Review: The Dolocher – Caroline Barry.

Victorian London had Jack the Ripper. Georgian Dublin had the Dolocher. Half man, half pig, the evil spirit who dodged the hangman’s noose for his brutal crimes in life is causing panic on the streets of Dublin.

But is it supernatural? Is it something more simple? Whatever the outcome, writer Solomon Fish sees opportunity and strikes with his broadsheet reporting, which only fuels the fear, but lines his pockets nicely, until…

Well – save the until for now. The Dolocher has a cast of great characters (shout out to Janey Mack in particular), it’s creepy, it’s gruesome, and you get drawn wholeheartedly into the darkened streets as things get slowly more out of control. The moment the book leaps into the stories of Merriment O’Grady the apothecary and Janey Mack, the girl who has a knack for questions, you’re locked in for the ride.

There was Matilda, then there was Delphine from The Honours, and now there’s Janey Mack. Fantastic wee girl who you just instantly go “I want to follow whatever her story is”. I know she isn’t exactly the main point of the book, but she really needs multiple shout outs.

But Caroline Barry has a talent for making you feel uneasy. It creeps bit by bit. You may get caught up in wondering the who, what and why – if you’re like me you’ll always be wrong on this front – but more than that, it’s a book whose story you just need to get to the heart of before you put it down. In my case, the only interruption I took was driving because sadly you’re not able to multitask on that front when it comes to books.

February 2016 | Black & White Publishing

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