“The Connellys of County Down| Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider
For over a year, Tara Connelly has been in Taconic Correctional, a medium security facility where she’s been a model prisoner. The day finally comes when the doors open and Tara is free. Or is she? Tara discovers there are other ways of being imprisoned when she goes home to live with her sister, Geraldine; brother, Eddie; and his young son Conor.
The brouhaha surrounding Tara’s homecoming kicks off “The Connellys of County Down,” by Tracey Lang, a heartfelt mystery encased in the gripping tale of three siblings, their love for each other, personal struggles and misunderstandings adding rapt, identifiable interest to the story.
When Geraldine doesn’t show up to give Tara a ride home from prison, Brian Nolan, a police detective, steps up to the plate. He’s been guilt-ridden about his part in Tara being incarcerated when she's found with drugs. Brian wants an opportunity to apologize, to explain he had no choice given the fact that his uncle, a detective he works with, was the strong arm in Tara’s arrest.
In actuality, Tara was just small potatoes in a drug operation run by Roland Shay, a drug dealer in Port Chester, a town in the East as down on its luck as its citizens, many addicted and dependent on the drug king pin.
As Brian and his uncle attempt to find Shay, who mysteriously disappears, Tara again becomes suspect when she takes a misstep that creates suspicion. The stress of being under investigation adds to the problems she’s having at home with Geraldine, whose hoarding has gotten out of control, the escape Geraldine finds in the obsession fueled by a blunder at the company where she’s been a longtime, respected employee.
Tara’s brother’s life is a mess too. Eddie suffers from a traumatic brain injury which causes him pain and seizures. He also has a secret that gnaws at his psyche, the guilt causing his physical symptoms to escalate.
“The Connellys of County Down” is engaging from first page to last—a book you’re instantly into and one that keeps you guessing until the end. I was captivated by its well-drawn, realistic characters. The siblings are fallible, their flaws nearly upending each of them, yet they are devoted and loyal to one another, almost to a fault. This novel is another must-read by Tracy Lange, who previously penned “We Are the Brennans.”