Friday, September 2, 2016

Contemporary Irish fiction with Rex Owens

 (Note: These books aren't Christian fiction and use occasional profanity and violence.)
              
18950186
Murphy’s Troubles
Rex Owens

ISBN: 978-0615895048
eBook: $2.99
Print: $14.99
Buy on Amazon


Ian Padraic Murphy harbors a scandalous secret. To avenge the death of his best friend in a Belfast raid, Ian joins the Provisional IRA which he conceals for 30 years. He meets investigative reporter Eileen Donohue and friendship blossoms into a love affair. Eileen inadvertently discovers the man she thought was a reclusive novelist is actually the brain trust for the IRA. Eileen betrays her lover by disclosing his secret in Ireland's leading newspaper. Driven by guilt and remorse, Ian atones for his years in the IRA by working with Sinn Fein to negotiate the 1998 Peace Accord which ended The Troubles in Ireland. After deserting the IRA Ian's own troubles are far from over when they order his assassination. The assignment is given to his friend, IRA Commander, Kieran Fitzpatrick. Will Ian pay the supreme price for disloyalty to the IRA?

My review:
Owens has a passionate voice for the historical extremist movement in contemporary Ireland. Told mostly through alternating viewpoints, the reader is carried along with Ian Murphy, who as a young university student, is recruited and serves the next thirty years in the Irish Republican Army.

With loving exacted scenery and dialect, the author transports his readers to the Ireland of the sixties, to the underlying despair of prejudice, anger, and inequality due not to outward characteristics, but to devotion and heritage according to faith. Allegiance to a culture of religion causes sides to be taken and lines to be drawn. Owens’ fictional account of the inner workings of what it might have been like for principal players in the movement, unable to trust anyone, not even the people you grew up with, called brother, or confessed to or shared a bed with, provides a rich and satisfying read.


25904502Out of Darkness, book 2
Rex Owens

eBook
Print
ISBN: 978-0983298489

Buy on Amazon

Author Ian Murphy battles lifelong alcoholism and chronic depression. Desperate to cleanse his soul, Ian dedicates himself to finding redemption. To confront his demons, he spends a summer hiking on Dingle Peninsula. He meets Mairin McCarthy, and finds unconditional love but still succumbs to the shadows within.

In the fall of 1998 the British government is determined to build walls in Belfast to separate Catholics and Protestants. The only peace citizens of the city can have requires walls. Murphy dedicates himself to stopping more walls from being built. He's convinced the challenge is his path to redemption.

While living in Belfast Ian learns that distrust and hatred divide the city's residents as much as the walls do. Both Catholics and Protestants accept the walls as the price of peace. The walls will be built. How will Ian Murphy find redemption and crawl out of the darkness?

My review:
Owens slips into first person for this second book of his trilogy about contemporary Ireland and the violence of religious extremism. We left Ian Murphy at the end of book one still alive after his friend is ordered to execute him. Realizing his entire life was one of self-imposed seclusion and layers of lies, Murphy tries to reach out and grasp a spark of life before he has nothing left but darkness. In the first book, Murphy wants to end it all; in this book, he’s coming out to meet the life he’s missed.

Told in on-the-spot scenery and dialog, Owens transports readers into a vicarious visit in Ireland of today, with all the nuances, smells, and sights that hide the brewing troubles. The authors has a fine voice with a message of hope that any reader in any era can grasp.

About the Author:
Rex OwensIn 1997 novelist Rex Owens attended the first of many UW Madison Writers Institutes. The featured speaker was author was Robert Moss who talked about conscious dreaming as a way to explore the writing life. The die was cast to be a writer. In 1999 he joined a critique group led by Dr. Laurel Yourke where he learned craft the old fashioned way – by writing. 

His son brought him newspapers from Ireland. He read a story of children injured in the Peace Zone in Belfast in 1998 which became the inspiration for MURPHY’S TROUBLES. By 2003 Dr. Yourke suggested he had enough material to consider writing a novel. 






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