‘THE WRONG MAN’ – Brian Rowan reviews Danny Morrison’s new novel

Social share:


The words spit out like shrapnel – clearly intended to cut and wound.

“Widow of the big hero.”

“Widow of the Tout.”

Two women – two friends – in angry conversation, caught in the plays of conflict and in a war in which they’ve both lost.

Inside the republican community, one of them – outwardly at least – can walk with her head held high.

The other shrinks with the shame of the writing on the wall; hoping that the words might yet be washed away.

“I mean the IRA have apologised for mistakes before.”

We are deep into the writing and the reading of Danny Morrison’s novel ‘THE WRONG MAN’ – skilful story-telling that at times will place the reader on the emotional edge of their seats. Anger, suspense, sadness, love and hate – the cold and chill of conflict.

Morrison takes us inside complex tunnels – into the betrayal and deceit of a dirty war.

The paranoia. The questions and questioning when things go wrong. The bugging, the Branch, surveillance and anti-surveillance methods – bombs, bullets, the blood and, ultimately, the betrayal that comes with being compromised.

This the result of human frailty and fault and of one secret too many.



THE WRONG MAN was first published in 1997 and has been reworked in 2018.

Morrison began writing it while in prison serving an eight year sentence for the kidnapping of an IRA informer, a conviction that was later overturned.

So, he writes with that experience and knowledge of having been inside the IRA and a war that is now over.

As the pages turn, we are taken back into an unanswered and, perhaps, unanswerable past – into a world in which kindness and killing can sit side-by-side. Such a complicated and challenging contradiction.

A scratch beneath this story line and its characters are real events and real people; a novel and accompanying play shaped and fashioned from the vantage point of having been on the inside.

There is no escape from what happened; and, in 200 pages of writing and reading, we are challenged and shaken out of our comfort zones.

The reworking of Morrison’s novel coincides with the legacy consultation here; the latest effort to find some way of addressing the past of this place.

Will we ever know? How much do we want to know?

THE WRONG MAN – published by Elsinor – is a reminder that there are ugly secrets that will never be told.


Social share:

About Author

Brian Rowan

Brian Rowan is a journalist/author. A former BBC correspondent in Belfast, four times he has been a category winner in the Northern Ireland Press and Broadcast Awards. He is the author of several books on the peace process. His latest book (published by Merrion Press) POLITICAL PURGATORY – the battle to save Stormont and the play for a New Ireland is now available at www.merrionpress.ie

1 Comment

  1. You had the wrong man on stage today. Guy at the back would be a much better potential interlocuter. He owns those who own the key to the archive and big Seoirse has no clue what anyone holds

Leave A Reply