“……… and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” - Luke 2:37

Dead Right is a novel about commitment. Commitment to behaving in ways that would have deadly consequences, commitment to deeply held beliefs, commitment to family, commitment to love and ultimately commitment to a course of action that is felt to be right, but leaves three women dead and one at death’s door. Dead Right provides an insight into the psychology of radicalism and how strongly held beliefs can lead to and be used to justify extreme actions.

Dead Right tells the story of three sisters and their aunt, aged between 48 and 84, who willingly chose to starve themselves to death, shutting themselves off from the world in a suburban house to face a slow painful end. It details the events leading up to their decision to commit collective suicide, their motivations and fears, how they were able to carry out this horrific feat of endurance and overcome the terrors of an inevitable death.

Dead Right explores the complex relationships between the women and how the men in their lives – the father domineering, passionate about his beliefs, committed and violent; the weak, immature brother feeble in his convictions and the abusive, unfaithful husband, as well as their boyfriends and lovers of varying degrees of sincerity – alienated and motivated them, inspiring and moulding their plans. Opening in war-torn Iraq the women’s story unfolds against the turbulent background of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. 
Critical to the unravelling of the truth about what happened inside the house is the survivor, one of the sisters, an ambivalent figure, who is both a participant in the unfolding drama and an unreliable observer, yet is the only witness able to explain to a perplexed and horrified world why they did what they did. The novel demonstrates clearly how true believers can present their own justification of events, and have it accepted as the historical truth, if only they can survive.
The inspiration for Dead Right came from a real event. The discovery on the 12thJuly 2000 of the bodies of four women in a three bedroom semi-detached house in Leixlip, County Kildare, 15 miles west of Dublin. The women had shut themselves in their rented home and starved to death. They left no note explaining clearly why they had done it. 

Dead Right is a work of fiction and the characters bear no relation to the four dead women. But the novel does present its own version of the truth, interweaving the lives of the women into a narrative that reaches a revelatory climax and finally answers the question why?

Dead Right
Available on 28th February 2024

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