Friday 11 August 2017



"Delaney ratchets up the suspense till the book seems poised to explode from the tension."
What's the difference between violent justice and brutal revenge?

A Dublin funeral, and three friends come together on a solemn mission to strike back against the city’s drug dealers. For Santy it’s a sacred duty to the community. For Leo, it’s an opportunity to indulge violent tendencies and pay off some debts at the same time. For Dean? Unemployed and still living at home, it isn’t as if he has anything better to do than go along with his friend’s plan.

But not everyone is playing straight, and there is more to uncover than just the name of the next target on the list. Between vengeance, idealism and greed, each begins to question the motives of the others. And when the Garda start nosing around it’s clear that somebody’s been talking, but who?

They’re about to find out that some secrets are buried for a reason.

"More than the sum of each brilliant part, The Pact is a brutal, funny and cleverly weaved together slice of hard-boiled crime. A time bomb of tension." -Paul Brazill (author of The Guns of Brixton and Cold London Blues)

Number Thirteen Press are building a list of 13 quality crime novellas by 13 different authors, published consecutively on the 13th of each month. For more information go to 

I’m a big fan of this particular publisher and intend over the next year (yes it will take me that long) to read all thirteen of their offerings. Turlough Delaney's The Pact was my sixth outing in this venture.

Having hailed from Dublin over 50 years ago myself, I’m always happy to read a crime tale set in my old home town. Married with a tale of drug dealers and low-life characters and a gang of vigilantes, I was sure I was onto a winner.

I liked elements of the tale…….the plot itself and the differing motivations of the characters involved. I enjoyed the increasing levels of tension in the relationship between them as Santy seemed intent on controlling the other two involved in the cause – Leo and Dean. I enjoyed the involvement of the Gardai into our vigilante tale and the intimation that the authorities were keen to curb our seekers of justice, less in the pursuit of law and order, more in the protection of a politician with some dubious sexual habits.

I liked the pubs and nightclubs, the funerals and the involvement however peripheral of family. I liked the bookies and the incidental violence, and the strange goings on at the knocking shop out of town.

Where it fell down for me was the unevenness of the time line. Usually I don’t mind dipping backwards and forwards in time during a narrative, and when it’s done well it adds to my enjoyment of the book. Here, I found it confusing. Perhaps some tiredness when I was reading didn’t help and maybe my mental faculties weren’t razor sharp, but there was no signposting indicating the chopping and jumping about of the story and for me it would have been helpful if there was. 

I was left with the impression that the pages in the manuscript got knocked on the floor by accident and were picked back up in a somewhat haphazard fashion.  Maybe the story would have read better chronologically, maybe it wouldn’t.

3 from 5

Turlough Delaney is an enigma wrapped up in a riddle. No author website or photo I can find.

Read in July, 2017
Published - 2015
Page count - 151
Source - review copy from Chris at the publisher - Number 13 Press
Format - Kindle 


  1. Timelines can be tricky things, Col. I know what you mean about the confusion if the author doesn't keep the story clear. Still, it does sound like a solid story, and I do like the Dublin setting.

    1. I think it just took me a while to reset my bearings every time it happened, so I kind of felt bumped out of the story each time.

  2. I like the idea of the 13 crime novellas. Not sure about this one though.

    1. I've read 7 in total now of the 13 and enjoyed most of them. This was one of my least favourites of the bunch, but still more to like than dislike.

  3. It was sounding moderately interesting, but your thoughts on the timeline business most offputting, I find dual timelines difficult at the best of times, and this does not sound like the best!

    1. I quite like it when it's not confusing. Here I found it was.