The Bee Sting

Farrar. Aug. 2023. 656p. ISBN 9780374600303. $30. F
In a small town outside of Dublin, an economic downturn spells trouble for the once-affluent Barnes family at the heart of this latest from Murray, perhaps best known for the Booker Prize–shortlisted Skippy Dies. For Cass, finishing up high school, it’s the worry that her parents won’t be able to send her to university. For her little brother, PJ, it’s the illogical fear that they will send him away to boarding school. Shopaholic mother Imelda is forced to curtail her spending and sell off some of her treasures. For father Dickie, who has lived in the shadow of his dead brother, a beloved football star, it’s the disgrace of running his father’s car business into the ground. Will Grandfather return from his golfing life in Portugal to set things right and save the family from those who threaten them, including a gang of local thugs, a Polish blackmailer, an online predator, and a crackpot survivalist, or will it all implode?
VERDICT This is a big, multilayered book full of secrets and surprises. But not a word is wasted in this unsettling, character-rich, devilishly plotted page-turner.
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