Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Twelve” as Want to Read:
The Twelve
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Twelve

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  249 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Sooner or later, everybody pays.

Gerry Fegan, a former paramilitary contract killer, is haunted by the ghosts of the 12 people he has slaughtered. Every night, on the point of losing his mind, he drowns their screams in drink. His solution is to kill those who engineered their deaths.

From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complac
Paperback, 466 pages
Published June 24th 2010 by Vintage
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 18, 2014 Andy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, favorites, 2014-trl
4.5 Stars Rounded up as a very impressive Debut!

Gritty, dark, brutal...... I think you get the gist of the content AND authentic language too, so not for those wanting a fluffy read... they can "Away and shite"

Set post Good Friday agreement in Belfast we first come across one Gerry Fegan, an ex-paramilitary released from the Maze prison over a decade before now turned to drink & down the slippery slope for the sins of his past, in a bar, shouting at the ghosts of his past that wont leave him
Nick Davies
May 26, 2016 Nick Davies rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2016
Having read a couple of Stuart Neville's novels before, I knew what to expect with regards the violent visceral nature of his books. I had been slightly disappointed by 'Ratlines' and 'Collusion' - they went a little over the top with the dark people and dark acts to the extent that I began not to care about what was happening - but having heard that this debut novel was perhaps better than what followed, I wanted to give it a try.

I am glad I did - the grim Irish setting and the style of plot wa
Jan 20, 2012 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, 2012, library-books
This is easily the best crime novel debut i have read in years. Brutal, emotional strong and very believable story. The Northern Ireland setting, troubles was well used. Gerry Fegan was a very strong character, he was fascinating to read about in a mad, scary way. The real world darkness, evil of many of the shady characters in the novel is much darker read than gory, not too real serial murder novels.

On the minus side i would say the action or violent scenes could have been written better excep
Jan 19, 2015 Shaun rated it really liked it
So my first book read for #IrishFictionFortnight and what a book to pick. I don't really feel qualified enough to comment on the subject matter, given that I don't know all that much about The Troubles, one person that does however is Stuart Neville and he has used that knowledge to create a truly authentic story, one that I feel like I have lived alongside our main character, and one that will probably stick in my mind for a long time. This is maybe the third or fourth book I've read with a sto ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Marleen rated it really liked it
My rating for this book is actually 3.5*.
This is a very violent thriller set in modern day Belfast.
A former IRA hitman is followed by the 12 ghosts of people he has killed in the past.
The ghosts insist he kills those who set them up for their deaths, and as he does so, the ghosts retreat one by one.
This was a well written book and very much a page turner.
It was also a book in which not a single character had any redeeming characteristics. Violence, corruption and betrayal were in evidence everyw
Nov 09, 2010 Robin rated it it was amazing
In a different league to most thrillers – and it's Neville first book. A washed-up Belfast hitman, Fegan, is haunted by the 12 he murdered. Then they want him to take revenge on those who ordered him to kill… Tender, brutal and completely compelling. Fegan emerges as an almost mythic figure of vengeance.
Feb 09, 2013 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norn-iron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Everest
Jul 29, 2012 Christopher Everest rated it it was amazing
Jeff Abbott writes in the information on the back of the book says that this is "an astonishing debut. Brilliantly conceived, masterfully written; both a heart-pounding thriller and a stunning examination of responsibility and revenge." He is absolutely right. It is not the kind of book I normally buy (The troubles in Northern Ireland lie well within my memory and not I would have thought, fodder for fiction, however sensitively depicted).However I bought it, I imagine, thinking it was like The ...more
Jun 27, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it
The Twelve - Guest review by Lovely Treez's OH, Lovely Bryan

Synopsis from -

"Former paramilitary killer Gerry Fegan is haunted by his victims, twelve souls who shadow his every waking day and scream through every drunken night. Just as he reaches the edge of sanity they reveal their desire: vengeance on those who engineered their deaths. From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it hap
Jackie Molloy
Nov 23, 2015 Jackie Molloy rated it really liked it
A man, who as a boy committed murder during the Northern Islands troubles of the 70’s and 80’s, is haunted by the ghosts of the people he killed. Twelve of them.
He is hounded day and night by them until he makes everyone concerned pay for the murders. Through the unravelling of the story of the past, you come to realise that the ‘soldiers of the NI’ i.e. the IRA in this story still did the most hateful and bloody things for some of the basest of motives. Money, jealousy and pride – all the deadl
Gareth Dunn
Excellent story. A bit different - a guilt ridden killer. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Well written.
Feb 24, 2012 Philip rated it liked it
I made a conscious decision when I started writing novels that even though I would set all my books in Northern Ireland, I would never mention the Troubles, politics, bigotry, religious friction and all that other bollocks that immediately springs to the minds of most of the world when you mention our screwed-up little country. Growing up, every TV show, film, play, book, and even art exhibition was about that stuff and I was well and truly sick of it. In all these pieces of entertainment (?) on ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Aoife rated it really liked it
That was...not bad but not brilliant either which makes is incredibly hard to write anything at all about.
I've read a few books/crime-novels that were written from the POV of - let's say morally questionable characters but I think apart from Leena Lehtolainen's Time to Die in which the protagonist kills abusive husbands that's the only one I read that is actually from the POV of a killer. Just like in Time to Die he only takes out characters that are even worse than him. Those who orchestrated t
Aug 08, 2009 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why is this book called The Twelve? Because on a scale of one to ten, twelve is how much it kicks ass.

Corny jokes aside, I loved this book. The opening chapter plunges you right into the action, and the tension continues to ratchet throughout. The premise is simple, which is why it's so effective: former paramilitary hitman Gerry Fegan is haunted by the ghosts of his victims, who won't stop tormenting him until he's avenged them, killing the people ultimately responsible for their deaths. No cha
Dec 01, 2012 Hellen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2012 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this book is listed as the first in a series featuring Belfast cop Jack Lennon, he is really only introduced minimally here, and former enforcer for the IRA, Gerry Fegan, is the lead character. Haunted by the ghosts of those he killed during his "career," he has been drowning his sorrows in drink since being released from prison nine years previously. Now the twelve ghosts follow him, imploring him to seek justice for them on those who engineered their deaths, even if Gerry is the one who ...more
David Campton
A compelling thriller set in post ceasefire Northern Ireland, with a ghost story thrown in. I wasn't attracted to this book by the blurb, but picked it up and started to read it when I had nothing else to hand. I was hooked immediately and went without sleep to finish it. The characters are, whilst fictional, frighteningly real, reminding me all too well of both public figures and others I have encountered over the years, working, as I have done, in a couple of the areas of Belfast that are the ...more
Jan 19, 2011 Abigail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Not only is this a wonderfully written thriller, it's an engrossing (and I would say accurate) portrayal of post-conflict Northern Ireland. "The Ghosts of Belfast", as it's called in North America, is a more suitable title -- this is a story not just about the twelve sprits that torment former paramilitary hit man Gerry Fegan, but about a society haunted by its past, desperate for a peaceful future, and at the same time reluctant to completely let go. " We've got peace now, whether we ...more
May 26, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it
I lied - I could not 'really like' this book, its subject matter is too likely to have happened, the telling of it contains quite possibly the most vividly depicted pain and violence I have ever read. Also, being the first in this particular genre - Northern Ireland politics - I've ever read I found, on one level that it was hard to understand why such men felt so strongly.
But because Stuart Neville kept me reading, kept me wanting to know, and tied it all up at the end, not too tightly, he des
Dec 07, 2009 PaulaB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping so far.
The day after:
What a ride. A strongly emotional, spiritual and religious depiction of guilt. It's northern ireland, it's post IRA, it's what remains, it's what was done for the sake of politics and money.
Everybody pays.
No sides are taken, in this gut wrenching journey of an executioner.
Everybody is to blame.
But it's redemption as well, albeit with a price tag. And redemption is mercy and mercy is woman. And the women grab your heart in their truth and their generosity, and thei
Dec 13, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing
Best book of the year for me. Gritty, realist, post The Troubles. What happens to all the hard men. Unusual story line, in that the ghosts of his victims haunt him 24 hours a day, wanting revenge for their deaths. This sets him on a killing spree he does not want, rubbing shoulders with gangsters, politicians, the British secret service and a connected local woman who is ostracised because of her marriage to a member of the RUC. It paints a picture of Belfast awash with EU grants and big buildin ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Penny rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-version
Just finished THE TWELVE by Stuart Neville. A fast paced, provocotive thriller about the troubles here in Northern Ireland. 12 spirits have come back to haunt the man that killed them, they want revenge for thier deaths and won't be happy until they get it.
It is quite uncomfortable to read in parts, when you think of mans inhumanity towards man! How men could do the things they did to another person for political gain and glory in the eyes of their peers. It is truely disgusting, but is unfortu
Thom Swennes
May 25, 2011 Thom Swennes rated it liked it
Guilt. Feelings that first elude you but eventually start to eat away at your very soul. Shadows that follow you and scream in silence keep you awake at night and haunt you during the day. What is the only escape for Gerry Fagan? Wipe out the past in blood and give the innocent victims and guilty assassin peace. This story, set in Ireland of the twenty-first century, explores the violent past and exposes the debts that must be paid. It is a good book and a must in any ones collection.
Nic Gee
Nov 15, 2012 Nic Gee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is brilliant. It is set in Northern Ireland and is so different for what you would expect it to be. Gerry Fegan was an IRA hitman who is now haunted by the murders he has committed. The only way to lay his ghosts to rest is to hunt down and kill the people who ordered the hits.
Truly gripping. While ponderous for the first 20 pages or so, it picks up so quickly that you will not rest until you have reached the end.
Apr 15, 2013 Bridget rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's a little different than I'm used to reading, so it was refreshing. The writing was really easy to read and the writer had you on edge the whole time! I really liked it! You took to the characters really well, even though Gerry did a lot of bad things in his life, he tried to make up for it. And you really felt for him :/
Aug 25, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it
This was a really enjoyable debut novel, set in modern day Belfast the Author does a good job of highlighting the changes in N.Ireland since the peace process started. The storyline is excellent and you can feel for the lead character Fagan whose remorse is a constant theme of the book. 4.5 stars & highly recommended.
Mary Lou
Nov 27, 2015 Mary Lou rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-crime
Well! I didn't think I would ever again be reading a novel with 'The Troubles' as its main theme- albeit post Good Friday Agreement times. But there I was and was left mighty impressed too. This book has an interesting and slightly unusual plot line, plenty of likeable villains and love interest too. I have the next in the series to hand. Beware of extreme violence though.
Nov 03, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
A story of evil versus evil. Pulsatingly gripping at times and, weirdly, kept me on the edge of my seat wanting the main character Gerry Fegan to get away with his journey of murderous revenge despite his despicable past. Perhaps it was because there were some really nasty villains who deserved their come-uppance more than others.
Great atmosphere. Good book. But not for the faint-hearted.
Jennifer Herrick
Oct 16, 2012 Jennifer Herrick rated it really liked it
I cannot believe I actually selected this book to read but have to say it was very good! A bit violent, I admit to skipping a few pages at the end because unadulterated violence was on offer. However worth reading if only because it is one of a kind. The subsequent title 'Ghosts of Belfast' confused me....why change the title? American market maybe?
Ian Young
Fast paced thriller, about an ex-IRA man haunted by the ghosts of twelve of his victims. Strong plot and character development, plenty of violence - a book which is difficult to put down when started. Some of the politiics will not be to everyone's taste, but a great first novel which deserves to be very successful.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
I have been a musician, a composer, a teacher, a salesman, a film extra, a baker and a hand double for a well known Irish comedian, but I'm currently a partner in a successful multimedia design business in the wilds of Northern Ireland.

I have published short stories in Thuglit, Electric Spec and Every Day Fiction. THE TWELVE is my first novel, and will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by Ha
More about Stuart Neville...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »