top of page

the orphans

Eight year old Jess and her little brother Sparrow are playing at the water's edge when their parents vanish. For hours the children hold hands and wait for their mother and father to come back. But one sleep goes by, then two, then twenty-two, right until the end of numbers. And nobody came back. 

In present day London, Jess has become a mother, a lawyer, a locker of doors. But her brother Ro has never been able to leave that Goa beach. He has grown unpredictable, obsessive, his life devoted to chasing every spurious sighting of his mother. 

When new evidence suggests that their mother might indeed have lived on after Goa, Ro re-enters Jess's life. Jess is determined to protect the life she has built around her but, convinced that his sister knows more than she claims, Ro is intent on answers. 

Publication date: 27 July 2017


'Neary builds a compelling story around a tragic tale... captivating and entertaining.'
Sunday Independent
'Neary is a fine prose writer and The Orphans is a very well-written book - markedly so for this genre... The ending is artful and beautifully ambiguous, and as mentioned, the writing is excellent.'
Irish Country Magazine
'...a thriller as gripping as her recent novel Siren.' 
Books Ireland
 ​'a faultless literary fiction thriller ... Like the author's previous book, Siren, set in Northern Ireland, this one pulls off the trick of succeeding both as genre and as serious literary fiction.'
Image Magazine
' atmospheric thriller.'
( 3 Brilliant Beach Reads we love)
The Irish Times
'Neary has a terrific eye for detail...'
Fully Booked
'The book succeeds on every level... as convincing a description of a descent into madness as I have ever read.'
Crime Fiction Lover
'The Orphans will appeal even if you are not a hardened crime fiction fanatic... a touching story, beautifully told.'
The Literary Sofa
' flawlessly executed... This novel grabbed me so hard I could barely breathe for the last few chapters.'
'This is a really compelling read... [I] can happily recommend The Orphans without reserve.'
Crime Review
This is a mystery wrapped in a tragedy, and the author has given it a sense of time and place with brief, unobtrusive descriptions. There are intriguing subplots, and thanks to careful prose, the story moves forwards at a heady, suspenseful pace. I love the depth of emotion, the emphasis on guilt and absolution.
A Life in Books
'Neary’s writing is as sharp and vivid as I remembered it....When the resolution comes it’s pleasingly open, avoiding easy explanations.'
746 Books
'... a different kind of thriller, subtle and compelling with an emphasis on strong characterisation and a great sense of atmospheric and gripping read.'
Twin Creatives
'intricate characterisation, beautiful writing and a focus on human experiences and emotions.'
pre-publication interview with Donna Freed of Radio Gorgeous 
fiction set in urban wilderness
on BBC Radio 4's Open Book
Jaffa Reads Too
'Beautifully written, cleverly crafted, and with a fine eye for detail, this is another great story by a talented writer.'
Jera's Jamboree
'I was hooked from the beginning.... fast paced, atmospheric and a tense read.'
bottom of page