Book Review: The Grounds by Cormac Millar

Seamus Joyce has been asked to act as a consultant on a possible takeover of Kings College, Dublin  by a US consortium. It is Joyce’s own alma mater – and his connections stand him in good stead as he begins his investigations. It soon becomes clear that all is not well on campus – the college is facing bankruptcy, academic infighting with a vengence followed soon by disappearing academics and few murders. There is the problem of a college president who has promised the same things to different people  – and then goes missing.  What has happened to the US consortium’s board nominee – he too has vanished. The consortium want answers – and fast. Not an easy investigation by any means.

An interesting storyline that is spoilt by too much descriptive prose for example ‘White plaster, sheets of Kinspan insulation, panels of nubbled brick and double-glazed windows were surging from torpid suburban streets where long ago there had been northing much to do but sit and wait for the sporadic arrival of the number 13A bus… this ungodly hour of the morning, the mighty heart was mostly still, but there were disturbing signs of life, as if new Dublin suffered from insommnia, could not settle down in bed, spent her nights fencing with intestinal pain ‘ – and that is just one paragraph. I found myself skim reading. The characters do not stand out. Reading the book I felt like an observer and wondering at times ‘do I care whether he succeeds or not?’

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.