Ask No Questions by Claire Allan

Not all secrets are meant to come out…

Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.
Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.
It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?

A twisty psychological thriller from bestselling author Claire Allan.

Claire Allan’s most recent thriller is set in Derry in both 2019 and 1994. In 1994, the body of a young girl, Kelly Doherty, was found three days after she went missing on Halloween night. The two narrators, Ingrid Devlin and Declan Heaney, both experienced the event in different ways. Declan, along with his twin brother Niall, discovered the body of the young girl, whilst Ingrid knew Kelly. Arrests were made after the discovery and a local man, Jamsie Harte, was sent to prison but there’s always been doubt about his involvement in the murder. The community was shocked by the event and it took a long time before parents were comfortable letting their children out to play again.

The brothers’ relationship is an important focus of the book as both reacted very differently to finding Kelly’s body and their adult lives go in very different paths. And, although they were close up to that point, their collective experience fractures their relationship. Niall is a successful teacher whilst Declan relies on drugs and crime.

Ingrid Devlin remembers that night and how it impacted the community. She is now a successful reporter and is writing an anniversary piece on Kelly’s death. She was about the same age as Kelly has has always wondered if she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the chance to interview Jamsie Harte arises, Ingrid accepts. However, Ingrid is being followed and threatened by someone who knows she’s writing about the case.

Ask No Questions is certainly an entertaining thriller but it also shows the lasting consequences that violent acts can have on a community and the paranoia and trauma that can linger. All of Allan’s books that I’ve read focus on these long-lasting consequences and show that trauma affects people differently and for a very long time after the event.

Avon, 21 January, 2021

About the writer

Claire Allan is a former journalist, turned bestselling author from Derry in Northern Ireland.,

She graduated with a Masters Degree in Newspaper Journalism from Ulster University in 1999, before starting work as a staff reporter with the Derry Journal – covering an array of news from politics to human interest stories. She was the paper’s first female columnist in its 200 year history. She also worked for a time as acting news editor.

The highlights of her career in journalism with the included being part of the award winning team that covered the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, and covering Derry’s year as the first UK City of Culture. She maintains the best part of the job was always meeting ‘ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell’.

In 2006, Claire decided to try and fulfil a lifetime ambition to write a novel and spent six months writing ‘Rainy Days and Tuesdays’ – loosely based on her own experienced of post-natal depression. This was published by Poolbeg Press in Ireland in 2007 and became an instant bestseller.

Seven more women’s fiction novels followed before Claire decided to leave journalism to concentrate on writing, and also to try her hand at writing psychological thrillers. Ten years after ‘Rainy Days and Tuesdays’ was written, Claire began to write ‘Her Name Was Rose’, which was published by Avon Books in 2008.  It became a bestseller in the UK, Ireland, Canada, America and Australia. 

It was followed by Apple of My Eye (Jan, 2019) and ‘Forget Me Not’ (May, 2019) and ‘The Liar’s Daughter’ (January 2020)

​Claire still lives in Derry, and is a very proud Derry Girl. She  is married and has two children – the Teen and the Wee Doll – and two cats, Alfie and Kitty Purry, and a puppy called Izzy. 

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