Two brothers bound by love and need repeat the deadly pattern of a past crime.
Ciaran Devine was only 12 when he was convicted of killing his foster father. Seven years later, he’s being released from the Young Offenders Centre into a world he’s ill equipped to handle. Paula Cunningham, the probation officer assigned to his case, consults with DCI Serena Flanagan, who established a rapport with the boy after the murder. At the time, Flanagan had her doubts about his confession and about the allegations his older brother, Thomas, had made about David Rolston, a prosperous married man with a good home on the outskirts of Belfast, one child of his own, and the willingness to take care of children without families—or perhaps exploit them. Flanagan was never sure who was actually being exploited. She had an inkling of the hold Thomas had over Ciaran and suspected that the younger boy took the fall for the older one. Although Thomas was convicted as an accessory, he drew a shorter sentence, has been out of prison for two years, and is waiting for his brother’s release. Flanagan knows Ciaran needs someone to look after him; he’s still a child in a man’s body, unable to cope with even the simplest tasks on his own. She’s not convinced, however, that Thomas is the best choice. Cunningham is trying to help him, though personal issues are keeping her from helping herself. And Flanagan, a cancer survivor, is supposed to be easing back into her job again, not being pulled back into an old crime. But it’s not in her nature to take the easy way, especially when Rolston’s son decides to make the Devine brothers suffer—and sets off a nightmare that threatens to trap both Cunningham and Flanagan.
Flanagan, who had a secondary role in The Final Silence (2014), takes center stage in a grim tale of dependence and obsession.