Black Water

Black Water


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Black Water is a highly praised and powerful crime thriller, written by the award-winning security correspondent for the Irish Examiner, Cormac O’Keeffe. 

O’Keeffe’s access to both the police and the community give Black Water an intensity, authenticity and originality that can only come from experience of his subject. Black Water is set in the world of the Dublin gangs – the area of Dublin O’Keeffe has lived for many years which tourists are told to avoid – the streets alongside Dublin’s grand canal. 

Ten-year-old Jig has little in his life apart from a talent at football and his dog. His mother is a slatternly drunkard, his father in and out of prison, his violent and unstable elder brother already deeply involved with the area’s most vicious drugs supplier. The boy is desperate to belong and when ‘Ghost’, the sinister and brutal gang leader, offers him little jobs carrying messages, he is proud to feel part of the crew. But it all goes wrong when a women Jig delivers a note to collapses, hitting her head in the fall and dying. 

Shay, Jig’s football coach and local policeman, recognises the boy’s writing on the note and is determined to save him. But Shay has secrets of his own. He has been forced to operate undercover by a senior officer, who is blackmailing him over a brutal attack on a thug who had attempted to rape his wife, and is becoming increasingly unable to cope. 

Meanwhile Policewoman Tara Crowe is determined to clean up the gangs, with Ghost and his crew her main target. But each time she gets close, something happens and she begins to suspect a mole within her own service. 

The twisted strands all come together in an explosive climax, with yet another unexpected turn at the finish.

Product Details

Published: 2nd May 2019
Format: Paperback 198x129mm
Extent: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781785302381


Cormac O’Keeffe is the award-winning security correspondent for the Irish Examiner – work that has given him unique access to contacts in the police and the community. He has lived near Dublin’s Grand Canal for many years; his professional and personal lives inform and fuel this novel, giving it the intensity, authenticity and originality of personal experience. Cormac blogs about his writing, is a respected book reviewer and appears frequently on national radio and television.


' A raw, unflinching evocation of a community that's struggling to survive' ... THE TIMES

'Think The Wire, set in Dublin' ... BRIAN McGILLOWAY

'Harsh, tender, steely and authentic' ... LOUISE PHILIPS

'A chilling thriller that reveals the dark and desperate world of Dublin gags in gripping detail' ... SAM BLAKE

'A grimly realistic debut novel . . . a compelling work of darkest noir.' – THE IRISH TIMES

'Violent and gritty, this debut sings with authenticity. I couldn't put it down.' – IRISH EXAMINER

'Dublin Noir at its most raw and dangerously violent... a book with a strong sense of empathy for the dispossessed and not a cheerful one, but a solid achievement in reflecting real life in fiction.' – CRIME TIME

'This is a fast read for all the right reasons and like a writer playing the long game, O'Keeffe leaves plenty up in the damp air.' – RTÉ

'Shocking and compulsive ... O'Keeffe explodes onto the Irish crime fiction scene with style.' – BRIAN MCGILLOWAY, NYT bestselling author of Little Girl Lost

'Set in the parts of Dublin that the tourists are better off not knowing about ... relentlessly depicts a city where the ruthless enlist the desperate to prey on the vulnerable. A terrific debut.' – GENE KERRIGAN, journalist and author of The Rage

'A first class, compelling and gritty debut with real hear. I loved this book.' – ANDREA CARTER, author of The Well of Ice

'O'Keeffe pulls you into the dark underbelly of Dublin city with well-drawn characters, chilling dexterity and unflinching truth' – LOUISE PHILLIPS, author of The Game Changer

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