Tuesday 21 May 2019

THE THRILLfactor : A plague on all their houses

The Lazarus Bell By Patrick Dunne Tivoli, ?9.99 Archaeologist Illaun Bowe is working on a dig in the sleepy little village of Castleboyne when her team discover a beautiful 14th century carved and painted wooden Madonna in a former plague graveyard. But as the lead coffin its buried in is being lifted from the ground a disgusting black liquid oozes from the casing, spilli

The Lazarus Bell By Patrick Dunne Tivoli, ?9.99 Archaeologist Illaun Bowe is working on a dig in the sleepy little village of Castleboyne when her team discover a beautiful 14th century carved and painted wooden Madonna in a former plague graveyard. But as the lead coffin its buried in is being lifted from the ground a disgusting black liquid oozes from the casing, spilling on to Terry Johnston.

After a couple of days he falls desperately ill, and, his organs failing one by one, he dies within 24 hours. Then a young boy begins to display the same deadly symptoms, and, amidst scurrilous tabloid speculation that the disease was brought to the area by recent immigrants from Africa, the entire village is placed under quarantine and sealed off from the rest of the country.

Illaun, with the help of handsome South African pathologist Peter Groot, attempts to track down the cause of the illness, tensions rise to fever pitch when the mutilated body of a black woman is found floating in the river. But her troubles are mounting. Her father is seriously ill, her fiance is becoming marriage shy and someone wants the Virgin of Castleboyne, as the Madonna is called, so badly he is prepared to kill her for it.

While not an edge-of-the-seat thriller (although Dunne is a huge hit in Germany), this second outing for attractively-drawn heroine Ilaun Bowe neatly combines archaeology, medieval history and current sociological tensions in Ireland in an absorbing read.

The Colour of Law By Mark Jimenez Time Warner, st£9.99 The good life quickly turns sour for hot shot corporate lawyer A. Scott Fenney when a Federal judge demands that he defend pro bono a heroin-addicted black hooker accused of murdering a wealthy senator's playboy son. It's such a slam-dunk case - the victim was shot by Shawanda Jones's own fingerprint-plastered gun - that everyone expects him to get her to cop a plea in exchange for escaping death row. The trouble begins when she refuses to play along and Scott begins to believe she's probably innocent.

Within days Scott has lost his $750,000 a year job, his red Ferrari is repossessed, his $3.5 million heavily mortgaged mansion is up for sale and his beautiful wife has left him for her lover, a golf pro. But after years of being a lazy lawyer, he discovers he still possesses a hunger for justice and, at considerable physical risk, goes head-to-head with the powerful Senator's minions.

Ambitiously flagged as being as good as Grisham, this is, nevertheless, a very decent legal thriller with an exciting courtroom denouement.

-Myles McWeeney

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