Stuart Neville

The Twelve

""...quite simply one of the books of the year." "


Former paramilitary killer, Irishman Gerry Fegan is haunted by his victims, twelve souls who shadow his every waking day and howl through every drunken night. Just as he reaches the edge of sanity they reveal why they have been troubling him. They demand revenge on those who engineered their deaths. From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it happen... everyone must pay the price.

When Fegan's vendetta threatens to derail Northern Ireland's peace process and destabilise its fledgling government, old comrades and enemies alike want him gone. David Campbell, a double agent lost between the forces of law and terror, takes the job. But he has his own reasons for eliminating Fegan; the secrets of a dirty war should stay buried, even if its ghosts do not.

Purchase the book from Amazon.


If there is an award going that this excellent debut novel hasn't been nominated for in 2010 it's in the minority. Published elsewhere in the world as The Ghosts of Belfast, Twelve is quite simply one of the books of the year. Gerry Fegan is a wonderful invention who will test your sympathies as he attempts to atone for his past sins whilst being driven on by the twelve ghosts of the title. No matter that he is aiming for redemption he is nonetheless a killer and it is to the author's credit that as you read you have to remind yourself that this is the case. Neville has a light but firm touch that avoids the traps of introducing a supernatural element to a crime novel. The situation is outlined with crisp, unemotional prose that allows the reader to come to his or her own conclusion; are these creatures really ghosts or are they the bleak imaginings of a tortured and driven man? Which answer you provide is up to you, but what is undeniable is this element is so well done that it adds a chill to the proceedings and another level to your reading pleasure. The more conscionable among you will wonder that you can take entertainment from a subject like this, but surely such is the world that the regular reader of crime fiction inhabits. Whatever your view, Neville has carefully set out the issues that continue to face post-ceasefire Northern Ireland. He displays it as a confused land; a country working to create a future amid a peace recognised by its people as duplicitous, but accepted as better than a continued struggle. Politics aside, The Twelve is a brilliant thriller, an exciting and - at times - unbearably tense read. Be warned; pick it up and you won't be able to place it aside until you turn over that last satisfying page.

Reviewed By: