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The Nameless Dead

(Inspector Devlin #5)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  642 ratings  ·  57 reviews
'You can't investigate the baby, Inspector. It's the law.'

Declan Cleary's body has never been found, but everyone believes he was killed for informing on a friend over thirty years ago.

Now the Commission for Location of Victims' Remains is following a tip-off that he was buried on the small isle of Islandmore, in the middle of the River Foyle. Instead, the dig uncovers a
Paperback, 381 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Macmillan
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  642 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Declan Cleary disappeared30 years ago and everyone assumed that he was killed because he informed on a friend. Then Commission for Location of Victims' Remains gets a tip that Declan Cleary's body is buried on the small isle of Islandmore in the river Foyle. But instead they find the body of a baby and it seems that the baby didn't die of natural causes, but any evidence that is revealed by theThen Commission for Location of Victims' Remains cannot lead to prosecution and Inspector Ben Devlin is ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

This is the second Inspector Devlin book I have read and I think I liked it more than the first one. Mr. McGilloway is extremely talented in the art of writing a thriller with endings that aren't easily figured out. He throws in so many extra things that it's hard to follow the trail of the killer(s). You think you know what is going to happen or who did what, but it turns out you are completely wrong. His
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The fifth book in the Inspector Devlin; the reader is familiar with the main characters and the writer is relaxed with his creation.
Brian McGilloway's writing is economic. Punchy descriptions and dialogue.
This is a terrific plot that does justice to the cross boarder conflicts and life after the troubles but is routed in events of the past. BM very skillfully keeps it contemporary; many would draw on a the writer's go to - the slowly revealed past as a separate story unfolding with the main
Rob Kitchin
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Nameless Dead is the fifth instalment of McGilloway’s Ben Devlin series. McGilloway has the full measure of Devlin’s world - his family, police politics and rivalries, his embedding in the social and criminal landscape of the border. The writing is very assured, with a lovely cadence and pace, and nicely balances plot, characterization, sense of place and contextualisation. With respect to the latter two, The Nameless Dead skilfully weaves together the troubles and sexual politics of the ...more
3.5 stars

Book #5 in the Ben Devlin series continues the author's theme of combining present day police investigations in the Republic of Ireland with past events tied to The Troubles.
They are called "the Disappeared", men who went missing during Ireland's bloody sectarian war & were never found. A commission was set up asking for anonymous tips as to the location of their graves so they might be recovered & provide closure for loved ones. To encourage people to come forward, there is a
This is a 4 and a half star book. The story is set on an island, Islandmore, in the middle of the Foyle River between Donegal and Derry. Workers are excavating an area seeking a victim of disappearances during the Troubles, and discover the skeleton of a baby. Inspector Devlin, who works in Donegal, is like a dog with a bone. The Commission for Location of Victims' Remains (related to people who disappeared during the Troubles) does not permit any evidence from excavations to be turned over to ...more
First read: 19-25 December 2012
Second read: 15 October 2013

Brian McGilloway's books are always entertaining, but more importantly for me, they give the reader so much to think about. He weaves his research effortlessly into the narrative. I particularly loved the way he considered the legal implications of the promise of confidentiality in the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains - if a crime clearly not related to the Disappeared is uncovered during the commission's
Bruce Hatton
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-crime
That main focus of this story centres around a small island in the middle of the River Foyle in the north of Ireland. The Foyle forms part of the boundary between the counties of Derry and Donegal - thus part of the boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Although almost twenty years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the dark shadows of the Troubles loom heavily over both the region and this novel.
Whilst searching for the remains of a man believed to be murdered by the
Elaine Tomasso
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I started reading and didn't want to put it down until it was finished. I like Benedict Devlin - he is a goodie without being sanctimonious, just a good man with a strong moral compass whom we can all relate to. The plot is, I think, all too plausible but I was left a bit dissatisfied at the end as all the baddies did not get their comeuppance. I know this is a ridiculous statement to make after saying the plot was plausible (how often do people get away with crime in real ...more
Sep 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The crime fiction authors of Ireland--both the Republic and the six counties in the UK--and Scandinavia both seem to specialize in dark, nihilistic fiction with emotionally wounded protagonists trying to enforce the law in morally adrift societies. Many of the books, including "The Nameless Dead" are formally police procedurals featuring forensics, witness statements, crime scenes and door to door canvassing, but at the their core they reflect the collapse of traditional social, political, ...more
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked the mystery and I've always liked Benedict Devlin. What annoys me increasingly in each book is the Inspector's wife. At first she was mostly supportive and understanding. She gets more harpy-like in each book. This isn't just in McGilloway's books, many books featuring a male detective/sleuth have the dubious subplot of 'trouble at home' aka 'you missed dinner again and aren't spending time with the kids.' Lady, you married a homicide detective. If you thought he'd be home for dinner ...more
 Reading Divergence
Review: THE NAMELESS DEAD by Brian McGilloway [Inspector Devlin #5]

Compelling, enlightening, and heartwrenching, THE NAMELESS DEAD reawakening the ugliness if the centuries-old battles between Northern Ireland and the English national government, and between Northern Ireland and the Irish Repblic. The Commission for Location of Victims' Remains is tasked with finding all remains of The Disappeared, and returning those remains to the loved ones for proper interment. Such is the extent of the
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading this Benedict Devlin series, but something about it has bothered me the whole time. I think it's Devlin's family; I don't like his wife and kids for some reason.

The wife and kids were the only downside to this book. The story is compelling, and the other characters are great. Even the Catholicism didn't bother me (which is surprising, because it usually does).
Keith Curran
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Profoundly intriguing, truly thrilling, deeply spooky, an entirely entertaining, "The Names Dead", is the fifth installment of Brian McGilloway's delightful, Irish-to-the-core, moody, devilish, twisty, and literaturarily essential, Inspector Devlin Series. As is often the case with this preternaturally gifted spinner of tales, this is almost TOO rich a tapestry, made up off SO many threads, and (nearly) too many fascinatingly complex, goodishly-bad, badishly-good, central and supporting
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

As with all of Brian McGilloway’s novels, this one is top notch.

It is both well written and plotted and reads linearly. Sufficient information is given on the main characters to ground them in “real” life, but not so much that it intrudes on the story. The mystery starts out immediately and only increases as the story goes on.

Declan Cleary is among the “disappeared.” A tip off about his body being buried on Islandmore is received by the police. Since the commission on the disappeared is
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a great listen - incorporating Irish history with a modern day mystery. Best thing - the Irish accent of the narrator. Now looking for more in this series.
Heather Beecher
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Historical events affect present at border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent as usual!

As soon as it was available i put it before my other books that were ready to read. Why.....because I knew Brian would not let me down.
Gary Allen
Oct 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book moves at the pace of molasses in winter. The book should remain nameless as the story is completely dead.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The disappeared:
“Individuals who, during the early days of the Troubles in the North, had been targeted because of some slight, imagined or actual, against the local IRA commanders.”

This book is the fifth title in a series in which I haven’t read any of the previous stories. Although I didn’t feel that affected the way I experienced this book it is of course possible that my review would have been slightly different if I had read the book after the previous four.

This book has a lot going on
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Yes, I confess: there's been a bit of an Irish mystery theme going this year. This one is less intense in terms of the Troubles, dealing more with current day and the aftermath. As far as mysteries go, this isn't that much of one (there's more about Devlin's home life) but still, pretty well done with the whodidit not being as obvious as in some series.

I'll be reading more.
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
`The Nameless Dead' opens with the continuing search for `The Disappeared' ( the undiscovered bodies of those informers etc who have died during `The Troubles') on a small island midway between the North and South and formerly associated with cross border smuggling. Whilst the search revolves around uncovering the body of a certain Declan Cleary, a number of corpses are found linked to a former mother and baby home on the mainland, all displaying signs of physical deformities and having appeared ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A strong, very readable (quick read) entry into this uneven series. The pace is very fast, and a lot happens over just a few days. I get the feeling that the next book will focus more on Devlin's family again, as there are some issues presented there that seem on the verge of boiling over. The actual mystery part (there are a few crimes here) was interesting to be because of the laws governing the Disappeared, and I liked the way he dealt with the nameless dead on several levels, with fairness ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Compared to the majority of police procedurals that I read, what struck me most about this story was the action-packed, fast paced style. Despite the tip-off that Inspector Devlin is following being about a murder conducted over thirty years previously, the story feels immediate and pacy right from the start. As the plot unfolds, and Devlin starts to uncover the many activities – both within and outside of the law – that Declan Cleary was connected to, he realises that this was not the ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish
This is a fairly seamless and straight forward police procedural. It deals with "The Disappeared", informers or touts who have been executed and their remains never disclosed from the time of Irish Troubles. It is during the search for the remains of informer Declan Cleary, who is one of the Disappeared that the remains of seven babies are found. Due to government red tape, it is very doubtful if the perpetrators will ever be bought to justice.

The main character Ben Devlin is torn between what
The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains is a group looking for the bodies of men known as the Disappeared. These men were targeted by the IRA during the Troubles and never seen again.

Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin is with the commission search team looking for the body of Declan Cleary. Finding Cleary will allow his family to finally lay him to rest in consecrated ground. Instead they find a graveyard of unbaptized babies. Some of the babies appear to have been murdered.
A. Mary
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-novels
Devlin #5 has a bit more teeth than previous cases. Here, McGilloway makes use of the complicated matter of the disappeared, people presumed killed by paramilitary groups during the Troubles, but whose bodies have never been found. He handily weaves that issue with the one of unbaptized babies, whose bodies were refused burial in consecrated ground. In The Nameless Dead, the title refers to both the disappeared and the unbaptized because the secluded burial ground for the babies seems to be have ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kindle Copy for Review

In book five in the series, we find Inspector Devlin spending more time with his family as Penny recovers from her accident. Realizing the importance of family after almost losing his daughter, he tries to be there for family dinners.

When a tip about a missing person thirty years ago, uncovers the body and that of a baby girl that suffered from being hit in the head are also found. Things are not as simple as to its connection. A baby girl with no name forces him and his
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The eagerly awaited latest instalment of the Inspector Devlin series sees the dogged detective embroiled once again in conspiracy; digging for a body on an island (once used for burying babies who died before they had been sanctified) for the victim of a cold case, Devlin uncovers more bodies than he had counted for, a number of which all seem to have suffered the same genetic disorder. He becomes caught up in a tangled web of child trafficking, the results of a long-closed expectant mothers’ ...more
Patricia Fawcett
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This latest book in the Ben Devlin series reveals excellent, up-to-the-minute research on the part of the author into the latest forensic techniques. This underpins a strong, credible story line, which ties in the ongoing search for 'The Disappeared' on both sides of the Irish border with other local, historic events in the Derry-Donegal border area. The narrative also throws light on Ben Devlin's family life, with current family dilemmas in bringing up children against a backgound where the ...more
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Brian McGilloway is an author hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland. He studied English at Queens University Belfast, where he was very active in student theatre, winning a prestigious national Irish Student Drama Association award for theatrical lighting design in 1996. He is currently Head of English at St. Columb's College, Derry. McGilloway's debut novel was a crime thriller called Borderlands. ...more

Other books in the series

Inspector Devlin (5 books)
  • Borderlands (Inspector Devlin, #1)
  • Gallows Lane (Inspector Devlin, #2)
  • Bleed a River Deep (Inspector Devlin, #3)
  • The Rising (Inspector Devlin, #4)
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