“Skelly’s Square” by Stephen Black

It was a real adventure to wander the streets of Belfast – and a bit further into the countryside – with the characters of Stephen Black’s book “Skelly’s Square”, the first in the Kirkwood Scott Chronicles.

Although there are elements of fantasy and supernatural in the book, it addresses quite a few issues that people in the real world face every day. In the first part of the book, Kirkwood is struggling with the routine of a regular office worker. His job seems meaningless to him; besides, it doesn’t offer either motivating remuneration or stability. He drifts through life, spending his pay day with his drinking buddies. But the reason for that is not his unwillingness to strive for a better life, but something more sinister. There are other routines in his life, and they are way more dangerous than the boring office existence.

One day, Kirkwood sees something on the street that gives him hope to find the answers to the questions he is afraid to ask himself. And from there, the most intriguing sequence of events begins.

I loved that the main characters are flawed – but one can sympathise with their flaws – rather than “a perfect hero material”. And it was exciting to see the city of Belfast through the author’s eyes.

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