Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Bomb Man by Andy Greenaway

“A milk churn had been placed upright by the side of the road”

Genre: Thriller

Number of Pages: 320

Date of Publication: 30 September 2021

Publisher: Andy Greenaway (USA)

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A fast paced, gripping tale.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

“”The Bomb Man” is an enthralling, fast-paced novel based on real events. Beyond that, it serves as a tribute to a rare breed of men who were thrust into a conflict they were not prepared for in Northern Ireland. The year is 1973. Catholics and Protestants are at war. IRA terrorists have unleashed a bloody bombing campaign, indiscriminately killing women and children, policemen and soldiers. Bomb disposal expert Dave Thomson has been sent to Londonderry by the British army. His job is to dismantle the countless explosive devices that are planted across the city every day. When he captures an IRA bomb-maker in the act of planting a device, Thomson crosses the line. He forces the terrorist to defuse his own bomb. A provocative act that ignites the fury of the IRA. The terrorist organization puts a price on his head. With 30 days until his tour of duty ends, there’s only one question on Thomson’s mind. Will he make it home alive to his wife and children? Or in a body bag?

A book set in the period of The Troubles is bound to stir controversy. Even though the events in this novel occurred almost fifty years ago, they still touch a raw nerve among the many whose lives were touched abhorrently and indelibly by the conflict. 

This book offers insight into the circumstances that led to The Troubles. It touches on the blatant social injustice and religious discrimination that was endemic in Northern Ireland. The author also opens a window into the deadly excesses of the British Army, who exacerbated the problem and contributed to the rise of the IRA. 

But this is not a book about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. It’s a novel. A story which has been inspired by the author’s father – a bomb disposal man who was posted to Northern Ireland in 1973, at the height of the bombings. Readers will see through the eyes of a British soldier and the perspective is candidly one-sided. That is not to say there aren’t other valid perspectives of what happened. As they say, there’s always two sides to a story.

That said, this book is authentic. It offers readers an accurate view of the practices and protocols followed by the British Army, a sense of how the IRA operated, and a feeling of the deep distrust between Catholics and Protestants.

💭THOUGHTS💭

I love Thrillers and when this one came up on Random Things Tours I was excited to see that it had a different setting to something that I would normally read. It was based in Northern Ireland and focussed on The Troubles. I know of the Troubles, but I have never read about them. It was an excellent read and one which has made me broaden my horizons when choosing books to read. 

The story was well written and grabbed me from the beginning. It opened with a note saying that it was based on true events and people, which piqued my interest. I like to read things that are based on true stories as I feel like I have learnt something new whilst being entertained. 

The chapters were simply numbered and fairly short. They each took tiny parts of the story, which together, built up the whole picture. This gave the story a fast pace, whilst at the same time giving you important little details that gave the story life. Whilst it was fast paced the story didn’t feel rushed, for example you had time to see what the characters were eating, drinking and playing whilst waiting for things to happen. It actually added to the suspense because these details were so mundane that you were expecting something awful to happen next. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen and who was going to survive! 

The characters, as mentioned above, were based on real people and you could tell by the way that it was written that there was real passion and emotion behind these characters. I was kept engaged by the mere personalities of some of these characters and was kept guessing as to what was going to happen next.

I enjoyed reading about all of the characters and the way that you could see where they were coming from, from both sides, even if their actions were sometimes a step too far. I really felt for some of them and became quite emotionally invested in the story! I enjoyed reading about what happened next to the characters at the end of the story. It gave closure to the book. 

Lastly I will mention the settings. They were lightly described and they really didn’t need any more than that. It was a character based story and the fact that it was set at the time of The Troubles meant that you didn’t need to spend time reading about where all the characters were. It was what they were up to that was the focus and this was balanced well against the light description of the background. 

I really enjoyed reading this book and felt that I have learnt something new. It was an emotional and fast paced read and I would definitely recommend it to Thriller fans and anybody with an interest in The Troubles. As it says in the Authors notes, the focus of the story was on a lesser know part of the Army and it was nice to read about those that are largely overlooked, yet were clearly a big part of the ‘war’. A 5 star rating from me!

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

About the Author and Book

The Bomb Man by Andy Greenaway

· ASIN : B09HFSD93P

· Publisher : Independently published (28 Sept. 2021)

· Language : English

· Paperback : 328 pages

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/BOMB-MAN-wants-other-ideas/dp/B09HFSD93P/

BLURB

Northern Ireland, 1973. Catholics and Protestants are at war. IRA terrorists have unleashed a bloody bombing campaign, indiscriminately killing women and children, policemen and soldiers. Bomb disposal expert Dave Thomson has been sent to Londonderry by the British army. His job is to dismantle the countless explosive devices that are planted across the city every day. When he captures a bomb-maker in the act of planting a device, Thomson crosses the line. He forces the terrorist to defuse his own bomb. A provocative act that ignites the fury of the IRA. The terrorist organisation puts a price on his head. With 30 days until his tour of duty ends, there’s only one question on Thomson’s mind. Will he make it home to his wife and children alive? Or in a body bag?

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR

Even though the events in this novel occurred almost fifty years ago, they still touch a raw nerve among many whose lives were touched abhorrently and indelibly by the conflict.

To this day, The Troubles give rise to deep passions. The perspectives of the people embroiled in the conflict, as you might expect, differ greatly. Acute bias exists depending on which side people were on.

In writing this book, I have tried to give an insight into the circumstances that led to The Troubles. I touch on the blatant social injustice and religious discrimination that was endemic in Northern Ireland. I open a window into the deadly excesses of the British Army, who exacerbated the problem and contributed to the rise of the IRA.

But this is not a book about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. It’s a novel. A story which has been inspired by my father. A bomb disposal man who was posted to Northern Ireland in 1973, at the height of the bombings. It is through the eyes of a British soldier that we view the events that unfold. I’ll be honest. It is one-sided. That is not to say there aren’t other valid perspectives of what happened. As they say, there’s always two sides to a story.

That said, I have endeavoured to write a book that is authentic. A book that gives people an accurate view of the practices and protocols followed by the British Army. A sense of how the IRA operated. A feeling of the deep distrust between Catholics and Protestants.

In the story, there are many firsts. The wheelbarrow, the bomb suit and electronic countermeasures were introduced during my father’s tour of duty.

No one has ever written a novel about the brave men from 321 EOD before. Many action writers like to put the more glamorous SAS at the heart of their stories.

But ‘The Bomb Man’ is more than just a story. It is a tribute to a rare breed of men who were thrust into a conflict they were not prepared for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy is a writer who has spent the last 30 years in Asia. Singapore is the place he has chosen to call home.

The Bomb Man is his first novel. A story that was inspired by his Father, a bomb disposal expert who served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Andy’s Father was sent to Northern Ireland twice. The first time was during the height of the bombings in 1973. It was a gruelling tour and Andy’s Father came close to death on several occasions.

Andy convinced his Father to write his stories down on paper. They were too important, he told his Father.

The Bomb Man is the result. It’s a unique and gripping thriller that gives the reader an inside look into the machinations of a bomb squad, as well as a feel for the dirty tactics used by the IRA. Andy spent five years writing the book, ensuring its authenticity and operational accuracy.

The senior Greenaway appeared in many documentaries about The Troubles before he passed away.

EARLY YEARS

From the time Andy Greenaway was born, he grew up knowing nothing else but life in the British Army.

His Father was an Ammunition Technician and bomb disposal expert. Andy travelled with his military parents and lived on bases in Cyprus, Bahrain, Germany, Canada, and every part of England.

As a young boy, he would go out onto the ranges with his Father, who would pick up unexploded mortars and other types of dysfunctional ammunition. When the bomb disposal robot was invented (the wheelbarrow), Andy was one of the first to give it a test drive in a workshop at Kineton, the army’s Central Ammunition Depot.

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14 thoughts on “Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Bomb Man by Andy Greenaway

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