OVER the last six or seven months, almost all of us at some point have dreamt of escaping to a remote island, far from the maddening confusion of the oxymoronic ‘new normal’.
And while Station Island on Lough Derg maybe wasn’t what you had in mind, it proves to be a stunning location for the new novel ‘Turncoat’ from Killeeshil author Anthony Quinn.
It’s been three years since Anthony Quinn featured in the Herald’s Big Interview weekly feature and for two of those years, he has been busy researching and perfecting his latest spy-thriller.
And the timing of its release – which is later next month – couldn’t come at a more suitably atmospheric time of year.
“Here’s a spy thriller with an island setting that could be the perfect refuge for readers to hunker down and see out the grim winter ahead…” reads the trailer.
“A guilt-ridden detective’s search for an informer takes him to Station Island, Lough Derg, where everything seems ghostly and uncertain until the end when the hunter becomes the hunted. A pilgrimage through conscience and memory told in the style of an intense psychological thriller.”
Back in 2018 when he began writing Turncoat, Anthony had planned to base just one chapter on the famous Station Island. That all changed when he undertook the pilgrimage and Lough Derg thrust itself forward as a lead character in the tale.
“I didn’t realise how much of an impact Lough Derg would have on me. To have all the normal distractions of everyday life taken away, no phones or television and just being cut-off from the outside world, was a really powerful experience,” he said.
“Even for those who are not religious, I would recommend a trip to Lough Derg to anyone, just to escape and take time out.
“After travelling to Lough Derg, I decided to base the whole novel on the island. It was the perfect setting, as all the main characters where on the island and where isolated there which added to the story.
“Lough Derg is a very immersive experience for anyone who travels to it and in this book I wanted to communicate that to the reader and to really reflect the importance of the island as a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of years.”
Anthony who has enjoyed significant success, right around the world, for his previous novels which centred on the detective Celsius Daly, says he wants his latest offering to explore the Troubles and the search for truth and justice, which is still such a contentious issue to this present day.
“With this book, I wanted to make a statement on the impact of the Troubles and the ongoing search for answers and justice,” he continued.
“It is really a meditation on guilt and the search for truth. The book itself is a spy-thriller so it will appeal to anyone, whether they have a knowledge of the Troubles or not.”
Set in 1994, Turncoat probes the legacy of the Troubles, the loss of collective memories and the moral consequences for the individual.
The sole survivor of a murderous ambush, a Belfast police detective is forced into a desperate search for a mysterious informer that takes him to a holy island on Lough Derg, a place shrouded in strange mists and hazy rain, where nothing is as it first appears to be.
With the release of the book just a few short weeks away, Anthony is busy preparing to the promotion which will of course be impacted by the ongoing restrictions and uncertainty.
“It has been a very challenging time for everyone over this last few months and it looks like it could be here for some time yet.
“But I am hoping that Turncoat will provide some sort of escape for the readers as we face into the long winter ahead.”
Turncoat, which is released on November 26, has already gained a host of winning reviews.
‘The atmosphere of foreboding darkness creeps off the pages like a chilling fog… Powerful and scary,’ Sunday Times.
‘Superbly original,’ Sunday Express.
‘Beautifully written… a novel that demonstrates how capacious the crime fiction genre can be,’ Independent.
‘Carefully wrought, often lyrical prose, always rich with foreboding,’ Booklist.
Posted: 3:21 pm November 1, 2020