Author Julie Parsons Makes Punchy Return
New Zealand-born but long-time resident in Ireland, Julie Parsons boasts a CV more varied than the average author. As well as producing five previous crime novels, she’s worked as a radio and TV producer for RTÉ and written a novella and radio plays. Parson has just published The Therapy House, her first full-length fiction in almost a decade. Darragh McManus reviews the book for the Irish Independent.
“The novel takes place during the once-in-a-generation heatwave of 2013. Retired Garda Michael McLoughlin has just moved to a rambling old pile in Dún Laoghaire, from his old home on the other side of the Liffey – and into a real mess of trouble,” McManus explains.
“It’s a swanky-ish area, expertly captured by Parsons, with a next-door neighbour of some renown. John Hegarty is a retired High Court judge and son of a War of Independence hero.
“As the book opens, he’s buying some nice sherry in preparation for that night’s regular visit of two other neighbours for a drink and a game of backgammon. Before the night is over, Hegarty will have been tortured and shot in the face.
“McLoughlin finds the body, and thus gets involved, tangentially at first, in the subsequent murder investigation. But as Parsons’ clever, complex plot unfolds, McLoughlin’s stake in this deadly game becomes higher – and parts of the past, including his own, get inextricably entangled with the current Hegarty case.
Obviously it’s difficult to outline too many plot details without ruining the surprise. And in a book like The Therapy House, the several narrative surprises are one of its main pleasures.
“Though not quite at his ultra-brief sentence level, this style reminded me at times of the great James Ellroy, as did the tortuous storyline, explosions of shocking violence and unflinching exploration of the black heart of humanity. A comparison, I think, most crime writers would be happy with.”
Parsons was born in Auckland. Her first novel Mary Mary, published in 1998, became an Irish bestseller and was published in over 17 countries.
She lives in Dun Laoghaire.
Original article by Darragh McManus, Irish Independent, May 7, 2017.
Photo by Kip Carroll.