blog awards, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blackwatertown – Paul Waters*

When maverick police sergeant Jolly Macken is banished to a sleepy 1950s Irish border village, he vows to find the killer of his brother – even if the murderer is in the police. But a lot can happen in a week. Over seven days Macken falls in love, uncovers dark family secrets, accidentally starts a war, and is hailed a hero and branded a traitor. When Blackwatertown explodes into violence, who can he trust? And is betrayal the only way to survive?

Paul Waters is an award-winning BBC producer and co-presenter of the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, shortlisted for 2020 Books Podcast of the Year. Paul grew up in Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ and went on to report and produce for BBC TV and radio.

His claim to fame is making Pelé his dinner. Paul has covered US politics, created a G8 Summit in a South African township, gone undercover in Zimbabwe, conducted football crowds, reported from Swiss drug shooting-up rooms, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba and produced the World Service’s first live coverage of the 9/11 attacks on America.

He also taught in Poland, drove a cab in England, busked in Wales, was a night club cook in New York, designed computer systems in Dublin, presented podcasts for Germans and organised music festivals for beer drinkers. He lives in Buckinghamshire and has two children.

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My thoughts:

This is a blackly comic tale of an unfortunate Catholic cop in hotly contested Protestant country close to the Northern Irish border. Macken is sent to Blackwatertown as punishment, and to replace another police officer who has died in a tragic accident; he also happens to have been Macken’s brother.

Unfortunately for Macken, his investigation into Danny’s death is derailed by a flare up of Republican violence, dragging the small barracks into chaos.

He’s also distracted by romantic entanglements and local politics.

Macken is a sympathetic figure, a man just trying to do his best in a world gone mad.

The twists towards the end are absolutely shocking and totally unexpected, spinning the story off in another direction entirely.

A lot of research has clearly gone into the 1950s setting and it makes it feel more real – these conflicts were real and affected many people.

A really interesting addition to the genre of historical crime fiction.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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