Featured: The Other Side of Fear by Eoghan Egan

Featured: The Other Side of Fear by Eoghan Egan Purchase:

Review: Exciting, intelligent, and heartbreakingly raw, The Other Side of Fear is utterly compelling from start to finish. 

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Sharona Waters is determined to dig into loan shark Dessie Dolan’s business and see him brought to justice.

But when a young woman she’s only briefly met goes missing, a much darker story emerges.

Pulled into the ruthless world of people trafficking – a world built on violent brutality and sudden death – Sharona finds herself caught between crime and conscience, pursued by powerful and ruthless criminals, and just one bad decision away from having her whole world crash down.

Sometimes, the only way forward is to risk everything, no matter the cost.

Eoghan Egan

Meet Eoghan Egan:

A native of Co. Roscommon, Eoghan wrote his first story aged nine.

At college, he studied Computer Programming and works in Sales Management & Marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remains.

Eoghan’s work got shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition.

His novel was a contender in literary agent David Headley’s opening chapter Pitch Competition, and during March 2019, Eoghan’s entry won Litopia’s prestigious Pop-Up Submission.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan divides his time between Roscommon, Dublin, and Southern Italy.

The first in his trilogy of crime fiction novels was released in January 2020.

Review by karlou:

The Other Side of Fear is the second book in Eoghan Egan’s The Ganestown Trilogy, set in the Irish Midlands but is the first I have read. I quickly realised that I would have benefitted from reading Hiding in Plain Sight; it took me a while to figure out how the many characters were linked and there are mentions of events in the previous novel too. Despite all this, I absolutely loved this book and have added Eoghan Egan to my list of must-read authors.
This is a gritty, uncompromising read that delves into organised crime but although there are some deeply harrowing scenes and sickening violence, it’s also a compassionate, sensitive novel that explores difficult subjects with empathetic integrity. The most obvious example of this is the storyline involving Rebecca; a young girl who falls into the clutches of people traffickers and undergoes the most horrendous ordeal.

The chapters which follow her plight are particularly upsetting and there will be some people who find the candid honesty of her circumstances too painful to read. However, these scenes never feel gratuitous and importantly, we experience the abuse through Rebecca’s perspective rather than that of the perpetrators which ensure the focus is on the lasting, brutal trauma that is inflicted on the victims of sex trafficking.

The Other Side of Fear also explores the ruthless world of loan sharks, following Malcolm whose addiction to gambling means he’s easy prey for a crime boss, Dessie Dolan. It’s evident from the very start that Dessie is a dangerous man who dispatches his enemies without remorse. He doesn’t take kindly to a warning to stay away from the McGuire family but Ferdia Hardiman isn’t ever a man to back away from a fight.

Ferdia and his friend, Hugh were probably my favourite characters in the book; Ferdia’s resolute need for justice is tempered by his innate decency and in such a dark novel, he is also the source of some much-needed humour – especially when it comes to his persistent belief in the healing powers of vinegar!

Meanwhile, Hugh is having to come to terms with his mother’s deteriorating Alzheimer’s and these scenes are desperately poignant.

The small-town setting is ideal for a story such as this; it’s the sort of place where it’s inevitable that lives will become intertwined.

It’s also a reminder that it’s not just large cities that are affected by gangland violence, with the convoluted cartels of drug smugglers, people traffickers, and loan sharks inseparable too as they target the weak, vulnerable, or just plain unlucky. There is still more danger and tension in the psychiatric hospital where a serial killer is being assessed against his wishes. His barrister believes he is better off here than in prison but he isn’t convinced.

These scenes are clearly well-researched, reflecting both the expertise and the flaws of those working in the field and the system itself. This part of the plot is cleverly left promising more drama in the third book in the trilogy and I can’t wait to discover what will happen next.

Exciting, intelligent, and heartbreakingly raw, The Other Side of Fear is utterly compelling from start to finish and I thoroughly recommend it.

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