A Savage Hunger by Claire McGowan review

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A Savage Hunger is the fourth book in Claire McGowan’s Paula Maguire series about a forensic psychologist based in the fictional town of Ballyterrin in Northern Ireland.

This book opens with the disappearance of a student called Alice Morgan, a member of a high-profile family. The police are called to investigate and are presented with an intriguing twist; Alice was last seen at the same religious shrine where another girl went missing from three decades earlier at the height of the hunger strikes during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Could the person responsible for the disappearance of the first girl be back?

However when Maguire interviews some fellow students of Alice she finds that they appear to have have their own skeletons in the closet. Their possible involvement in Alice’s disappearance is suggested as they appear to have a conspiracy of silence about what really happened their friend.

I will note that it’s nice to read a crime mystery set in Northern Ireland that allows the characters to speak in a way that I (as a native of the place) recognise. Also while the book is not about the Troubles it does allow the shadow of that time to work it’s way into the narrative.

While this kind of book is not normally “my thing” I did find it an entertaining enough read. My only gripe is that the the main plot seemed a little slight but it’s probably about right for the length of the book.

A Savage Hunger is published by Headline books on 10 March 2016.

Thanks to Headline for the review copy.