Taking its title from the name of the road down which condemned Donegal criminals were once led, Gallows Lane follows Inspector Benedict Devlin as he investigates a series of gruesome murders in and around the Irish borderlands. When a young woman is found beaten to death on a building site, in what appears to be a sexually-motivated killing, Devlin’s enquiries soon point to a local body-builder and steroid addict. But days later, born-again ex-con James Kerr is found nailed to a tree – crucified – having been released from prison and returned to his hometown to spread the word of God.
Increasingly torn between his young family and his job, Devlin is determined to apprehend those responsible for the murders be-fore they strike again, even as the carnage begins to jeopardise those he cares about most.
Gallows Lane is the heart-stopping follow-up to Brian McGilloway's acclaimed debut Borderlands.
Gallows Lane is the second Devlin novel. It deals with a number of interlinking cases including murder, robbery and drugs thefts, ex-cons, murdering ministers and crucifixion. I suppose the book is really about forgiveness and faith. For Devlin personally, promotion comes up and he has to question his place within the station. Caroline Williams plays a much bigger part, as does PSNI man, Jim Hendry. The novel also raises issues of concern here at home, not least of which are the planting of evidence by police officers and the mixing of religion and crime. That said, despite what I’ve written here, it’s not a Troubles novel!
Borderlands changed things significantly more than I’d ever have thought. The response to the book itself boosted my confidence in myself as a writer as did the CWA Dagger nomination. In addition, on the strength of it my wife has been able to take a year or two out of work to spend with our children, which in itself makes things much easier for us and means the kids are very happy. Borderlands also allowed me to meet authors I’d always admired on a different level and revealed to me just how bloody nice both Macmillan New Writers and crime writers and readers are.
What is your typical writing day?
My typical writing day starts usually around 8.30 pm. I work full time in Derry which means I leave the house at eight in the morning and get home after five most days. Having a young family, little is done about the house until after the children go to bed around eight. Then, a mug of tea, a quick check of e-mails and I get started. I write for an hour or two per day for the months during which I’m actually writing. I aim to write 1000 words per day, though frequently I manage 2500, and sometimes I struggle to make 250. I tend to write most during the summer holidays, generally late at night.
Four random facts:-
Working on your own and the feeling of having a complete lack of control over the book’s fate.
Best thing about writing:
Borderlands was published around the time my son, Ben, started learning to spell. Any time we were in a book shop he’d open Borderlands up at the dedication page to read his name. It was my proudest moment with the book.
Writers you most admire:
Mostly crime – James Lee Burke is right up there, as are Ian Rankin and John Connolly.
Most ludicrous moment in your life:
When I was a student, I got a winter job playing a shopping-centre Santa. The first night I was driven through the town dressed in the full regalia, sitting aloft a fire engine, while the local kids shouted ‘Oi, Santa, you fat bastard.’ It was fun – and the only experience I was able to provide of working with children when I applied for teaching.