Holding out for a hero


About this book

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.

MetLineReader review

The day after I started the book, I saw an interview with Graham Norton (a sarcastic, humorous entertainer in the UK) in the Sunday Times. I wasn’t sure whether to read the interview but it confirmed everything I was thinking about this great book.

Graham himself confirmed that he hadn’t set out to write a rip roaring comedy with lots of gay characters or even something that could be seen as part autobiographical.

He has written a novel. And that’s what’s so refreshing about it. You can cast aside all your preconceptions about GN and just read it.

To be sure, there’s a hint of the Irish mischievousness about it as its set in a small blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village. There are some great “characters” from PJ the guard (policeman), his downtrodden housekeeper Mrs Meany, the trio of Ross sisters and the unhappy Brid Riordan.

Ultimately this is a gentle thriller, which unfolds nicely and it doesn’t matter who wrote it. Reminiscent of one of my favourite “gentle” Irish novels, The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna. I really enjoyed it.

MetLineReader rating 4 🚔🚔🚔🚔 stars – Jubilee


Holding by Graham Norton is published on 6th October by Hodder and Stoughton. I received an advance review copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Author: metlinereader

I am obsessed with books.  In fact, I'd rather be reading than doing anything else.   I enjoy trying out new books and new authors; I do like to "mix and match" genres.  I often have access to books before they are published and would welcome the opportunity to review most books... just not horror or sci-fi, please :)