The Vanishing Triangle by Claire McGowan, 3 Stars

Ireland in the 1990s seemed a safe place for women. With the news dominated by the Troubles, it was easy to ignore non-political murders and sexual violence, to trust that you weren’t going to be dragged into the shadows and killed. But beneath the surface, a far darker reality had taken hold.

Through questioning the society and circumstances that allowed eight young women to vanish without a trace―no conclusion or conviction, no resolution for their loved ones―bestselling crime novelist Claire McGowan delivers a candid investigation into the culture of secrecy, victim-blaming and shame that left these women’s bodies unfound, their fates unknown, their assailants unpunished. 

McGowan reveals an Ireland not of leprechauns and craic but of outdated social and sexual mores, where women and their bodies were of secondary importance to perceived propriety and misguided politics—a place of well-buttoned lips and stony silence, inadequate police and paramilitary threat.

Was an unknown serial killer at large or was there something even more insidious at work? In this insightful, sensitively drawn account, McGowan exposes a system that failed these eight women—and continues to fail women to this day.

Praise for The Vanishing Triangle

“A chilling book of true crime featuring important social issue concerns.” Kirkus Reviews

“Thought-provoking, compelling true crime.” Library Journal

“McGowan writes for the justice of the lost and murdered women and for change in Ireland.” Booklist

My Review:

In the 90’s, a friend’s family had an exchange student from Ireland that would visit them on a ongoing basis. And they talked about how her country was violent and so I had some understanding, but it wasn’t until I picked up The Vanishing Triangle that I gained a deeper understanding of both the physical violence that existed during that time, as well as how deeply unsafe women and girls were during that time as well.

McGowan’s account of the women that Ireland basically forgot is jarring and upsetting. Especially since these eight women have never been avenged, even after things started to change. And how knows how many more women have suffered similar fates but simply didn’t have loved ones to even champion for them enough for anyone to realize they were missing.

I enjoyed the premise of the book along with the tales of the individual women. I did find that the book lacked more of a connecting thread or continuity in their stories. And maybe they just didn’t exist. But I think then maybe I would have preferred each women introduced in her own short story of sorts?

Special thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. This one is available now.

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