BY CONOR POWER
Before He Kills Again is a new crime novel by versatile Mallow-born writer Tadhg Coakley. It’s the follow-up to the award-winning Whatever it Takes. This time, protagonist Detective Tim Collins follows the trail of the murder of a woman in Cork city that brings him back to his West Cork origins.
‘I wanted to bring Collins back to his roots,’ says Tadhg. ‘He’s from Ballineen originally and he’s in a relationship with a woman living in Dunmanway so he spends a lot of time there. I wanted to explore that family relationship with him and her and her two daughters.
‘I spent six months living in Dunmanway in 2020. My wife and I were doing renovations on our house in Cork city, so I got to know the town very well and I liked it a lot, even though it was during Covid ... but I’ve been going down to West Cork for years, to visit friends in Bantry and various places, as well as going on holidays.
‘One of the things I wanted was a different location. Location is very important in crime writing. The topography around Dunmanway is very interesting as well.’
By ‘interesting topography,’ Tadhg is referring to the gentle alluring rolling hills of West Cork that hide so much – the melange of soft hills and the rugged granite that create such a dramatic backdrop for any story.
‘It’s very interesting because it’s kind-of rugged and isolated in some places and it’s very sophisticated and urbane in other parts as well.’
Like Tadhg, Tim Collins is a former inter-county hurler. Is there much of the author in the fictional character of Tim Collins?
‘Not really, no,’ Tadhg laughs. ‘He’s very different from me. I wouldn’t be tough enough to be a garda at all. He’s a flawed character and he has mental health issues, including PTSD from a previous case, which will come out in the next book, which is a prequel.’
Whatever it Takes was launched in 2020 without the full fanfare as it was during the Lockdown. Despite the unfortunate timing of its launch however, the novel went on to win the ‘One City, One Book’ award for Cork.
Before He Kills Again will be launched by Mercier Press this month and there will be a public signing by the author at Waterstones in Cork City on Saturday March 25th.