The opening line of a book says a lot about what’s to come. It sets the tone, captures our attention – makes us want to read on, and the opening line of Ciara Geraghty’s ‘Finding Mr Flood’ does just that….‘Dara Flood always said that the most interesting thing about her happened before she was born.’
Intrigued? I most definitely was and read on, and on and on. In fact, I couldn’t stop reading this excellently written, brilliantly plotted book.
The issue of ‘Finding Mr Flood’ is the dilemma which runs through the heart of this book; Mr Flood being the father of Dara Flood, a father who, before she was born, went out for a packet of cigarettes one day and never returned. With Dara’s sister Angel now suffering from ‘end stage renal failure’, Dara sets out to find her father, in a final, desperate hope that he may be a match for her sister. It’s a fascinating hook and one which is further developed through the reluctance of anyone to discuss Mr Flood, let alone find him.
Dara Flood isn’t your usual heroine. She isn’t a ‘girly-girl’, lives at home with her mother and sister, works at a dog-pound and likes cooking, salsa dancing and pizza with her two work colleagues. That is about as exciting as Dara’s life gets, being somewhat consumed with worrying and caring for her sister.
‘Finding Mr Flood’ is mainly set in Dublin, but with scenes which take us to other parts of Ireland and eventually to Paris. With brilliantly observed dialogue and accent and meticulously observed character traits, Ciara Geraghty creates an impressive and credible cast list – not only in her principal characters of Dara and the unsuspecting, unexpected romantic male lead, Stanley Flinter, but also in those who surround Dara and Stanley’s lives: Mrs Flood, Angel, the next door neighbour Miss Pettigrew, Dara’s work colleagues Tintin and Anja and even the numerous dogs who each have their own starring roles. Everyone has a unique voice, a unique appeal and a part to play in the path Dara eventually takes to start to track down her father.
This is by no means a predictable novel, with the author taking the reader on several twists and turns, yet constantly (and very cleverly) reminding us of what is at stake here and what it is that drives the main characters to act as they do. With enticing snippets of first person dialogue from an unknown character dotted throughout the book, we are never quite sure what the outcome is going to be and of course, with Angel’s condition worsening all the time, there is an ever-present sense of frustration and urgency.
Ciara Geraghty has been hailed by some as the new Marian Keyes. With this excellent novel, she is definitely a worthy contender to that crown.
Ciara Geraghty lives in Dublin in a house with one husband and three children and an imaginary dog called George (who can roll over, play dead and shake paws with visitors). It is a noisy house which is why she had to become a writer. Writing is a perfect excuse to leave the noisy house and hole up somewhere quieter (like Dublin airport) to get some work done. In this way, she has managed to write three books and some short stories. Hobbies include giving up cigarettes, looking at the pictures in recipe books and reading brilliant books, mostly because they’re brilliant but also because they make her want to be a better writer.
Finding Mr Flood is published by Hachette Books Ireland. Ciara’s previous novels are ‘Saving Grace’ and ‘Becoming Scarlet’, also published by Hachette Books Ireland.