Balson’s compelling fourth novel featuring former-CIA-turned PI Liam Taggarat and his lawyer wife Catherine Lockhart is called The Trust with good reason.

Estranged from his Irish family for 16 years, Liam receives a call that his uncle has died and he reluctantly agrees to return to Antrim, leaving Catherine and their infant son, Ben, at home.

What he finds confounds him as much as the rest of his family: his uncle has left his considerable farm and investment estate to a secret trust, with Liam as its Trustee.

The kicker is that Liam’s Uncle Fergus feared he would be murdered, and has directed that the trust not distribute any assets nor announce beneficiaries until his killer is found–and he felt Liam would be the only one who could unravel who that would be.

It puts Liam into a tenuous situation with the cousins and uncles he grew up around. His own history with them had him leaving in tense and bitter circumstances, and while he feels welcomed back by some family members, others make it clear he should return to the US, and go to great lengths to enforce this idea.

Then the danger to his family becomes clearer as more murders and accidnets occur, and soon no one is safe from a deranged killer out for revenge. But is the culprit tied to Ireland’s Troubles and the Taggart family from long ago? Or a member of the Taggart’s inner circle, out to reduce the number inheriting from Fergus.

The mystery deepens as the characters reveal themselves, and Liam does his best to protect his Irish family and his own family back home, and often feels he is faiing at both. Having to face his demons of the past, including the Irish woman he almost married, come at a personal price, too.

As the killings mount, so does the pace, to a breathtaking climax. Antrim and its environs come alive under Balson’s pen, with the history of The Troubles elucidated for those who might not have lived through them in history. And just when the story is done and dusted, there’s one more twist at the end. A satifying read where the suspect pool keeps getting smaller and smaller.

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