Annemarie Neary is a talented writer and this is a very good novel. Like other crime novels to come out of Northern Ireland, the plot centres on the consequences of the terrible things done during The Troubles.
Neary has created a complex, compelling and utterly believable character in Róisín Burns, a woman who has travelled half way across the world to escape her past. I was drawn to Róisín from the beginning and intrigued to find out what her secret was. What had happened to make her flee her home and family and the only life she'd ever known? Gradually, Neary reveals all of this, showing us how easy it is for a young woman to get caught up in something terrible without realising the consequences of her actions until it's far too late.
Brian Lonergan is a one-time freedom fighter and rising politician tipped for the top job. He is also the real reason Róisín has been in hiding for the last twenty years. Rather than return to her native Belfast, Róisín confronts Lonergan on Lamb Island, a remote location off the west coast of Ireland, where Lonergan has a holiday home. It's a clever move by Neary. After she arrives on the island, Róisín grows increasingly isolated from the other islanders, unsure who she can trust.
Neary keeps the pace up throughout and I found myself sitting up late into the night to finish 'Siren'. As Róisín's isolation increases, so too does her obsession with Lonergan until, towards the end, the atmosphere is so tense and heavy it is unbearable. And yet, I couldn't put it down because I had to know how it would all end.
'Siren' is a great read – thrilling and frightening with something important to say about the damage done to people on both sides of the political divide during Northern Ireland's troubled past. I really loved this book and highly recommend it.