Publisher: Black & White Publishing
Publication date: 17th March 2016 (Paperback), 18th February 2016 (Kindle)
I’m delighted to be taking part in the book tour for The Dolocher, by Caroline Barry. Today you’ll find my ‘THIS BOOK IS INCREDIBLE’ review, plus look out for a little giveaway at the end of it, courtesy of the lovely folks at Black and White Publishing… (This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been notified, thank you.)
Odious wretches and nefarious activities ignite a contagious fear that just keeps on burning in this ingeniously layered, gothic door-stop-of-a-tale. It’s the epitome of scene setting and characterisation capturing the abysmal essence of the period, from the decay in the streets to the wastrels walking them. The corruption, the malicious intent, even the chinks of witticism shining through the whole damned grimness are outstanding, leaving The Dolocher stalking the trophy for one of my favourite reads of the year.
Black Dog Prison in 1756 is an unsavoury place at the best of times. While its most infamous prisoner to date is enveloped by the dark of his cell, unrepentant of his predatory crimes against women, no one could have predicted that he would be able to wreak havoc on Dublin’s streets from beyond the grave.
Rather than face his fate at the end of a noose, Olocher took matters into his own hands and ended his own life on the eve of his execution. When his signature crimes are being committed all over again, it could only mean his malicious spirit has returned to the cobbles to plague the city once more. While some take advantage of the situation, others grow more afraid of the porcine-faced demon that has been unleashed – The Dolocher is born.
Thank goodness for the grounded Merriment O’Grady and her new Apothecary Shop on Fishamble Street. The unusual sea-faring Miss O’Grady wears her breeches with pride, as she prescribes cures to the young and old who dare to walk the macabrely dreary streets of Hell, for that is the name of the district they reside in – quite apt under the circumstances. At almost forty years old this ship’s surgeon is getting used to being back on land. She just hopes she can find contentment among the festering surroundings – if only she knew what the future holds…
Cue a chance meeting with barefoot Janey Mack, the wisest eight year old you ever did see, who was salvaging the rubbish behind the shop. Prone to candid outbursts of her own unique brand of philosophical wisdom and bounding opportunism, the little girl is described unfavourably by Hoppy John, a vile bloke who’d given Fagin a run for his money! Merri negotiates Janey’s employment with him after she sets her mind about taking the girl in as her own apprentice. Be warned, Janey’s forthright manner and streetwise charm are pure gold!
Janey Mack is utterly convinced her new employer is a murderess, as Merriment was slighted by her lover and allegedly killed him at sea, or so the song about her many transgressions goes. This trouser-clad lady carrying a pistol called ‘The Answerer’ adds fuel to Janey Mack’s already overactive imagination. Protection could come in handy with a demonic entity causing quite a stir in the O’Grady household. But Merriment places faith in science rather than the existence of devils, and draws on her experience to educate the headstrong girl. Although events will have cause to make her question her logic, her faith, and her heart. Particularly when a young writer arrives to buy ink from her shop and ends up being hustled by little Janey Mack…
Solomon Fish, armed only with his charm, a jacket that’s seen better days, and rumbling hunger for a story, is trying to side-step a past that stalks him like a rabid dog. Solomon arrives in Hell to capture the demonic sensation of the century in his broadsheets and make a killing (excuse the pun). He had no idea just how successful milking people’s morbid curiosity would be. Solomon works his magic to whisk the readers into a frenzy by employing a talented wise-cracking artist, called Corker. This fourteen year old, with a brood of sisters to take care of, breathes life into the bloody scenes of crime for the masses to revel in, while Solomon is powerless to resist his old vices.
The Dolocher spreads fear, and fear escalates into panic, and panic breeds a lynch mob mentality – bring on the hysteria and a cart load of questionable behaviour. Despite a curfew, the streets of Hell won’t be safe until someone can outsmart the devil himself. Acting on their instincts, Solomon, Merri, and company follow its phantasmic trail to the depths of depravity, unaware that this may drag them into oblivion.
It’s perfectly suspenseful, grisly in all the right places, and has characters with personalities that leap from the page. It’s a seriously epic read, in every magnificent sense.
(I cannot thank the publishers enough for arranging this curious parcel concealing a marvellous copy of The Dolocher.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
Victorian London had Jack the Ripper.
Georgian Dublin had the Dolocher…
The Dolocher is stalking the alleyways of Dublin. Half man, half pig, this terrifying creature has unleashed panic on the streets. Can it really be the evil spirit of a murderer who has cheated the hangman’s noose by taking his own life in his prison cell, depriving the mob of their rightful revenge? Or is there some other strange supernatural explanation?
This terror has come at the perfect time for down-at-heel writer Solomon Fish. With his new broadsheet reporting ever more gruesome stories of the mysterious Dolocher, sales are growing daily and fuelling the city’s fear. But when the Dolocher starts killing and Solomon himself is set upon, he realises that there’s more to the story than he could ever have imagined.
With the help of his fearless landlady, ship’s surgeon-turned-apothecary Merriment O’Grady, Solomon goes after the Dolocher. Torn between reason and superstition, they must hold their nerve as everyone around them loses theirs. But are they hunting the Dolocher or is the Dolocher hunting them?
(Courtesy of publisher’s press release)
CAROLINE BARRY is a yoga instructor in Ireland and has previously published two Young Adult novels. After studying Art History, Caroline worked as a teacher of creative writing and she also regularly designs creative writing modules for local councils. She has been a writer-in-residence and lives with her husband Neil Richardson (also a writer) in Co. Westmeath.
Caroline is involved in #WakingTheFeminists, which is a movement looking for equality for women in Irish Theatre.
The Dolocher is her first foray into adult fiction, and is inspired by a forgotten Dublin ghost story. (@GothicGeorgian)
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
Oh, I do hope you’re suitably intrigued because without further delay there’s a copy of this splendid book to give away, courtesy of the lovely folks at Black and White Publishing!
So, how would you like to get your hands on a brand new paperback copy of The Dolocher? UK ONLY
Simply share this post on Twitter* OR comment below and I’ll pop your name in the hat.
If you wish to do both, that’s terrific! Your name will go in twice!
(*Just make sure I’m tagged in please, so I can see who you are – thank you.)
The giveaway will be open until 8.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 23rd March. I’ll randomly choose a winner shortly afterwards and contact the ‘lucky devil’ for a postal address. Their details will be passed to the publisher, who will send out a copy of The Dolocher directly. Good luck!
Why not check out the other stops on The Dolocher Blog Tour…
~ 23.03.16 – 8.40 p.m. And the winner is….. Linda Hill – Congratulations! ~
Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the Giveaway. x