Liam McIlvanney - All the Colours of the Town (4 stars)

Liam McIlvanney's debut thriller 'All the Colours of the Town'

In an age in which the sins of our politicians provide regular column inches and minimal shock value, Liam McIlvanney successfully delivers a powerful thriller, rich in colour and skilfully imagined. Jobbing political hack Gerry Conway is in a bind when he receives a dubious tip-off about Scottish Justice Minister Peter Lyons. At first uninspired, he soon finds himself in Belfast, knee-deep in the sectarian violence of the past, caught up in a perilous search for loyalty and truth amidst decades of cover-ups and lies.

As a debut outing, All the Colours of the Town refreshingly avoids cliché, and successfully discovers new ground within the Irish conflict, with McIlvanney’s snapshots of today’s news values and the hypocrisies etched at the heart of our political system giving the story pace and substance. The focus wavers a little in the middle but there is more than enough here to keep the reader intrigued before the inevitable pay-off.


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