Because of a debilitating illness, Dr.Brian O’Hare [B.A., ADCE(Hons.), M.A., Ph.D] took early retirement in 1998 from his post as Assistant Director of a large Regional College in Newry in Northern Ireland. It transpired that he had an irreversible liver disease (a childhood affliction) that required a liver transplant. Married with three children and ten grandchildren, he now enjoys full health, plays golf, and writes from time to time.
He is author of several academic works as well as two memoirs, and five award-winning fiction novels, including the Crimson Cloak’s Inspector Sheehan Mystery Series. Look for the first four award-winning books in the Sheehan series, The Doom Murders,The 11.05 Murders, The Coven Murders, and The Dark Web Murders, available from a variety of distributors such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and Ingram.
There are also three Crimson Short Stories featuring Inspector Sheehan: Murder at Loftus House, Murder at the Roadside Cafe, and Murder at the Woodlands Care Home.
Also by Brian O’Hare:
The Miracle Ship– award winning religious non-fiction.
Fallen Men – award winning contemporary fiction.
A Spiritual Odyssey– a spiritual/medical memoir.
Interviews with Brian O’Hare:
Get his books on Apple i-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/brian-ohare/id730354149?mt=11
Social Media Links
The Miracle Ship
YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU’RE READING BUT EVERY WORD IS TRUE!!
Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in demonic possession? Do you believe in exorcism?
A little girl with irreparable brain damage was pronounced dead by two hospital specialists. Today she is a healthy teenager. A teenage boy whose spine was crushed by a lorry was diagnosed as permanently paralysed. He now plays football with his friends. A curse that brought death over five generations has been lifted. People tormented by demons have been set free. How were such miracles wrought? What do they have in common? They have John Gillespie in common.
Who is he? How has he been gifted with such extraordinary power? The Miracle Ship tells John’s story. But it does so much more than that. Yes, the book essentially focuses on miracles. Yes, it contains many extraordinary stories of healing and deliverance. Yes, it focuses strongly on the spiritual warfare that so many Christians are engaged in without any awareness of its dangers. But the book goes to the very heart of what is needed to find healing and deliverance. It tells of the obstacles and difficulties that get in the way of true healing prayer. It reveals the many pitfalls that lie in wait in seemingly innocent healing practices. It spells out in detail the serious dangers that underpin many apparently beneficial New Age therapies. And it offers many examples of the kinds of prayers and life-styles that can bring healing to the body and to the mind. It can even turn around lives that are falling apart (and this has already been several times communicated to the author or John Gillespie by people who have already read this book on Kindle.) This is a book that should be read by all Christians. John’s message is profoundly insightful and, if it is uncompromising, it is laced with faith, forgiveness and truth. Many who have already read the book have described it as ‘life-changing.’ This true account of his life, of the miracles and deliverances that follow his prayers, will amaze you. Millions of people love to hear and read about miracles. Sr. Briege McKenna’s book Miracles Do Happen has sold all over the world in its millions. If you read and liked Miracles Do Happen, you’ll love The Miracle Ship .
A young priest’s life spirals out of control when long-submerged memories of childhood abuse begin to surface. He seeks solace in a friendship with a beautiful seventeen-year-old-choir girl but this leads to a frenzied love affair that ends in disaster. Fallen Men touches on some dark themes but it is ultimately a novel of redemption.
Reviewed by Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite
A Story of Three Priests by Brian O’Hare was a challenging read for me. Not challenging in a bad way; it was just challenging. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked it up. Was it a treatise on Catholicism or a moral lesson regarding the priesthood? Was it a cautionary tale regarding the perils of crossing boundaries? As a Catholic, I hoped it wasn’t going to be a bashing of my faith. What I found was none of those things. Fallen Men follows the stories of three priests, Father Dan, Father Ray and Father McGennity, each of whom has dealt or is dealing with some demons of their own. While each has an abiding love for God and their faith, each is tempted by the world, and their belief in the finality of their vows is shaken to the core.
Author Brian O’Hare does an excellent job of describing the inner turmoil of these three fallen priests. His writing style is clear and distinct and he writes with both a sensitivity and an empathy towards his characters that is second to none. Fallen Men: A Story of Three Priests would appeal to any reader who enjoys fiction, but especially those with an interest in Catholicism or Christianity in general, or those who enjoy a book that looks deeply into the psychology of how a decision is made. I am pleased to be able to recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing story by a very promising author.
THE INSPECTOR SHEEHAN MYSTERIES:
The Doom Murders
Prominent figures in Belfast are being murdered. The bodies are left naked and posed in grotesquely distorted shapes. No clues are left at the forensically immaculate crime scenes except odd theatrical props and some random numbers and letters concealed at each scene by the killer. How are the victims linked? What is the connection between these killings, the bible, and a famous mediaeval painting of The Last Judgement?
Review of The Doom Murders, winner of a Readers’ Favourite Bronze Award
The author is a master of the genre. The first sentence – ‘DCI Jim Sheehan studied the mutilated corpse.’ is almost a tongue in cheek acknowledgement of the lovably cliched parameters of the genre; but our discovery in paragraph 3 that the naked body posed on its back with its tongue pulled three inches out of its mouth and ‘knife wounds all over the place’ belongs to the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor provides an intriguing indication that this is going to give you rather more to think about than your average ‘whodunit’ by an author whose sole purpose is to challenge/tease his readers with carefully concealed clues and myriad red herrings along the way.
Professor O’Hare is a retired academic with a deep interest and involvement in Roman Catholicism. The story’s setting is the uneasy aftermath of sectarian strife during the ‘troubles’ in Belfast: opposing doctrines, intransigence, grinding poverty, and religious and nationalist causes being brandished as feeble excuses for mindless violence. A primary concern in this book however, is how disturbing many sincere Catholics find the effect of modern liberal thinking on their Church’s traditional stance concerning such fundamental issues as divorce and homosexuality. The desire for former straight-line certainties is symbolised by the yearning of many traditionalists for the ‘Old Latin Mass’, the Modern English version seeming hardly different from its anodyne, Protestant/Anglican counterpart.
Beliefs deeply and unquestioningly held in childhood may be shed in the hurly-burly of modern life, especially when facing the routine challenges of being a policeman in Belfast; only to return to haunt the erstwhile holder, leaving him or her with a sense of spiritual longing unfulfilled. In other situations, an excess of misdirected zeal may lead a psychologically disturbed adherent to take God’s clearly stated Law into what they imagine to be divinely guided hands. This is Belfast after all: no half measures. “This is where I have always stood, and this is where I will continue to stand.” I can still hear Ian Paisley saying it.
A compelling murder mystery is played out in this complex setting. I found it an absorbing and thought-provoking read. The occasional textual inaccuracies and layout anomalies referred to by some earlier reviewers have been entirely dealt with and are no longer a minor distraction. This is a well-written and unusually profound example of the genre, which I recommend without reservation.
Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers’ Favorite
The Doom Murders by Brian O’Hare is a story of a few murders. To begin with, a bishop is killed in a grotesque manner and the only notable clue from the naked body is an alphanumeric word. During the police investigation itself, more deaths of a comparable nature take place. When clues fail to emerge pointing to a plausible theory as to the criminal, the investigators turn to all possible forms of help, one being religious doctrine. With the help of biblical experts, the investigators manage to decode the writings retrieved from the scene of the crime, especially the alphanumeric word and its possible relevance, which leads the police in a totally unexpected direction.
The Doom Murders by Brian O’Hare is mystery at every turn of the page. The painstaking, repetitive and dry nature of detective work in solving a murder is shown in its real depth. To that end, O’Hare writes with a keen eye for detail with his tale evolving at a surprisingly fast pace. The stereotypes that dominate popular crime thrillers, especially these days, are notable by their absence and O’Hare leans toward the human side of his characters, imbuing them with a real world presence that is in turn witty and passionate. This is most evident in his lead, Jim Sheehan, who in his introspection wrestles with the conflicts of faith as his investigations progress. It’s a cleverly contrived and highly thought provoking plot. A great crime thriller and an enthralling read.
The 11:05 Murders
Three people are murdered on separate Tuesday evenings at precisely 11.05. Random clues point to random suspects, but too many questions remain unanswered. Why 11.05pm for each killing? Is there any connection between these deaths and a rape that occurred at Queen’s university twelve years before? What is the connection between the killings and Sergeant Stewart’s mystery informant?
Who is the violent stalker who twice nearly kills Detective Allen? What is his connection, if any, to the murders? When one of his team is kidnapped, Inspector Sheehan has literally only minutes to make sense of these questions if he is to save his colleague’s life.
He comes and goes as he pleases: even when the police know the target, the date and the time of his next murder, he still kills his victim and escapes without being apprehended. Who can stop a killer like this?
Three people are murdered on separate Tuesday evenings at precisely 11:05. Random clues point to random suspects, but too many questions remain unanswered. Why 11:05pm for each killing? Is there any connection between these deaths and a rape that occurred at Queen’s university twelve years before? What is the connection between the killings and Sergeant Stewart’s mystery informant? Who is the violent stalker who twice nearly kills Detective Allen? What is his connection, if any, to the murders? When one of his team is kidnapped, Inspector Sheehan has literally only minutes to make sense of these questions if he is to save his colleague’s life.
‘The 11:05 Murders’ was chosen as ‘the solo medallist winner’ in the Mystery Category of The New Apple 2016 Summer eBook Awards for Excellence
“The first thing I thought after reading this book is: why isn’t Brian O’Hare better known in the crime writing world? This man is extremely talented, and his book a wonderful ‘whodunnit’ that left me guessing until the end”
[Joseph Sousa, Crime-writer]
“Head and shoulders above most mystery authors who are published today, Brian O’Hare deserves far wider recognition. You won’t regret purchasing his books.”
[CBT, Amazon Reviewer]
The Coven Murders
The Coven Murders opens with a horrifying account of a ritual Black Mass with a human sacrifice in an abandoned church. Twenty-one years later, near an old ruined church in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team discover the skeleton of a young woman. But what seems initially to be a straightforward case, brings the team into conflict with a powerful Satanist who has plans to offer up to Satan another human sacrifice on the evening of the great Illuminati feast of Lughnasa. Several murders occur, baffling the Inspector until he makes a connection between the modern murders and the twenty-one year old skeleton. The team’s pursuit of the murderer, and their determination to protect a young woman who is targeted by the coven, lead to a horrific climax in a hellish underground crypt where Sheehan and his team, supported by an exorcist and a bishop, attempt to do battle with the coven and a powerful demon of Baphomet, jeopardising not only their lives, but risking the wrath of Satan upon their immortal souls.
Review for THE COVEN MURDERS (Tometender.blogspot.com)
Chief Inspector Sheehan has seen the evil in mankind, but is he ready to take on the demons of Hell when he uncovers a Satanic coven while investigating several gruesome murders? Could a two decade old skeleton tossed off in the woods be a key connection in stopping another ritual killing?
A young woman has been targeted for death and Sheehan’s team will do anything to prevent her murder, but is he willing to risk his eternal soul?
Prepare to be held captive from start to finish in Brian O’Hare’s THE COVEN MURDERS a stand-alone novel in the Inspector Sheehan Mysteries series as murder takes on an even darker countenance in the name of the devil and his demonic minions.
Feel the camaraderie between a team working together, hear the natural dialogue, and become part of the team assigned to solve these horrendous murders while piecing together the past with the present in order to prevent another twisted death. But, can they fight demons without the help of the Church? Will their cohesive nature be undermined by something they cannot see?
Brian O’Hare has crossed suspense, the occult and ritualistic sacrifices to create a mind-bending thriller that is taut, believable and magnetic. Filled with stark and raw details, these scenes come alive, the tension is at fever pitch as we watch a group of dedicated investigators go above and beyond to fight evil.
I was impressed with how well each character was developed, how human they felt and how Mr. O’Hare brought this tale to life with bold writing and true mastery of his craft! If you think you can figure out who the killer is, think again…
The Dark Web Murders
I am Nemein I am not a murderer. I am emotionally detached from my killings. I am, therefore, an instrument of Nemesis, a punisher. This is a theme running through a number of blogs on the Dark Web, written by a serial killer. He is highly intelligent and employs philosophical argument to justify a series of gruesome murders. However, he describes the killings in lurid detail, and with such gloating relish, that he utterly negates his delusion of detachment and reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, narcissistic psychopath.
Sheehan and his team rush headlong down a series of blind alleys in the pursuit of the psychopath, who continues to murder his victims with impunity. He is fiendishly clever, utterly ruthless, and tests Sheehan’s famed intuition to the limit. Indeed, Sheehan only learns the truth during a horrific climax when some members of his team experience a most harrowing ‘laceration of the soul’ that they will never be able to forget. It is unlikely that the reader will either.
[Following is a volunteer review of “The Dark Web Murders” by Brian O’Hare.]
Brian O’Hare’s Dark Web Murders is as exceptionally thrilling as his initial three novels in his murder mysteries series. The plots are all incredibly diverse and imaginative, and O’Hare offers the perfect amount of detail for reader imagery, but not too much as to overwhelm the readers. The 11:05 Murders, I will say, contains the least amount gore among the works, but they are all written with a tasteful amount of detail.
Dark Web Murders plays on religion enough that I should mention it, but it is nothing compared to the Satanist characters involved his last work The Coven Murders. The mention of religion is not obscene or repeated enough to cause anyone to overlook this piece of fiction on that basis alone. However, this work does, in its entirety, involve and revolve around sexual deviancy. Homosexuality is a major theme explored in the work, but nothing that should prevent readers leery of such topics from enjoying this literary puzzle. The sex crimes mentioned in this book, however, may be a red flag for those sensitive to rape, pedophilia, or abuse. As mentioned previously, O’Hare leaves much to the imagination while still painting a relatively good picture for his audience. Furthermore, the sadistic nature of O’Hare’s criminals is not for the faint-hearted, so this murder mystery series is definitely directed towards a mature audience of literary intellect privy to solving murder scenarios similar to those witnessed on famous crime shows such as CSI.
Dark Web Murders encompasses Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan and his team as they work to uncover the identity of a psychotic serial killer with an affinity for police truncheons. This thrilling tale is unique to the previous novels in the series because the murderer leaves the reader clues to solve the case in the form of blog posts on the dark web. The imaginative nature of this novel leaves me in utter awe at O’Hare’s talent as an author. This is the first novel in the series that I have come close to solving before the intuitive Chief Sheehan, and I hope to finally beat him at his own game in the next installment.
The characters develop even more in this novel and we get a sneak peek into the romance of Tom and Denise, a romance I enjoyed reading about in The 11:05 Murders. This book is strictly about the case, so readers looking for a romantic side story may be misled by O’Hare’s second installment of the series, but, with another addition to the series in the works, there is no predicting where O’Hare decides to go next with his well-written characters.
The aspect I like most about this book is O’Hare’s consistency in initially giving a glimpse of a seemingly unrelated crime that the audience is left to tie into the story. The idea to include ciphering and codes in this novel was also exciting, and I was surprised that I could not figure it out before the characters did! There were no aspects to this novel that I disliked; while I would have enjoyed more character development in Denise Stewart, I realize the intent of the series is focused on the mind-boggling clues that the reader, along with Sheehan’s men, must decipher.
Incredibly well edited, O’Hare creates a seamless environment for the reader to be immersed, and I have come to realize that starting one of his novels on a busy day is never a good idea because I am never able to put it down! Once again, I have solved a murder in just two days! If only results were that fast in real crime-fighting.
I rate Dark Web Murders by Brian O’Hare a 4/4 for providing another amazing puzzle that never fails to baffle. The previous works of this series have been phenomenal, so this novel had high expectations to meet. O’Hare has once again knocked it out of the park! I should mention though, that the Northern Ireland setting includes language that is unnatural to myself, being an American, but this did not deter me in the slightest or hinder my reading experience in the least. I recommend this book to all avid readers who enjoy a puzzle just as much as they enjoy working with the detectives in realistic fiction television series.
Amazon Customer Review of The Dark Web Murders
May 3, 2019
I received an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
Although this is the fourth book in the Inspector Sheehan Mystery series, this is the third book I’ve read because I caught up on it in the second book, the 11:05 Murders and I have kept reading the new ones. And I can confirm that I have enjoyed them all. By the way, any readers of this book who enjoy it but haven’t read the first one in the series either, I recommend you keep reading the book until the end, including the extra materials, because the author kindly offers copies of the first book to any readers who request them directly. So there’s no excuse. (And that makes me think… what am I waiting for?)
This fourth instalment in the series has all the elements fans have come to love, and any readers of police procedurals would expect to find. There are weird murders, a clever and truly twisted murderer, bizarre clues and possible motives, plenty of red herrings, twists and turns galore and a fascinating background to the story (the dark web, a pretty unique club, corruption, debauchery, blackmail… even Brexit makes an appearance!). If you love puzzles and crosswords you’ll have a slight advantage when trying to solve the case, but you need to keep your wits about you and pay close attention to even the smallest details (although I must confess that I did not guess the murderer this time, and I was derailed by a red herring. On my defence, though, I did uncover one of the major clues faster than the members of the team and even the expert, but then, although I hardly do crosswords these days, I used to be a fan).
It also has the Northern Irish setting that is always an important aspect to the stories in the series, and in this case there are no paranormal aspects, like in the last book, but we have interesting philosophical and moral debates about the nature of justice, retribution, and the risks inherent in taking the law in one’s hands.
One of my favourite aspects of the books in this series is the interaction between the members of the team, who are all unique but work together well, despite moments of tension and misunderstandings. We get to learn more about the characters, we see how even some that seemed very set in their ways have developed and play a bigger role in this novel, and I was pleased to catch up with them. That does not mean this book cannot be read as a stand-alone. In fact, the author has followed readers’ suggestions and has added a list of characters at the beginning of the book, including the members of the team and also those pertaining to the story, and he has also included terminology used by UK police, to make sure that readers not familiar with it have no difficulties following the action, making it even easier to follow. Although there are passing references to events from previous novels, these are not fundamental to the story or the development of the plot, and there is no cliff-hanger at the end either, so don’t hesitate to read the novel if you like the sound of it. My only word of caution would be that you are likely to get hooked onto the series, so, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The book is written in the third person, mostly from Sheehan’s point of view, although also from some of the other members of his team, and we also get a prologue (pay attention) and extremely intriguing blog posts interspersed in the book, that are clearly related to the action, that is narrated in chronological order. There is sufficient background provided to all the topics that come up in the story to ensure readers can enjoy it, but this does not unduly delay the action, and the writing flows well, and gathers momentum as it goes along. As I’ve said, it’s impossible to read the book without getting caught up in the intrigue and debating the clues as if you were another member of the team.
This is a strong and solid police procedural, with a fascinating and pretty dark case that will supposed a first-rate challenge for those who love a bit of detecting, and look for an interesting background and characters they can root for. Another gripping book by Brian O’Hare. I am eagerly awaiting the next one.
Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite.
The Dark Web Murders by Brian O’Hare follows an intelligent and ruthless serial killer who is as elusive as he is provocative. He calls himself Nemein and claims to be a nemesis, the one who metes out punishments. But he says he is not a killer, that he is detached from his killings. Now he taunts Inspector Sheehan, an intelligent and highly skilled detective, using a series of blog posts as the body count of victims rises. The killer seems to know Sheehan and knows just how to make him suffer. Follow the detective and his team as they trawl alleys that lead to dead ends. Will they ever come close to catching the elusive serial killer or will they watch helplessly as more victims are killed every day?
Brian O’Hare has a refreshing voice in the crime and mystery genres, a clear and enjoyable one. The author plunges readers into the mindset of a serial killer and forces them to navigate the darkness that inhabits the killer’s soul. From the beginning, the reader is gripped by curiosity and wants to discover more about the villain, but they quickly discover that the darkness is addictive, nourished by a grim, pervasive form of humor that rubs off on the reader. The author explores the darkest instincts of humanity and creates characters that are sophisticated and real. The novel is ingeniously plotted and the online presence of the killer gives the feeling of one who is everywhere and yet nowhere. The Dark Web Murders is suspenseful, psychologically disturbing, and emotionally engaging. An expertly written crime novel that leaves you with nightmares.
REVIEW OF THE DARK WEB MURDERS by Barbara Fox
I don’t generally read this type of mystery; I prefer cozy mysteries (which I also write) but, as long as I quickly skipped over the gory and graphic descriptions of the murders and concentrated on the characters and the story, I have to say that I appreciated The Dark Web murders. Brian O’Hare writes smoothly and immediately draws the reader into the story. The characters are interesting and the dialogue sounds like real people talking. I recommended the book to a friend, who, unlike me, is not at all squeamish, and he says it is “excellent.”
The Dark Web Murders is beautifully written. The reader gets absorbed by the story in the minute he/she starts reading and the feeling of excitement that the first pages of the book evokes never fades. While reading this novel, you become a detective; there is always this urge to know the secrets the suspects are hiding and the need to tie everything together in order to discover who the killer is.
This book is filled with thrills, mystery and darkness. It has absolutely earned 4 out of 4 stars and I strongly recommend it. It has it all: the characters are complex, the plot is well-developed, and it has an ending you definitely do not expect. There is not one negative thing I can say about this book. It is, by far, one of the best murder novels I have ever read.
Online Book Club, 14th December, 2019.
The Trafficking Murders
Lin Hui and Cheung Mingzhu win scholarships to study at Queen’s University in Belfast. Alina Balauru departs a poor farm in Romania for well paid work in Northern Ireland. Three lives harbouring long-cherished dreams. Three lives headed for tragedy.
Sheehan and his Serious Crimes Unit discover the body of one of the young women in the garden of an upmarket residence. Confronted with violent Chinese racketeers, brutal human-traffickers and a fiendishly clever killer called The Shadow, they are baffled by a case that seems to lead in two entirely different directions.
Can they find out who The Shadow is in time to save the other two victims?
5.0 out of 5 stars Harsh realities, engaging mystery, and beautiful teamwork.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 October 2020
I received an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.
I am not a big reader of series. Sometimes they seem to keep going for the sake of it, without contributing anything new or building up on any aspect of the story. Others, they become too repetitive, or they don’t manage to engage me because I don’t feel sufficiently invested in the characters and their lives. So no, I’m not a big reader of series, and lately, I’m not a big watcher of TV series either, for the very same reasons. But there are a few authors who have made me change my mind, at least when it comes to their stories, and Brian O’Hare is one of them. This is the fifth novel in the Inspector Sheehan Mysteries series, and here I am again, having read all the rest, although I only caught up on the first one recently. And, in case you’re in a hurry, yes, it’s a great read, and yes, I hope to be telling you about book 6 when it comes out.
I won’t spoil the story by going into a lot of detail about the plot. Suffice to say that the team ends up investigating/involved in two cases (one out of the personal interest of one of the members of the team rather than through the usual channels), seemingly totally unrelated, that bring them into contact with Queen’s University and their international students’ department, some pretty colourful characters from the Chinese community in Belfast, and the dark and twisted world of modern day slavery. There are many suspects; there are murders; there are red herrings; we get the usual banter between the members of the team and their collaborators (I love those interactions in particular), and we also get an opportunity to see what the members of the team have been up to and to follow their train of thought (that often might be as wrong-footed as ours).
I have talked before about one of the aspects that make this one of my favourite police procedural series. It manages to combine great plot in an interesting setting (Belfast merges the big city vibes with the peculiarities of Northern Ireland. The author includes a list of terminology related to the local police force to make sure readers not familiar with it can follow the story without difficulty, as well as a cast of members of the team) with a set of characters that come off the page as a real team, with their individual strengths and weaknesses, and their contrasting personalities, but who work well together, are true professionals, and above all, they are honest and feel deeply for their jobs and the people they serve. And they would do anything to help the other members of the team. In a fictional world full of corrupt police officer, detectives, and even whole departments, it is refreshing.
We also have new characters, both good, and bad, criminals and also victims, and this not only builds up the intrigue, but also allows us an insight into experiences that most of us will be lucky to never have suffered in our own skins. Although it is a work of fiction, it provides us with a powerful reminder of what everyday life is like for some people, even today.
Despite the seriousness of the crimes and the horrific nature of the illegal business behind it (thinking of human trafficking as a business is revolting but, unfortunately, the evidence indicates that there are people who see it that way), there is a lightness of touch and there are some amusing and tongue-in-cheek moments that give readers a break from the heartache and allow us time to regroup and keep pondering the clues and thinking of solutions to the riddle. It made me think of Italian crime series such as Inspector Montalbano or The Bastards of Pizzofalcone where you can’t help reading (and watching), not only because of the case to be solved but also because of the characters and the way the story is told. The crimes are intriguing, puzzling, and complex enough to make mystery readers eager to follow the clues (although I must confess I was no match for Sheehan’s deductive and intuitive powers this time) and try not be fooled by the red herrings, but, in my case, it has come to a point when I am happy to be fooled if that gives me another opportunity to catch up with Inspector Sheehan and his team.
The writing is fluid; this is a page-turner although the pace is not frantic and it doesn’t rely solely on action pieces to move the story along, but don’t be fooled; you need to keep your wits about you and try hard not to miss anything. The story can be read independently, although I know from personal experience that readers who’ve been following the series will enjoy the intricacies of the relationships between the members of the team and their banter much more, so I recommend reading it in full (and the author is happy to send a free copy of the first novel to those who might catch up at a later point in the series); there is a degree of telling, as is to be expected in these kinds of books (one of the members of the team talks about Sheehan’s ‘Poirot moment’ and he is absolutely right), and we are kept in the dark sometimes. Although much of the violence is kept off the page, the story is narrated in the third person from the perspective of different characters (not only Sheehan or members of his team), and that includes some of the victims, in this case victims of human trafficking, so this is not for readers who prefer a light read, as it does deal in a very nasty reality.
As you’ve probably guessed, I strongly recommend this book to readers of fictional crime novels, especially police procedurals and also mysteries in general. The setting and the subject are an added attraction, and anybody interested in these genres (rather than a cozy and gentle mystery) should try this series. Now. Don’t wait. You can thank me later.
Not many things are reliable these days, but Brian O’Hare’s novels don’t disappoint.
Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers’ Favorite
Increasingly these days, one hears about sex trafficking, but, like incest, it is very much a hidden reality that most believe doesn’t happen in their neighborhoods. That’s why well-researched novels like Brian O’Hare’s The Trafficking Murders need to be written and read. The truth about what happens to victims of trafficking is ugly indeed and explored excellently by this talented author.
O’Hare’s plotline revolves around two styles of trafficking in Belfast, Ireland. The victims come from two parts of the world, China and Romania, and from contrasting socio-economic backgrounds. All have come to Belfast for different reasons. The murder of a beautiful, well-manicured Chinese student, followed by the deaths of two handsome university lecturers, mobilizes local police. Almost simultaneously, a distraught Romanian man escapes his captors and risks his own life to free a group of young Romanian female sex slaves. As the plot unfolds and police follow leads, the stories and fates of both sides intersect, but not before Brian O’Hare has provided readers with a riveting, albeit often horrific account of what actually transpires when people fall victim to greedy, malignant traffickers. It’s gut-wrenching.
“According to the International Labour Organisation, an estimated 4.8 million women and girls are in forced sexual exploitation worldwide.” Just think: these are someone’s children. This could happen to your son or daughter. It is thanks to the concern and compassion with which Brian O’Hare creates his characters and writes his novel that readers get a thorough look at the emotional, physical, and psychological effects of trafficking on both victims and those who try to help them. O’Hare’s research and writing skills are top-notch. As a reviewer, I am thrilled to have discovered another author whose books I want to read. In fact, I was so impressed with The Trafficking Murders I’ve already ordered two of O’Hare’s other books. I can’t wait to read my next O’Hare novel.
REVIEW BY RALUCA MIHAILA — THE TRAFFICKING MURDERS by Brian O’Hare
15 Jan 2021, 13:06
4 out of 4 stars
The Trafficking Murders_ is an engaging mystery thriller that happens
in Northern Ireland. The book is the fifth installment of a series,
but it works just fine as a standalone. The _Inspector Sheehan
Mysteries_ series presents different cases solved by The Serious Crime
Unit; the team of detectives led by Chief Inspector Sheehan must deal
with a distinct serial killer in each book.
Alina Balauru, a poor farm girl from Romania, can’t believe how lucky
she is! An elegant and rich man appears out of nowhere and promises
her a good job in Ireland to help her family. However, she ends up on
a steamship, in a container, together with other unfortunate girls.
During her voyage, she meets Matei, another victim, a bright young man
that does his best to encourage her to stay positive. In the meantime,
the police find an Asian Jane Doe killed and thrown in a back yard.
Besides, more victims appear during the investigations; Chef Inspector
Sheehan and his team relentlessly chase Shadow, a mysterious villain
that seems to be involved in every murder.
My favorite thing about this book was the educational side. The author
presents various tactics used by the trafficking industry to lure
girls, boys, women, and men. The victims are not necessarily poor or
uneducated; sometimes, the promise of a better life looks like an
acceptable solution for any desperate person. The author did a great
job with the foreward that presented the modern slavery and people
trafficking industry; that created an excellent set-up for the novel.
I also loved the writing style and the banter between colleagues that
managed to insert humor despite the serious theme. The characters are
well developed, and the reader gets just enough information about the
possible suspects. I felt like I was part of the investigation team,
and I appreciated that I could formulate my own theories about the
obscure Shadow. If the reader gets confused by too many characters,
the provided list of the names is handy.
_The Trafficking Murders_ by Brian O’Hare deserves a full rating of
four out of four stars. There is nothing I disliked about this book,
and I enjoyed it immensely. I recommend the novel to any thrillers,
crime mystery, or police investigation enthusiasts. I would also
advise teen parents to read it to find more about the methods used by
the traffickers. The book serves as a cautionary tale, so young people
should not avoid it. However, a delicate audience should be aware
there are sensitive topics like sexual abuse or violence; however, the
acts are not explicit.
4 out of 4 Star review by Jessica Ernst 13/03/21
When the body of a beautiful Chinese woman appears in a rich businessman’s yard, the detectives of the Police Service of Northern Ireland have their work cut out for them. After weeks of investigation, when everyone looks like a suspect, Detective Stewart meets a man who would change everything. Matei’s story of his trip from Romania to Ireland leads detectives to discover a shocking ring of sex slavery within their city. Chief Inspector Sheehan surprises everyone on his team when he discovers the suspect through the most minute details of the investigation. In The Trafficking Murders, Brian O’Hare challenges the common perceptions of what human trafficking is, how it occurs, and who is involved.
I would rate this novel a 4 out 4 stars. O’Hare really brought the reality of trafficking to life. The description of the methods used by traffickers was heart-wrenching. Victims are misled and mistreated from the very beginning. They are broken, physically and mentally, and forced into labor. The women are drugged and forced into sex labor. The men are beaten and forced into physical labor. It is tragic and horrible. This novel really brought that to the surface.
I was really impressed with the descriptions of the brutality survived by victims. The way O’Hare dug into the intricacies of how victims are treated and what they survive was powerful. I really felt like I was experiencing the pain and confusion just as Matei and Alina were. The fact that there are real victims living through these same circumstances is tragic, but that fact made this book more genuine. It speaks to the heart in deep, moving ways.
I also really appreciated the investigation process throughout the book. It is rare to find a novel that moves fluidly, keeping the reader’s attention, and allows for a realistic timeline in police investigation. There are details regarding the interactions between different investigative units that were very realistic. Chief Inspector Sheehan worked so well with his own team but he also worked really well with sister teams, providing resources and discoveries to benefit each other and the investigation as a whole. I also appreciated the fact that the timeline was realistic. The detectives did not solve the murder in a week. They took the time they needed to do it right and moved into action when they were ready. It was refreshing to read a novel that was so true to realistic practice.
I would recommend this book to mature readers. There are descriptions of brutal living conditions and abuse. There is nothing described in detail but there is enough to infer and that might be disturbing for younger readers.
Overall, this book was fantastic. I would read it repeatedly if I could. It was powerful, meaningful, and genuine in ways that many books never live up to.
The Inspector Sheehan Crimson Cloak Shorts:
This Inspector Sheehan series consists of short stories that can double as a party mystery game. Create teams, read the story aloud, and see who can guess the murderer!
Murder at Loftus House
Adrienne Davies visits Loftus House, home of her old friend Margaret and her difficult husband Edward. There’s no love lost between him and his other houseguests, or indeed his own family. After a tension-packed evening, in the middle of the night someone screams …
Murder at the Roadside Cafe
It’s an ordinary day at Sam’s roadside diner, with the usual mix of customers. But when the lights fail a gunshot rings out – and one of them lies dead. Detective Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan must unravel a string of coincidences to determine who is the murderer.
Murder at the Woodland’s Care Home
Elderly Wilhelm Huntzinger lies dead beside his wheelchair. Inspector Jim Sheehan must discover who among the residents of the Woodlands Care Home released the brake to send him plunging to his death: but does the answer lie in the German ex-officer’s wartime history, or is it to be found nearer to home?
An autobiographical novel by Brian O’Hare
A Spiritual Odyssey
The compelling story of a dramatic physical degeneration and a spiritual awakening. The author is given a year to live but has to wait ten agonising months for the liver transplant that might save his life. During this time, he finds himself questioning the nature of his life as he struggles to understand his growing spirituality.
“Some of the medical descriptions chill the blood but the religious explorations are heart-warming.” [David McLaurin, The Tablet]“Intelligent and sensitive…very moving…gives a graphic account of suffering and anguish.” [Anthony Redmond, The Irish Catholic]“What distinguishes this book from other spiritual works is the clarity of the prose and the honesty of the author.” [Professor Art Cosgrove, Vice-Chancellor, University College , Dublin]
Brian’s story, ‘The Return’ features in volume 6 of the Crimson Cloak Anthologies.