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Crimes & Thriller


Richard Lamberth





Derry Boy is a fast-paced action thriller about a young man born in the troubles of Northern Ireland in the early 1960's. He is drawn into a violent shadowy  world where money and crime speak louder than political conviction.The action  jumps from Ulster to England, from the Mediterranean to New York in an exciting unpredictable, twisting tale.



"Sean's dead" she said as she grabbed Liam's small hand and pulled him in from the street. The door slammed behind them and he started to cry.

Sean was the first person to die in Liam's life and the first person to die in violence. There would be others, many others. But for now that feeling of someone being snatched away was very real for the first time. He had seen Sean earlier that  day. Sean was sitting in the smart room, the parlour and moaning to Liam's ma about 'thurbridish'. Liam wasn't sure who thurbridish were but he thought they  must be pretty bad people - Sean said so, Sean always said so. Sean had been  talking about freedom fighters shooting at soldiers on the border in the last  few days, his ma was listening but saying little. 'The border' was a mystical  and wonderful place to a six year old city boy. It was the gateway to holidays.  Holidays in green fields and yellow beaches, a place very special to Liam  because it was where 'Ganda' lived on a farm with all his uncles and cousins. Liam never knew his father. His ma never spoke of him and though he  wondered why he was different from all his friends and really wanted to know, he didn't want to ask. And anyway, he had Sean and Sean was like a dad to him. He  put him on his shoulders and he took him to the park. He even bought him ice cream.

It was January now though, not time for ice cream and Liam was cold.

"Can I sit on your lap Sean" he asked

"No son, I've godda be on my way now, things to do you know. I've got a march to organise" Liam liked Sean to  call him son.

"Is it a march against thurbridish?" asked Liam. Sean and  Liam's mother laughed at the grown up six year old standing in front of  them.

"Yes it's a march against thurbridish" laughed Sean as he made his way out the door. He ruffled Liam's hair with his big hands and added "I'll catch  you both later".

"Be careful Sean" shouted Liam's mother. The last words she  would ever say to him.

Sean had been at the front of the march. He had hurled abuse at the British  soldiers. To his right his good friend Patrick brandished the 'Bogside Residents Brits Out' sign which they had argued about holding. Suddenly Patrick fell down.  Sean thought he had stumbled and bent down to pick up the sign and help his  friend. Then he saw the blood. It was gushing from a huge hole in his neck.  Patrick was spluttering and trying to talk but life was quickly leaving him. He  died in Sean's arms, drenching Sean's denim shirt in blood. There was chaos all around. People were shouting and crying and screaming and lying down. Lots of  people were lying down. Were they dead? And above all there was the unmistakable sound of gunfire.

Could they really be shooting at unarmed civilians? Then he saw the pink berets of the soldiers crouched at the side of the building - firing at the crowd. Short bursts of bright light escaped from the ends of the muzzles then the bullets ripped into flesh and bone and ricocheted off concrete and brick with indiscriminate ferocity. In a fit of rage Sean grabbed the sign and charged at the soldiers. He was screaming at them. His veins stood out on his forehead and had he ever reached the soldiers, he could no doubt have inflicted serious injury with the sign. He was hit and SLR bullets flew through  his body but he stumbled on. More bullets ripped into him and he finally fell, 20 feet from the nearest soldier. He died there on a grey pavement under a grey sky just two blocks from the house where he was born and had lived for 26 short years. The date was January 30 1972 - Bloody Sunday.

Liam was crying again. He was crying because his ma was crying. There were lots of people standing around the graveside and Liam didn't know most of them but they were all dressed in black and looked very miserable. The crying time had passed for Liam until today. It was two weeks since Sean was killed, plenty  of time for a young boy to play and shout and laugh and argue with all the other six year olds in his street. He had suddenly started to cry again when the  hearse came because he suddenly remembered Sean.

The funeral ended and the  mourners mostly melted away into the graveyard, several of them stopping for a  few words with Liam's ma, some of them hugging her and him and sobbing. At the very far side of the graveyard were some Landrovers with policemen and soldiers standing around staring at the mourners.

"Will you look at those bastards"  said the man standing behind Liam. Liam turned to see the man everyone in his area called 'Uncle Michael'. Without noticing Liam, he continued "You'd think they'd let us bury our people in peace without their ugly mugs looking on". Then  suddenly, noticing Liam, he bent down removed his sunglasses and winked at Liam  and with a warm friendly smile he said "You know young Liam, we'll look after you. You and your ma. We always look after our people".

Even the trees seemed to weep that day. The thick, dark, leafless branches drooped after the heavy rain and large drops fell on the gathered mourners. Huge  tears welled in Liam's eyes again and a lasting, painful memory stuck fast in the young boy's mind.

The years passed and Liam Flynn grew up. Quite quickly, on the surface, he  forgot about Sean but deep down he remembered the day he was taken away. In many ways life for Liam and his ma became easier. They moved into a nice semi-detached house in Griffin Park and there was always a good meal on the  table. The holidays over the border to County Donegal increased in length and frequency. And Liam grew up with a fierce hatred for the British. All the kids at his school hated them and threw stones at the foot patrols of soldiers who  were always on the streets of their home town. Even more though Liam hated the  Police. The Royal Ulster Constabulary were his own countrymen who sided with the British and he detested them.

One night when Liam was 12 the RUC broke down his ma's front door at 3.00am  and ransacked the house. It was February and they made Liam and his ma stand  barefoot in the garden for two hours while they turned everything upside down. They called his ma an 'IRA whore' and though Liam didn't know what this meant, he knew by the spiteful way they spat the words in her face that it was a  terrible insult. At just after 5.00am they were allowed back into their shattered home. The pictures were broken, the furniture ripped and even his toys  were smashed. It was wanton destruction. They had found nothing and no further  action was taken against his ma.

The seeds of hatred were sown in the fertile mind of a young republican boy  from Derry and it was not long before the shoots started to show.

When he was 16, Liam walked straight into a job at the McCabe and Gallagher  Builders Yard. He was a fit young man and was soon a junior stockman shifting  bricks and blocks and wood and cement. He became immensely strong physically and  was nicknamed 'The Hardman' by his fellow workers. With his startling blue eyes and mop of dark hair he was never short of a young lady to walk out with on a  Saturday night. It was a beautiful Sunday morning when Liam Flynn became a  member of an IRA Active Service Unit. The date was June 12 1983, a few days  after Mrs Thatcher secured her second term in office and the Republican cause  seemed as hopeless as ever.

Liam quickly gained a reputation as a daring and fanatical terrorist. He was  fiercely loyal to his unit and frequently put his life on the line to save his  comrades over the following years. He carried out his first execution in a loyalist bar in 1984 when he gunned down a man who looked like Sean. They say you never forget your first victim's face and certainly Liam had a vivid picture from surprise to convulsion to death before him. Two months later he killed a  policeman and then a year later scrambled under a car to plant a bomb which  later destroyed the car and the two 18 year old British soldiers inside. The sheer force of the explosion had ripped them apart and he later heard from a  source in the RUC 'Clean Up' squad that they found just one small piece of a skull with an ear still attached.

The Hardman quickly rose through the ranks of the Army Council of the IRA. Not only did he have the reputation of being their most ruthless warrior, he  also seemed to have the luck of the devil. He evaded the very best efforts of the RUC Special Branch and even the clutches of an SAS unit, rumoured to have him as their number one target. Good luck and good timing are valuable qualities for an Irish terrorist and Liam was held in high regard - but even some hardened IRA men were shocked by his sheer callousness.