Holding
Graham Norton's masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke - a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore - with searing honesty - the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

Holding Details

TitleHolding
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 6th, 2016
PublisherHodder & Stoughton
ISBN1444792008
ISBN-139781444792003
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Crime, European Literature, Irish Literature, Cultural, Ireland

Holding Review

  • Paromjit
    September 19, 2016
    This novel written by Graham Norton has charm and is set in the remote Irish village of Duneen, of little note until builders unearth human bones on a farm. This has the local grapevine over excited and clamouring for information, whilst peddling gossip galore. This discovery has far reaching repercussions for the residents. It is assumed that the bones are those of Tommy Burke, who apparently left the village some years ago, amidst a scandal involving two women, the now alcoholic Brid Riordan, This novel written by Graham Norton has charm and is set in the remote Irish village of Duneen, of little note until builders unearth human bones on a farm. This has the local grapevine over excited and clamouring for information, whilst peddling gossip galore. This discovery has far reaching repercussions for the residents. It is assumed that the bones are those of Tommy Burke, who apparently left the village some years ago, amidst a scandal involving two women, the now alcoholic Brid Riordan, whom he was going to marry, and Evelyn Ross, who desperately loved him. Sargeant PJ Collins, the village guard, is rather fat and is ridiculed. He has used his fatness to hide emotionally from the world and life itself by avoiding emotional entanglements. His experience of real crime and murder is virtually non existent so he is understandably flummoxed when faced with murder. Detective Superintendent Linus Dunne arrives from Cork to oversee the investigation and a resentful PJ is expected to play a minor role. However, PJ is reluctant to accept this and sets out to delve deeper. As he does so, deeply buried secrets from the past come to surface. PJ for the first time in his life, finds himself experiencing what it is like to be desired by two women. He is a man awakening to life both professionally and personally. As he gets ever closer to the truth, he finds himself in mortal danger.There is pain, loss, and sorrow expressed powerfully in the novel. We encounter the harsh judgementalism that epitomises attitudes of the past in society that have resulted in emotionally broken souls. The character development of PJ Collins was excellent. The more I read of the book the more involved I got in the story. An excellent book of which the author can be proud. Highly recommended. Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
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  • Maureen
    September 5, 2016
    Comedian and TV presenter Graham Norton, is a well known and very popular personality here in the UK, however, that doesn't necessarily make for a good novelist. I was surprised then to discover that in fact he's produced a really good debut novel, written with flair and searing honesty. Duneen is a small, sleepy, Irish village, where life has meandered along in much the same way it has for generations. It has its own police officer in the form of Sergeant P J Collins or PJ as he's known to many Comedian and TV presenter Graham Norton, is a well known and very popular personality here in the UK, however, that doesn't necessarily make for a good novelist. I was surprised then to discover that in fact he's produced a really good debut novel, written with flair and searing honesty. Duneen is a small, sleepy, Irish village, where life has meandered along in much the same way it has for generations. It has its own police officer in the form of Sergeant P J Collins or PJ as he's known to many. PJ is 53 years of age and he feels as if his life hasn't really gone anywhere. He's never had a proper relationship, indeed he believes he's the laughing stock of the village due to his obesity. He knows that women don't find him attractive, and that the community snigger behind his back as he wedges himself behind the wheel of his patrol car. His career never really happened either, there's not much call for policing in Duneen. However, when a construction company begins excavations up at the old Burke family farm, they unearth human remains, and suddenly PJ finds himself in the spotlight - begins to feel rather important. That doesn't last too long though as the investigation is taken over by Detective Superintendent Linus Dunne, sent down from Cork Headquarters, with PJ as his gofer. It's not merely human remains that come to light though, but some long held secrets surrounding Duneen's residents.This is a wonderful story about love, loss, dark secrets, alcoholism, troubled relationships - in other words it's about life! Graham Norton writes in such an easy going style that flows without effort, and you know something? I'm really going to miss Duneen and its characters. A really impressive read.*Thank you to Netgalley , Hodder & Stoughton & Graham Norton for my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review *
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  • Aisling Zena
    September 15, 2016
    4 starsI have to be honest, I requested this book because I saw it was written by the delightful Graham Norton and I had no idea he was an author. I went in to this hopeful but not entirely sure of what I was getting. Thankfully any worries I had were completely erased in the first few pages.Graham Norton writes in the third person with his narration jumping beautifully, maybe effortlessly is a better word, from person to person. He weaved a lovely tale that I devoured in one sitting. His descri 4 starsI have to be honest, I requested this book because I saw it was written by the delightful Graham Norton and I had no idea he was an author. I went in to this hopeful but not entirely sure of what I was getting. Thankfully any worries I had were completely erased in the first few pages.Graham Norton writes in the third person with his narration jumping beautifully, maybe effortlessly is a better word, from person to person. He weaved a lovely tale that I devoured in one sitting. His descriptions, for me, were beautiful and it made me feel like I was holding his arm and walking around this small Irish village, eating popcorn and getting all the juicy news. "People didn't stop in Duneen. In defence of the casual traveller, there was little reason why they should. There was nothing to make the village stand out from any other. Wedged int o a gentle green valley, jagged terraces of two- and three-storey buildings lined the road, painted long ago in the sort of paste colours usually associated with baby clothes. At the bottom of Main Street there was an old bridge across the River Torne. Beyond that, the solid grey chapel kept watch on a small hill. No one living could recall a time when it had ever looked any different. Time didn't pass in Dundeen; it seeped away." The plot revolves around an overweight guard, Sergeant PJ Collins, an alcoholic mother of­ two, Brid Riordan and the lovely Evelyn Ross who feels her life has passed her by with nothing to show for. The days in Duneen are mostly the same, rolling by with nary a whisper of change until some human remains are found in an old farm. Huge excitement stirs the sleepy village with speculations and theories abounding from everyone. I felt like I was part of the village and getting the inside scoop and piecing together a giant puzzle. And even though I could guess some of it with every new piece I was given, I was having so much fun turning every page, discovering every piece, to mind. It also had a few surprises that I wasn't quite expecting and immensely enjoyed. My favourite moments where when Graham Nortons acerbic humor would shine through. "Linus?What sort of a name was that? How could he solve a crime if he couldn't even figure out that his name made him sound like a gobshite?" If you love a good whodunit that takes you in picturesque villages in Ireland as a backdrop, do give this one a try.**ARC courtesy of publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.P.S. Forgot to mention after I posted this, to any friends not from the UK, Graham Norton is a much loved TV presenter with his own show. The Graham Norton Show. If you have never watched it I urge you to look it up. Seriously entertaining and very funny especially if the combination of celebrity guests is just right.
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  • Dem
    November 30, 2016
    <3.5 Stars Holding by Graham Norton is an easy and pleasurable read, better than I was expecting but not not going to make my year's favourite list Holding is Norton's debut novel and is set in a small town of Dunedin in County Cork where life goes by and little happens out of the ordinary until a building site unearths human remains and the life's of the inhabitants of Dunedin become filled with suspicions and wonder and the secrets that were buried with the bodies slowly begin to reveal.The <3.5 Stars Holding by Graham Norton is an easy and pleasurable read, better than I was expecting but not not going to make my year's favourite list Holding is Norton's debut novel and is set in a small town of Dunedin in County Cork where life goes by and little happens out of the ordinary until a building site unearths human remains and the life's of the inhabitants of Dunedin become filled with suspicions and wonder and the secrets that were buried with the bodies slowly begin to reveal.The book had several characters and each is affected in the discovery of the remains and we are introducted to them slowly, I liked the characterisation and the plot as both are well imagined and interesting. The book is well paced and while I had thought the novel was going to be funny and typical of Norton quick wit the book is quite serious in places and not what I had expected.I did however have issues with the sense of time and places in the novel and felt that the modern part of the novel didn't in fact reflect a modern Ireland and this bugged me a little while reading the novel but it didn't take a way from the overall enjoyment of the book.I was a little afraid that I wound not be able to separate the author from the television personality and that his TV persona would be all over this novel but have to admit that he wrote a novel that was so different from what I had perceived.An easy and pleasurable read and I look forward to more books from this author.
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  • Jules
    October 12, 2016
    What an intriguing and emotional delight this book was!I love Graham Norton, so I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about reading his book, in case I didn't enjoy it and felt disappointed, but it was exactly the things I love in a book. It's the kind of murder mystery story that doesn't get bogged down in police procedural, which is the part of crime fiction that generally sends me to sleep.Holding focusses on a variety of interesting characters within a close-knit community in Ireland. What an intriguing and emotional delight this book was!I love Graham Norton, so I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about reading his book, in case I didn't enjoy it and felt disappointed, but it was exactly the things I love in a book. It's the kind of murder mystery story that doesn't get bogged down in police procedural, which is the part of crime fiction that generally sends me to sleep.Holding focusses on a variety of interesting characters within a close-knit community in Ireland. Although the characters are very different from each other, they share a similar sadness and loneliness that makes it impossible not to connect with them on an emotional level. In some places it was a little darker than I had expected it to be, and at other times somewhat heart breaking.“I went to bed with Graham Norton last night, and he kept me awake until at least 1am” is something I never thought I’d type on Facebook in my lifetime. Life is full of surprises.This is a great novel, full of fascinating characters that had me so captivated by their secrets, I found it almost impossible to put down each night.
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  • Dannii Elle
    September 28, 2016
    I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Graham Norton, and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for this opportunity.First of all, yes, the author is that Graham Norton. I am not normally one to be interested in celebrity-penned novels as, dare I say it, they often aren't that good... This, however, proved to be a hilarious and thrilling exception!Set in the remote Irish village of Duneen and featuring a plethora of stereotyped characters, I wa I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Graham Norton, and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for this opportunity.First of all, yes, the author is that Graham Norton. I am not normally one to be interested in celebrity-penned novels as, dare I say it, they often aren't that good... This, however, proved to be a hilarious and thrilling exception!Set in the remote Irish village of Duneen and featuring a plethora of stereotyped characters, I wasn't initially sure how much I would come to enjoy this. My initial reservations proved to be my eventual partialities, however. This had such a twee feel to it and the characters felt already known. It had a reliable feel, akin to that of an Agatha Christie novel: it was safe and yet exciting.The mystery detailed is a curious one, the writing was completely alluring and I was pleased to see that Norton brought much of his beloved wit to the novel. This could have quite easily become a brooding and atmospheric tale, but instead there was hilarity brought to alleviate the darkness.I immediately felt like one of the locals as Norton maneuvered the reader throughout the village, from perspective to perspective, picking up local gossip along the journey. It is through this organic gain of information that the village and the characters came to life and where clues were dropped, culminating in the eventual solving of the complex mystery that plagued this rural village.This is a brilliant crime fiction read featuring provincial living at its finest! I hope this is the first installment in a series as I am eager for Sergeant PJ Collins to become the next Poirot!
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  • Gary
    August 24, 2016
    When I heard Graham Norton had written his debut novel I was intrigued to see just how good it was. I have read his biography but obviously this is a lot different and a different skill all together. I was very quickly impressed with just how well written this was, it flowed well, it was well paced, the characters were well developed and more importantly it was interesting.The novel takes place in the remote Irish village of Duneen which has known very little drama. Human remains are discovered When I heard Graham Norton had written his debut novel I was intrigued to see just how good it was. I have read his biography but obviously this is a lot different and a different skill all together. I was very quickly impressed with just how well written this was, it flowed well, it was well paced, the characters were well developed and more importantly it was interesting.The novel takes place in the remote Irish village of Duneen which has known very little drama. Human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be Tommy Burke the former love of Brid and Evelyn who was thought to have left the village many years ago. Overweight Sergeant PJ Collins who hasn't seen any action like this previously tries to uncover the truth with great difficulty and succeeds in uncovering dark secrets and a troubled past.In my opinion the novel is less about whodunit but more about the characters and the emotions that run through the novel. I genuinely liked it and read it very quickly wanting to read it whenever possible. I would like to thank Net Galley and Hodder & Stoughton for supplying me with an advanced copy of Graham Norton's debut novel in exchange for a honest review.
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  • Astrid Langeveld
    March 1, 2017
    Het verhaal gaat over een Iers dorpje waar een skelet wordt opgegraven op een bouwterrein. De plaatselijke politie stelt met hulp van de recherche een onderzoek in, waarbij duistere geheimen van enkele dorpelingen aan het licht komen. Ik was in het begin heel sceptisch. Weer een bekend iemand die denkt dat hij kan schrijven. Soms pakt het goed uit en soms niet. Deze keer wel. Ik zat vanaf het begin in het verhaal. Je kwam stukje bij beetje meer te weten wat er gebeurd was. Er zaten een paar plot Het verhaal gaat over een Iers dorpje waar een skelet wordt opgegraven op een bouwterrein. De plaatselijke politie stelt met hulp van de recherche een onderzoek in, waarbij duistere geheimen van enkele dorpelingen aan het licht komen. Ik was in het begin heel sceptisch. Weer een bekend iemand die denkt dat hij kan schrijven. Soms pakt het goed uit en soms niet. Deze keer wel. Ik zat vanaf het begin in het verhaal. Je kwam stukje bij beetje meer te weten wat er gebeurd was. Er zaten een paar plotwendingen in. Steeds dacht ik ja ik denk dat ik wel weet hoe het zit en dan las ik verder en had ik het toch mis. Ik vond het een aardig debuut. Ik ben benieuwd of Graham Norton nog meer gaat schrijven.
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  • Susan Johnson
    February 4, 2017
    3.5 stars This was a pleasant. cozy mystery set in Ireland. The characters were likable, the interactions between people were realistic and the mystery had a nice twist. It was a great way to spend a cold, winter's day.
  • Janet
    April 8, 2017
    I've feel like I've been watching the charismatic Graham Norton for years so was quite excited to hear about his new novel. With much intrigue I requested a copy from NetGalley and was delighted to receive an ARC. My thanks to all those involved for that.Set in a remote village called Duneen in Ireland, Holding is a charming whodunit of a tale. It has larger than life characters that you would expect in a village that goes back generations with everyone knowing everyone. Mysterious spinster sist I've feel like I've been watching the charismatic Graham Norton for years so was quite excited to hear about his new novel. With much intrigue I requested a copy from NetGalley and was delighted to receive an ARC. My thanks to all those involved for that.Set in a remote village called Duneen in Ireland, Holding is a charming whodunit of a tale. It has larger than life characters that you would expect in a village that goes back generations with everyone knowing everyone. Mysterious spinster sisters that hold intrigue for the other villagers and a Garda to keep locals in check. The body of what was thought to be a missing local is discovered on local land and becomes the subject of much gossip and speculation. The local garda, Sergeant PJ Collins, has to call in outside help to take on the case. This is the most excitement the local village has seen in years and Collins is almost disappointed that the big city boys have to be called in. He wouldn't mind solving a big time case all by himself!Norton has produced an utterly charming cosy mystery that kept me enthralled as we're taken steadily through the book. Taking time with characters and seeing how their pasts are linked the book read with ease and had a feel of a Agatha Christie mystery. I loved the Irish remoteness of the setting beautifully captured by Norton and I especially loved the bumbling and very shy Collins who exuded warmth and bashfulness in abundance. The mystery itself had me guessing throughout and I changed my mind more than a few times!I have to say I'm really relieved that this book is as good as it is. Being a big name has high expectations but Norton pulled this off brilliantly and with humour too ..... well I think so anyway!!I thoroughly enjoyed this steady character driven tale and hope that there will be more to come.
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  • Barbara
    January 12, 2017
    This novel was one of the top 2 sellers this Christmas in Ireland. It's easy to see why this novel has wide appeal. It is set in a fictional Irish village. This is post-recession Ireland, but much of the novel feels as though this village is still living in the 1960's. The main character is Garda Sergeant PJ Collins, an overweight 40-something garda (yes, the noun is both singular and plural). He is a lonely man trapped in a backwater town, with little to do. That is, until a developer finds a b This novel was one of the top 2 sellers this Christmas in Ireland. It's easy to see why this novel has wide appeal. It is set in a fictional Irish village. This is post-recession Ireland, but much of the novel feels as though this village is still living in the 1960's. The main character is Garda Sergeant PJ Collins, an overweight 40-something garda (yes, the noun is both singular and plural). He is a lonely man trapped in a backwater town, with little to do. That is, until a developer finds a body buried on a long abandoned farm.Although this novel is described as comic, I didn't find it funny. There are many sad and lonely characters in this small town. Is the body that of a local young man who disappeared 20 years before? As the story develops we find his relationship to three women in the town. Time is spent trying to identify the body, and PJ is persistent in questioning locals. Readers will come to appreciate PJ, and maybe like him. The mystery at the center of the story is sufficiently complex to keep you reading. This is Norton's first novel but he is likely to write more given the popularity of his first effort.
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  • Lisa
    February 25, 2017
    I know this isn't going to be everyone's fave but I really loved this book!Yes, I am already a fan of Graham Norton and his wit and I did listen to this on audio with him narrating which probably added the emphasis needed to see this book for the hilarious but sad read that it is.The story is very understated - bones are found in a small village in Ireland that send the locals into gossip overdrive and ignite the long-lost feuds that may lend closure to this mystery.Sergeant PJ Collins is brilli I know this isn't going to be everyone's fave but I really loved this book!Yes, I am already a fan of Graham Norton and his wit and I did listen to this on audio with him narrating which probably added the emphasis needed to see this book for the hilarious but sad read that it is.The story is very understated - bones are found in a small village in Ireland that send the locals into gossip overdrive and ignite the long-lost feuds that may lend closure to this mystery.Sergeant PJ Collins is brilliantly drawn by Norton and all the surrounding characters are flawed (but funny) in his wake.If you like character studies alongside a bit of mystery with dark humour and a cosy feel then definitely go for this.If you like action and brilliant detectives with analytical brains and lightening responses then do not go for this.The beauty of the book lies within the character's interactions or lack thereof!!! I highly recommend the audio version.
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  • Stephen Clynes
    September 29, 2016
    Follow Sergeant PJ Collins as he tries to solve the mystery behind the body uncovered by builders in Duneen, a village in rural Ireland.This is not a regular mystery or crime thriller novel. I found the plot very lacking. The story is told in the same style that Graham uses at the start of each of his television chat shows. Yes, it is witty and very pleasant but is awfully polite and never hits hard. Graham builds his story by developing the police investigation along the lines of a romantic com Follow Sergeant PJ Collins as he tries to solve the mystery behind the body uncovered by builders in Duneen, a village in rural Ireland.This is not a regular mystery or crime thriller novel. I found the plot very lacking. The story is told in the same style that Graham uses at the start of each of his television chat shows. Yes, it is witty and very pleasant but is awfully polite and never hits hard. Graham builds his story by developing the police investigation along the lines of a romantic comedy. The whole novel is soft and more like a situation comedy, for all the wrong reasons. This story does not grab your imagination and is very easy to put down.Characterization is fair and it is nice the characters are ordinary people rather than glamorous style icons. Fans of crime thrillers will be disappointed in the police work of solving the mystery of the body. Forensics do not play much of a part but cosy chats between Sergeant PJ Collins and the villagers saves the day. I found Holding rather weak and I got little enjoyment from reading this book. The whole plot was flimsy and when everything was solved, I was disappointed by the shallowness of the story. This is Graham’s debut novel and I feel that had it been by an unknown author, it would not have been published. Graham Norton is a successful television presenter and is very good at that job but his novel is a big disappointment. This book should sell well because of his name, think lazy Christmas presents for people who enjoy his television chat shows. I found this book a POOR read and can only vote it 2 stars. Don’t give up the day job Graham because there are plenty of good debut mystery novels out there but yours is not one of them.Holding is available as an Amazon Kindle eBook and was written in 2016.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for giving me a copy of this book on the understanding that I provide an honest review.
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  • Louise Wilson
    September 23, 2016
    There are 3 main characters involved in the main story. The first being an overweight guard P. J. Collins. Second is alcoholic mother of 2 Brid Riordan and the third is Evelyn Ross who has nothing to show for her life. The story is set in Duneen a remote Irish village. Builders arrive and start digging on an old farm where they discover human remains. They are believed to be of Tommy Burke a former love interest of both Brid and Evelyn. Sargent Collins struggles to solve his first investigation There are 3 main characters involved in the main story. The first being an overweight guard P. J. Collins. Second is alcoholic mother of 2 Brid Riordan and the third is Evelyn Ross who has nothing to show for her life. The story is set in Duneen a remote Irish village. Builders arrive and start digging on an old farm where they discover human remains. They are believed to be of Tommy Burke a former love interest of both Brid and Evelyn. Sargent Collins struggles to solve his first investigation in years. The Village's dark secrets slowly start to reveal themselves.Never had I imagined reading but his biographies from the author Graham Norton who is a comedian and television presenter in the UK. He was born in Ireland so is relevant that his 1st novel is written around an Irish village. A wonderfully written debut novel which will touch your heart with its touching, sad but cleverly written and addictive storyline.I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Soughton and the author Graham Norton for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elaine
    October 10, 2016
    This is an enthralling mystery set in the Irish village of Duneen where secrets from the past thrive awaiting being uncovered after the discovery of human remains.....The sleepy village of Duneen is the kind of place people drive through without ever realising they’ve been there, one you can pass through on your way to somewhere else but it is never your destination. The villagers are an eclectic mix but most have been born and grown up there, everyone knows everyone else and if someone sneezes This is an enthralling mystery set in the Irish village of Duneen where secrets from the past thrive awaiting being uncovered after the discovery of human remains.....The sleepy village of Duneen is the kind of place people drive through without ever realising they’ve been there, one you can pass through on your way to somewhere else but it is never your destination. The villagers are an eclectic mix but most have been born and grown up there, everyone knows everyone else and if someone sneezes everyone knows about it. Or that’s how it seems to Sergeant PJ Collins, the local officer of the guarda. PJ has been in the village for fifteen very nondescript, but fattening, years but that’s about to change. When human remains are uncovered on an abandoned farm, locals suspect they belong to Tommy Burke, who supposedly left the area decades ago. As PJ starts to help Detective Superintendent Linus Dunne from Cork investigate, he learns that the village has a darker past that he was previously unaware of. It is an investigation that reveals more about the villagers but also helps PJ learn more about himself and his dreams.Through it all, the sadness, sorrow, loves and dreams are brought to life by the author’s emotive and engaging writing. The characters are complex, have hidden agendas and secrets that make them so human and believable as they are brought to life in the pages of the story. There are dark comic moments, for instance, Brid Riordan is the ex fiancée of the murdered man, she’s married and one day had so much to drink that she accidentally sent the washing up liquid instead of a drink in her child’s packed lunch! The gossips in the corner shop are superbly portrayed, as are the three spinster Ross sisters and as for PJ’s housekeeper, Mrs Meany - well, you just need to read it yourself to find out more!This is a real page turner, a great story that is superbly written. There are plenty of twists and turns, especially for PJ, who is in deadly danger as he discovers more from the village’s past and, for the first time in his life, possible romance! There are hints in the last few pages that there may be more to come about PJ in future and I really hope this is the start of a new series as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and have no hesitation in very highly recommending it to anyone looking for a mystery in a brilliant village setting written by someone who may well have kissed the Blarney Stone!Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this novel without any obligations.
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  • Richard
    September 10, 2016
    My enjoyment was doubled in that I read the book while listening to Graham Norton narration of his audio book. It certainly brought it all alive and made it that much more immediate, I could almost feel I was walking down a street in sleepy Duneen.It is a simple tale of the people of a small Irish community and the local police office. Sargeant Collins aka PJ is perhaps going through the motions as nothing ever happens in this forgotten part of Ireland. Perhaps the locals have also reached the p My enjoyment was doubled in that I read the book while listening to Graham Norton narration of his audio book. It certainly brought it all alive and made it that much more immediate, I could almost feel I was walking down a street in sleepy Duneen.It is a simple tale of the people of a small Irish community and the local police office. Sargeant Collins aka PJ is perhaps going through the motions as nothing ever happens in this forgotten part of Ireland. Perhaps the locals have also reached the point of accepting this and on the quiet disrespect their fat and lazy copper.However, all that changes when an old property is being cleared for new houses and the JCB unearths bones that might be human. This rekindles memories and anxieties long forgotten but within this clever mystery, the past unfolds to bring a funny and engrossing story that will puzzle and delight in equal measure.Although not seen as an author Graham Norton is without a doubt a masterful storyteller and he draws on all his imagination to create a credible community packed full of characters. What he does really well is within the story goes off at a tangent to cement the past history of one of the players. It is how he then interrelates all their lives that makes this such a satisfying novel.A must buy at Christmas for all your friends that love books but have fallen out of reading; this will be a book they embrace and enjoy.
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  • Ingrid
    December 20, 2016
    I wanted to know if Graham Norton could write, and I must say, I'm not disappointed. This was a good debut. In the beginning there were too many adjectives, but that stopped after a few pages which made the reading more enjoyable. It's a lovely Irish murder mystery story.
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  • Sarah
    September 18, 2016
    I have always been a big fan of Graham Norton so was very excited to see that he had written a novel. I did wonder though whether he could entertain me as much off the screen as he does on it and I’m pleased to say he did.In a village the size of Duneen, I don’t think crime is something the residents usually have anything to worry about as it’s something that doesn’t happen very often. When human remains are found the usually sleepy little village comes alive and becomes rife with gossip and sus I have always been a big fan of Graham Norton so was very excited to see that he had written a novel. I did wonder though whether he could entertain me as much off the screen as he does on it and I’m pleased to say he did.In a village the size of Duneen, I don’t think crime is something the residents usually have anything to worry about as it’s something that doesn’t happen very often. When human remains are found the usually sleepy little village comes alive and becomes rife with gossip and suspicions.For Sergeant PJ Collins, I think it’s a chance for him to prove to the residents of the village of just what he is actually capable of, though I don’t think he even knows himself as he has never dealt with anything like this before and he just seems to stumble his way through the case.Even though it is a small village where everyone knows everyone as well as usually their business, the human remains goes to show that some are hiding secrets and the residents may not know each other quite as well as they would like to think.Holding is not your typical crime thriller novel. It is a slowly paced read full of suspense and mystery that the reader can sit back and take their time with and enjoy and devour every word. Graham Norton draws his readers into the idyllic Irish setting so we feel like we are there experiencing village life for ourselves. Whilst quite a serious novel from a man that usually makes us laugh, we still get the odd glimpse of Graham’s wicked sense of humour that shines through in parts and I think it would work very well on the small screen.An absolute gem of a debut that goes to show Graham Norton is a man of many talents.My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Aoife
    October 20, 2016
    Holding is set in a sleepy Irish town called Duneen where things are quiet and peaceful until a body is discovered at a building site. Suddenly, secrets that are decades old begin to be uncovered and Sergeant PJ Collins realises he doesn’t really know the people he has been living with.I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book, because honestly a celebrity wrote it and you just never know how those kind of books are going to be. But I was really, really pleasantly surprised by this book Holding is set in a sleepy Irish town called Duneen where things are quiet and peaceful until a body is discovered at a building site. Suddenly, secrets that are decades old begin to be uncovered and Sergeant PJ Collins realises he doesn’t really know the people he has been living with.I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book, because honestly a celebrity wrote it and you just never know how those kind of books are going to be. But I was really, really pleasantly surprised by this book and how great it was and how solid the writing was. This book really echoes the little parts of Ireland where people are living closely together and everyone knows everything and really showed the ructions one thing can cause and how secrets can suddenly be exposed.There were no major “get outta here” shock moments in this book because of the way it’s told. The characters all have their own moments, and it’s easy for the reader to identify who is acting weird and who is not and particularly with one character it was very easy to figure out straight away something was up (though I could understand why the guards would have never suspected her). I actually really liked PJ Collins, and he was one of those underestimated characters that proved he wasn’t as stupid as people thought he was. I liked the gentle camaraderie that developed between him and the detective and I feel like they possibly could make a great team! All of the characters in this are solid and well-written and I enjoyed how we found out about them as young people, and older people but how events had really shaped them. At a panel I went to, Graham Norton said he wrote all the young people in the past because that’s how he could write and identify with them as obviously he can’t really identify with youth of today and i really felt that - he wrote characters he could relate to and understand as well as a town that was very similar to the one he grew up in. Maybe it was a bit safe of him but he played it well, and it worked out.I don’t think the epilogue at the end really worked out for me - I didn’t really care about it too much. I preferred the ending to the very last chapter, and though that would have been a better line to end up on.
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  • Kirsty
    October 16, 2016
    I was intrigued by this; like many humans, I think that Graham Norton is a rather funny guy. I was a little surprised that Holding was more serious than I was expecting; even though it deals with rather a dark storyline, I thought that Norton would inject some of his trademark humour in at times. It shows how versatile he is, I suppose, that he can pull off a book like this.Holding is very much a small town novel; the characters know one another's secrets, or think they do, at least. They themse I was intrigued by this; like many humans, I think that Graham Norton is a rather funny guy. I was a little surprised that Holding was more serious than I was expecting; even though it deals with rather a dark storyline, I thought that Norton would inject some of his trademark humour in at times. It shows how versatile he is, I suppose, that he can pull off a book like this.Holding is very much a small town novel; the characters know one another's secrets, or think they do, at least. They themselves were largely well developed, but some of the conversations between them tended to feel a little mundane. I was quite engaged with the story at first, but as it approached the middle, my interest did wane somewhat. For a crime novel, there weren't quite enough hooks; for a general novel, the plot twists felt few and far between, and a little predictable at times, it must be said. Holding was not quite as good as I thought it would be once I had the first few chapters to go on; it did not feel consistent, which was a shame. This definitely won't put me off reading more of Norton's novels in future, but part of me hopes that he embraces a more comic style.
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  • Becci Williams
    November 2, 2016
    * Well done Mr Norton this was a fantastic read *An overweight unfit sergeant PJ Collins lives in a small Irish village which is in need of some excitement so when local builders uncover some human remains he can't believe his luck, its his time to shine and show the villagers he is not just a bumbling officer without a clue.With the help of an out of town officer PJ rakes up the past for a few village residents and its clear things are still very raw. But gradually things start to fall into pla * Well done Mr Norton this was a fantastic read *An overweight unfit sergeant PJ Collins lives in a small Irish village which is in need of some excitement so when local builders uncover some human remains he can't believe his luck, its his time to shine and show the villagers he is not just a bumbling officer without a clue.With the help of an out of town officer PJ rakes up the past for a few village residents and its clear things are still very raw. But gradually things start to fall into place and we get to work out what happened all those years ago.I loved this book, I loved the characters and felt i really got to know them. I liked that it took us back in time to really understand what happened years ago, it was easy to follow the story and there was never a dull page. I really enjoyed the ending and all loose ends were tied up. Just brilliant.Thankyou to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rachel Sargeant
    December 10, 2016
    If Maeve Binchy had ever written a murder mystery, this would have been it. And what a fresh take on a tired genre it is. We have the suspense of the police investigation with a very endearing lead police officer, but also an array of villagers whose lives are passing them by. It takes the unearthing of old bones to remind them of the thrills and secrets of their long-gone youth. It’s told in a pleasingly old-fashioned style with a universal narration that slips into all the characters’ viewpoin If Maeve Binchy had ever written a murder mystery, this would have been it. And what a fresh take on a tired genre it is. We have the suspense of the police investigation with a very endearing lead police officer, but also an array of villagers whose lives are passing them by. It takes the unearthing of old bones to remind them of the thrills and secrets of their long-gone youth. It’s told in a pleasingly old-fashioned style with a universal narration that slips into all the characters’ viewpoints, even in the same scene, and gives us plenty of backstory. It was only references to the internet and mobile phones that reminded me it was set in the present day. A bit clunky when trying to get into the head of a teenage girl, but a lovely read nonetheless. Hope Mr Norton writes another.
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  • Bridget
    March 30, 2017
    My sister was recently staying at our place and she was reading this, every time there was a wee bit of down time she would grab this book and try to get a bit of reading in. She thought it was grand. I thought I'd give it a go on her recommendation and I was delighted. I like a cozy mystery and this is certainly that. It has all the features, lonely folk, misfits, isolated village and a shambly police officer. There is lots of juicy story, love triangle, illicit affairs and wandering husbands a My sister was recently staying at our place and she was reading this, every time there was a wee bit of down time she would grab this book and try to get a bit of reading in. She thought it was grand. I thought I'd give it a go on her recommendation and I was delighted. I like a cozy mystery and this is certainly that. It has all the features, lonely folk, misfits, isolated village and a shambly police officer. There is lots of juicy story, love triangle, illicit affairs and wandering husbands and wives to keep you turning the pages. I am delighted that Graham Norton has written this book and best of all it leaves space for another. If you need something undemanding and calming this is ideal. If you do it as an audiobook you can have Graham read it to you, that is a very nice thing.
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  • Katie
    December 20, 2016
    Audiobook narration by Graham Norton was great, quality of his story not so much.
  • Mandy Radley
    December 2, 2016
    A great read with some lovely characters, and laugh out loud moments. I really hope Graham Norton writes more novels. Recommended
  • Karin Meinen-Benjamins
    November 10, 2016
    Prachtige roman mét een tik spanning. Mijn recensie op Samenlezenisleuker:https://samenlezenisleuker.wordpress....
  • Renita D'Silva
    April 16, 2017
    Loved this beautiful story about lost love and missed chances.
  • Huso
    October 25, 2016
    Brigadier Patrick James "PJ" Collins is politieagent in Duneen, een klein dorpje in Ierland waar nooit iets gebeurt. Het is het soort dorpje waarin iedereen elkaar kent en waar een grote sociale controle heerst. Als er bij een bouwplaats botten gevonden worden die al jaren in de grond hebben gelegen, heeft bijna iedere inwoner van het dorp er wel een mening of een theorie over en wordt er volop geroddeld en gespeculeerd. Langzaam maar zeker blijkt echter dat iedere dorpsbewoner geheimen heeft en Brigadier Patrick James "PJ" Collins is politieagent in Duneen, een klein dorpje in Ierland waar nooit iets gebeurt. Het is het soort dorpje waarin iedereen elkaar kent en waar een grote sociale controle heerst. Als er bij een bouwplaats botten gevonden worden die al jaren in de grond hebben gelegen, heeft bijna iedere inwoner van het dorp er wel een mening of een theorie over en wordt er volop geroddeld en gespeculeerd. Langzaam maar zeker blijkt echter dat iedere dorpsbewoner geheimen heeft en deze vaak krampachtig probeert te bewaren. Aan de dikke, soms wat klunzige brigadier PJ Collins de taak om uit te vinden wat er in het verleden is gebeurd. Zo'n grote zaak heeft hij echter nooit eerder meegemaakt en als enige agent in het dorp kent iedereen hem en hij kent iedere bewoner. Langzaam maar zeker krijgt PJ de verhalen van de personen te horen in een dorp "waar niets is wat het lijkt" (om maar eens een veelgebruikt cliché van stal te halen). Of eigenlijk is niemand wie hij/zij lijkt. In het verleden is veel gebeurd waar niemand weet van heeft en wat de bewoners liever geheim willen houden. Alles lijkt te wijzen in de richting van de jonge Tommy Burke die jaren geleden spoorloos verdwenen is. Op de bus gestapt en naar London vertrokken, is het algemeen heersende verhaal. Of zijn het toch zijn botten die per toeval ontdekt zijn bij de bouwplaats?Graham Norton is natuurlijk vooral bekend van zijn humoristische en vaak spraakmakende talkshow "The Graham Norton Show", waar ik altijd graag naar kijk. Norton is altijd scherp en ad rem. Toen ik hoorde dat er een boek van hem zou verschijnen was ik behoorlijk sceptisch. Vooral toen ik hoorde dat het een thriller was. Het klonk als de zoveelste beroemdheid die een boek wilde schrijven, maar Graham Norton is een ander geval. Met een prettige schrijfstijl weet hij het dorpse leven te beschrijven met alle bijbehorende spanningen tussen de dorpsbewoners. Met dit boek laat Graham Norton zien niet alleen een goede talkshowhost te zijn, maar ook een zeer kundig schrijver. Zijn sterke kracht ligt duidelijk in het beschrijven van de spanning tussen de personages en hun interacties. Hierin toont hij zich een ware meester. Ik hoop niet dat Norton gaat stoppen met zijn televisiewerk, maar ik hoop wel dat hij tijd overhoudt om te schrijven. Een volgende thriller van Graham Norton zal ik zeker met gejuich ontvangen. Een aanrader!
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  • Claire
    September 26, 2016
    A touching tale of broken dreams and promises. 4/5 stars.This review was originally posted on my book blog.I always think you can’t go wrong by starting a book with the discovery of a body in an otherwise quiet, crime-free setting. Holding hits the ground running when a skeleton is unearthed in the small village of Duneen; the mystery is handled well as it unravels and wrapped up satisfactorily as we follow the investigations of the local Guard, PJ, and the Detective Superintendent assigned to t A touching tale of broken dreams and promises. 4/5 stars.This review was originally posted on my book blog.I always think you can’t go wrong by starting a book with the discovery of a body in an otherwise quiet, crime-free setting. Holding hits the ground running when a skeleton is unearthed in the small village of Duneen; the mystery is handled well as it unravels and wrapped up satisfactorily as we follow the investigations of the local Guard, PJ, and the Detective Superintendent assigned to the case.However, the story really isn’t about finding out the identity of the remains and who put them there. More important is how the uncovering of the bones impacts the village and in particular the lives of three characters: Brid, Evelyn and PJ. These three are at the heart of the story and, crucially, are all believable, likeable (to varying extents) and I quickly came to care about all of them.The setting is evoked brilliantly. The atmosphere of a small village community, where everyone has their nose in everyone else’s business, forcing people to hold their secrets very close, is conveyed extremely well.As you might expect from Norton, there are some very funny moments and his wit sparkles throughout. However, the stories of several characters are also rather poignant. This tale is one of carefully handled light and shade, and any laughter directed towards the characters is affectionate, rather than mean-spirited.I had one small stylistic niggle: the story is told in third person, switching between different character POVs. Mostly, each scene is dedicated to one character’s POV and it’s clear when we switch to a different character viewpoint. However, occasionally within a scene and even within a paragraph we slip between characters’ thoughts and feelings. This “head hopping” confused me slightly in a couple of places, but overall it wasn’t a big problem.Overall: an excellent debut. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
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  • Ms. Please Pass The Books
    September 19, 2016
    Yes, yes, yessssss. I'll admit it, dammit. Yes. I picked this novel up because it's written by Graham Norton. I didn't know what it would be, but hoped my favorite funny-man would deliver something truly amazing.And as Norton never disappoints [me, at least], his debut novel was no exception.Sgt PJ Collins is the lawman of itty-bitty Duneen…although he's anything but itty-bitty himself. When remains are dug up on a construction site, PJ is thrust from a stalemate to center stage. Zero to hero fo Yes, yes, yessssss. I'll admit it, dammit. Yes. I picked this novel up because it's written by Graham Norton. I didn't know what it would be, but hoped my favorite funny-man would deliver something truly amazing.And as Norton never disappoints [me, at least], his debut novel was no exception.Sgt PJ Collins is the lawman of itty-bitty Duneen…although he's anything but itty-bitty himself. When remains are dug up on a construction site, PJ is thrust from a stalemate to center stage. Zero to hero for a man you really, really, realllly want to root for. The back stories of the deceased's prior lovers are delved into, shifting focus between Brid and Evelyn, as well as the history of their little Irish village.Norton once quipped, "Do I have more depth than I'm given credit for? No!"Well, the joke's on him. It turns out there's a Poseidon's realm to his writing [and he certainly deserves the credit]. Norton has delivered a touching debut novel, stacked with wonderfully developed and authentic characters, and wrapped up in a town that—regardless of its dirty secrets—I wasn't ready to leave when the book came to an end.
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