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All the Colours of the Town

Liam McIlvanney

A compelling thiller set amid the murky politics of Scotland and Northern Ireland

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When Glasgow journalist Gerry Conway receives a phone call promising unsavoury information about Scottish Justice Minister Peter Lyons, his instinct is that this apparent scoop won’t warrant space in The Tribune. But as Conway’s curiosity grows and his leads proliferate, his investigation takes him from Scotland to Belfast. Shocked by the sectarian violence of the past, and by the prejudice and hatred he encounters even now, Conway soon grows obsessed with the story of Lyons and all he represents. And as he digs deeper, he comes to understand that there is indeed a story to be uncovered; and that there are people who will go to great lengths to ensure that it remains hidden.
Compelling, vividly written and shocking, ALL THE COLOURS OF THE TOWN is not only the story of an individual and his community – it is also a complex and thrilling inquiry into loyalty, betrayal and duty.

Critic Reviews

A complex exploration of loyalty, betrayal and duty.

The List ~ Scottish Summer Reads
Critic Reviews

McIlvanney successfully delivers a powerful thriller, rich in colour and skilfully imagined ... As a debut outing, All The Colours of the Town refreshingly avoids cliche, and successfully discovers new ground within the conflict, with McIlvanney's snapshots of today's new values and the hypocrasies etched at the heart of our political system giving the story pace and substance.

The List
Critic Reviews

McIlvanney is deft at weaving the language of politics, both of the hearth and of ethical reportage, and the jargon of journalism into a thriller that is bolted together by both ... grit nestles grandeur with winning ease ... McIlvanney is inventive with language, and this malleability and playfulness satisfies immensely ... The book's real heft lies in delivering a gripping, unflinching meditation upon the suspicions that still twitch in the Northern Irish air like the proverbial net curtain. McIlvanney has flair and assurance and executes a powerful tale with all the dexterous sensitivity and ballsy swagger the subject is due.

Scotland on Sunday
Critic Reviews

All The Colours of the Town is a distinctive and striking debut. One quality that makes the novel stand out is Liam McIlvanney's portrait of the deep-rooted tribal tensions in Glasgow and Belfast.

Critic Reviews

Throughout there's writing that is as jagges and real as the crime novel form demands, yet allied with a consciousness of the beauty of words ... McIlvanney is good on the assumptions Glaswegians have made about the city across the water, and about the perverse appeal of such extreme vioence so near, and yet so far, for some young men ... The sense of belonging, willingly or not, to a city, to its territories and its allegiances, is what lingers underneath this tale of political exposure and is what gives it its real weight ... [McIlvanney] has a great deal to offer and I look forward to seeing more from him.

Critic Reviews

One of the triumphs of All the Colours of the Town is its painterly portrayal of modern Belfast and Glasgow


Liam McIlvanney was born in Ayrshire. He is the author of Burns the Radical and All the Colours of the Town. He lives in Dunedin with his wife and four sons.

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