very fascinating. I just love the setting. I cannot imagine living in Northern Ireland, at that time. I remember the news reports and the bombings, quite vividly.

Roll on the release of ‘The Silent Dead’. This makes me want even more Paula NOW.



About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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