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The Book of Killowen (Nora Gavin #4)

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,241 ratings  ·  201 reviews
An ancient volume of philosophical heresy provides a motive for murder in this haunting, lyrical novel of forensics, archeology, and history--the fourth in an acclaimed suspense series. What sort of book is worth a man's life? After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-cen ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Scribner (first published March 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,607)
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Sue
Apr 07, 2013 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery lovers who enjoy hist fiction, Ireland, forensics and archaeology
There is something about the mixture of medieval and modern mysteries set in the Irish countryside and involving artifacts preserved in peat bogs that just makes a perfect book for me. This is my favorite episode of Erin Hart's series so far. I enjoyed the layered plot, with the multiple possible plot lines and personalities. And I enjoyed learning about medieval scribes and history through the many facts peppered into the story, (I looked up some of these things afterward online and will contin ...more
Carole Barrowman
A year has passed since American pathologist Nora Gavin "brought her sister's killer to justice," and 12 months since she began sharing Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire's bed, and together, they've been adjusting their domestic life to Cormac's father Joseph's aphasia (result of a stroke). Nora and Cormac are asked to join "the recovery team" for an ancient bog man discovered with the body of a Dublin TV host submerged in a Tipperary swamp. Nora and Cormac lodge with a community of artists at ...more
For the Love of Books & Alcohol Blog
This book was simply brilliant. I am still reeling from the creativity of Author Erin Hart. The way she intertwined the ancient history with modern Ireland was truly enthralling. The use of archeology to help solve the mystery was almost as much fun as the mystery itself. I don’t think I could have enjoyed this book more.

Nora & Cormac are dynamic characters dripping with intelligence and charisma. I will happily read any book starring these two. I was instantly attracted to them and found th
...more
Keilani Ludlow
Ah Erin Hart, it’s a love hate relationship with this author. She doesn’t shy away from the vulgar F word which I so hate, and some of her books have been a little too descriptive for me in the sex category. But gosh darn it, I just love the history in her mystery!

We have the familiar characters of Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire, along with the detective from the last book. And of course, all sorts of juicy new characters to try and figure out. A bog man is found, along with a recently killed man
...more
Minty McBunny
When I started this book, I had to roll my eyes a bit. I mean, I am willing to believe that people with Nora & Cormac's jobs would see a bog body several times in a short period of time. Maybe. But that they'd see a bog body somehow tied in with a more modern murder victim once, much less 3 times in 4 years defies credulity. I actually was kind of fed up with the device after book 2 and wouldn't have gone on with the series if not for the fact that I thought book 3 might be a departure, with ...more
Pamela Rose
The Book of Killowen is a triumph in the series by Erin Hart featuring archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin. The intriguing question is asked, “What sort of book is worth a man’s life?

The Book of Killowen is a manuscript written by an ancient scribe who was ultimately murdered and thrown into a bog due to the writing’s heretical nature. Enter Maguire and Gavin, called onto the scene who discover yet another set of remains, and not so ancient, mixed in with the bog man’s.

Hart’
...more
Ag
Fairly good murder mystery, first time I have read Erin Hart. The characters are fairly well developed, the story line is pretty good and the ending is ok. Although the subject matter is interesting, Medieval Irish history/book, it could have used more history and why the book of Killowen was so important, the author goes into the relevance, but only briefly, more could have been said as to why people would kill for this book. There is an additional storyline, which does not really add to the ma ...more
Martha
Thank goodness Erin Hart has returned to the Irish bog after that unfortunate interlude in Minneapolis in the third book of this series. This one had some interesting themes (ancient books, calligraphy, philosophy....) although ultimately the plot got pretty convoluted, with too many subplots (not all of them entirely believable), and not enough development of some of the main characters. Still a good read, although the gallnuts were hard to swallow.... (sorry, could not resist). Also, a lot of ...more
Linda
This is on whole a good mystery, but Hart did not know when to stop, with extraneous plot twists at the end that do not add to the story, but maybe just an opportunity for her to make some political point. On the other hand, the book provides fascinating, well-researched details about 1100-year-old Irish scholars, scribes and books. Police and archaeologists must work together to unravel both a modern and ancient murder, with plenty of suspicious residents around a bog where the bodies are found ...more
Kate
I enjoyed this book very much and now want to go back and read the previous books by this author.
Well-written, with an interesting plot involving lost manuscripts, a bog man, contemporary murders, and lots of buried secrets, the story stars Nora and Cormac, archaeologists who come to rescue and study the body of a man preserved in a peat bog and stay at an artists' retreat while they do so. A breadth of colorful characters inhabit the site and the story, along with a very human detective who he
...more
Judith
This mystery is the first I have read of this author. I found the characters interesting, tho a little hard to keep track of their relationships; if I had read the books in order I think I would have obviated this problem. The mystery is actually several, and so the plot is complicated, but I particularly liked the glimpse of archaeology in Ireland and will continue to read the other books in the series. I was amused, as a professor of history and Classics, at some of the characters' surprise th ...more
Merryellen Towey Schulz
I love books set in Ireland, love history and like mysteries, so I enjoyed this book. It reminds me of the murder mysteries of the 20th century with many characters and multiple possible perpetrators involved in convoluted plots that are all nicely tied up by the end. While some readers find the various story lines distracting, I like that they add depth to the characters and provide added insight into the culture of the location of the story. The author uses language well and, at times, even ly ...more
Susan
The book opens with a murder. A scholar is stabbed and pushed into the bog but his assistant escapes with his precious book. When a body is found in a bog many centuries later, detective Stella Cusack is happy to call in forensic pathologist Nora Gavin as soon as it is dated to the early medieval period. However, the detective must return to the scene when a second body of much more recent vintage is found lying under the first. Since the ancient body is now evidence in a murder investigation it ...more
Denise Foley
Erin Hart is a master of plot twists and turns plus she infuses her mysteries with fascinating tidbits about Irish mythology and history, forensics, and, in this one, a little botany. Great characters--and a lot of them--and a satisfying ending. More than this you can't ask. A ripping good read.
Sheyna Galyan
What begins as one mystery quickly turns into several, all deftly intertwined and slowly but satisfactorily solved by the end of the book. Erin Hart's research is evident on every page, her knowledge of the subject giving depth to the story. A truly wonderful read!
Linda
Feb 14, 2013 Linda added it
holy crap.
I loved this. It hit the sweet spot for me of murder, history and books. Right there.
Cried at the end but not where you might think.
Full disclosure, I am working on some publicity for Erin and her husband Paddy right now so I can't say any more.
Luanne
Wonderful series! I love it. It was good to be back in the world of Nora and Cormac. Their group now includes his father which adds a nice dimension to the storyline. I hope this series continues for a long time.
Kathy Craton
No mere words can do this book justice

Wonderful storytelling at its best. Claire to me is the stand out main character in this book. But wait there are others also. Just read the book and if you haven't read this authors other books start with the first one before reading this one. One question I have is why there are at least four or five editing mistakes in this book. Is this the result of the printers or the editors of the book. A work of art, yes to me a writer's books that are of this calib
...more
Ali
Jan 08, 2014 Ali rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: thrills
There were a lot of things about this book that were a surprise.

1. That found it at a local goodwill in such amazing condition.
2. That it took me more than two days to read.
3. That it was a part of a series.
4. That it really didn't matter that it was a part of a series.
5. That I truly enjoyed reading this book.

I picked this up at a local goodwill, along with a whole pile of other books. I am extremely interested in Irish culture, so this book caught my eye. I really can't say anything truly
...more
Cary Griffith
The Book of Killowen is the first Erin Hart novel I’ve read; it won’t be the last. I especially enjoyed the prologue, which harkened back to a centuries old murder committed on the Irish bogs.

Killowen is filled with lots of interesting characters doing lots of interesting things. The prologue's ancient murder is quickly eclipsed by another, present day crime, and we are off and running through verdant country where suspects abound. Practically everyone had a reason to see the victim dead and Ha
...more
???!!!
Jun 18, 2014 ???!!! rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
I have to say Erin Hart's writing reminded me of Ariana Frankilin, so lyrical and intellectual. I was pulled into a foreign world so filled with mystery and knowledge. Since recently I just finished Elly Griffiths book so I hope this book would not be similar. Thank goodness it didn't. It didn't have the romanticism nor the heroism . However it did still contain the cliche of all detective, a ruined sacrificed or ignored family. Hence I didn't like the ending. Thought it came out of no where.

I w
...more
Lisa
The Book of Killowen is the fourth and most recent book in author Erin Hart's series of mysteries featuring pathologist Nora Gavin and archaeologist Cormac Maguire, who tend to find themselves entangled in modern murders as they study Ireland's ancient past. In this volume, an ninth century bog body is found in the boot of a car, atop the body of a minor TV celebrity.

I do like Hart's books a lot. I adore the mix of the past and the present and I find them very easy to read – I devoured The Book
...more
Beryl
Erin Hart’s first book, Lake of Sorrows, induced me to start reading more mysteries. There was no way I could resist a tale that takes place in the bogs of Ireland, especially when it involves an ancient bog head with no body. When I learned she’d returned to the bogs in her most recent book. I was pleased. I did enjoy this book, however. There's plenty of mystery to keep a reader engrossed -- an ancient body and a body of a well-known acidic commentator found in the same bog at the same time, a ...more
Melissa
Book number 3 is still my favorite in this series, but this one was a close 2nd. Lots of twists and turns in the plot while reintroducing characters from previous books

"An ancient volume of philosophical heresy provides a motive for murder in this haunting, lyrical novel of forensics, archeology, and history--the fourth in an acclaimed suspense series. What sort of book is worth a man's life? After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are
...more
Sandy Weir
Lost my review and starting over (how annoying to start like this)!

But, I have enjoyed all of the previous Erin Hart titles and get a lot of pleasure out of the maps. This time there were three well done maps.. better and better. Also the historical notes and parallels between real historic events and fictional, gives the novel such a rich sense of authenticity. I noted that a newish character took quite a lot of time in the story, Stella. I liked her, but felt shorted on Nora and Cormac (even t
...more
Toni Osborne
Book 4, in the Nora Gavin series

As in the previous installment “The Book of Killowen” is born from events and figures from Ireland’s rich past and mysterious present. The author’s vivid imagination has added to her historical mystery a tad of science and a wonderful murder caper to captivate us.

Nora Gavin, her protagonist is a forensic pathologist who has found a new life in Ireland with her lover, archaeologist Cormac Maguire. They are called to investigate murders rooted deep in Irish history
...more
Ruth
Two murders set in rural Ireland, one in the late 800s and one from today's news, blend to create an interesting storyline. The characters are engaging, but I made the mistake of starting with the 4th book Erin Hart's series. It's hard for an author to bring new readers up to speed without boring those who started with the first novel and I was working hard to figure out the backstory when I started the book. After the first 1/3 of the book, I felt comfortable with the characters, their skills a ...more
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
When an archaeologist and Pathologist are called out to the bogs to investigate the finding of an ancient body, they discover that there is another corpse underneath it. And this one is recently dead. The missing Benedict Kavanagh who is known for his television debates turns out to be the recently deceased. Nora and Carmac stay at a nearby Killowen, an organic farm community, during their investigation to find out who might be connected to Benedict's murder and why.

They discover that the people
...more
Rachel Kahler
I came across this book at a local book store under the local author section. It sounded similar, in some ways, to a book that we read in the last year for our book club. That book ("The Crossing Places"), which got rave reviews from the members of the club.

I picked it up with the thought that, even if I don't like it, I'm supporting a local author and a local book store. It's not a cheap book, but I really didn't care.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Although it was clear that the character
...more
Lisa
Nothing to add to other 3-star reviewers. I love this author, love the Irish setting and her historical research. Love Nora & Cormac, the main characters. I liked Stella, the investigator in this fourth novel and her struggles with her teen, Lia, and the possibility of romance. I have enjoyed the previous three books very much.

BUT the actual setting of the artists' colony at Killowen and all the miscellaneous residents were hard to keep track of. I felt that the setting up of all various su
...more
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ERIN HART'S archaeological crime novels are set in the mysterious boglands of Ireland. She introduced pathologist Nora Gavin in one of the most lauded mystery debuts of 2003: HAUNTED GROUND (2003), was a Booksense 76 pick, won the Friends of American Writers award and Romantic Times' Best First Mystery, was shortlisted for Anthony and Agatha awards, and translated into ten foreign languages. LAKE ...more
More about Erin Hart...

Other Books in the Series

Nora Gavin (4 books)
  • Haunted Ground (Nora Gavin, #1)
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • False Mermaid (Nora Gavin #3)
Haunted Ground (Nora Gavin, #1) Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2) False Mermaid (Nora Gavin #3) Books to Die For

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