Monday, May 11, 2020

#BookReview: In Search of Brigid Coltrane by Seamus Beirne

Historical Thriller

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A lazy Sunday afternoon of fishing on an Irish lake suddenly turns into a nightmare of flight and terror when Peter Coltrane and his fourteen-year-old daughter Brigid stumble on a gruesome execution. The chase is on when the assassins find out that they have been discovered. In his small motorboat, Peter leads them in the falling darkness through the hazardous channels of the boggy terrain where they finally find refuge and think they are safe. However, the next morning, Brigid has vanished.

The ensuing rescue mission leads Peter into a Gordian knot of political and religious intrigue involving the Blueshirts--an Irish Fascist group--including Major Adler, a Nazi agent; Abbot Jonathan, the rheumy-eyed abbot of a local monastery; and Kincade, the ruthless enforcer. A shared objective unites them all: silence Peter Coltrane.

Peter must race against the clock to save Brigid. But will good trump evil, and at what cost?

I came to Seamus Beirne’s In Search of Brigid Coltrane on the heels of a public reading. I’d no experience with the author, but his depiction of the Magdalene laundries tickled my imagination. I purchased the title soon after and quickly lost myself in Beirne’s authentically Irish voice and unique brand of storytelling.

For me, In Search of Brigid Coltrane falls somewhere between Max Allan Collins’ Road to Perdition and Andrew M. Greeley’s Nuala Anne McGrail series. Beirne blends a compelling emotional storyline with an intense conspiratorial arc, then binds them together with an array of fascinating historical detail.

There’s also something to be said for the cultural undertones of the narrative. Beirne is Irish by birth, and I feel his firsthand perspective transcends his writing. His nuancing is subtle, but there’s a natural fluidity to it, a fact particularly noticeable in the cadence of his characters’ dialogue.

An engaging story beginning to end, In Search of Brigid Coltrane proved difficult to put down. A compulsively readable and recommended historical thriller.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: March 26, 2019


  1. The book is new to me. Thanks for the review. I am a fan of this genre.

    1. I'm glad you found my review useful. Historical fiction is an amazing genre and I'm happy to help readers discover titles they might not have encountered on their own.