Derry lawyer launches debut crime novel

Valberg' by Desmond J. Doherty, will be launched in the City Hotel on Thursday. (2506BM01).

Valberg' by Desmond J. Doherty, will be launched in the City Hotel on Thursday. (2506BM01).

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One of Ireland’s most prominent human rights lawyers, Derry’s Desmond J. Doherty, has turned to crime - crime writing, that is.

The Derry solicitor’s debut novel, which is published by Guildhall Press, will be launched by the veteran journalist Eamonn McCann this week.

Set in contemporary Derry, ‘Valberg’ follows a damaged detective on the trail of a brutal assassin, who is creating mayhem around the historic city centre.

“This is a particularly atmospheric city to set crime fiction,” said Doherty.

“There are so many fascinating locations that can serve as a backdrop for the action – the city walls, the old Elizabethan churches and many other historic landmarks.

“In all, eight murders take place in the city in the space of a week, committed by a man who is seeking revenge on various individuals he believes have inflicted a serious wrong on him.

“There’s a challenge for the reader here to get inside the mind of a killer and see if you could agree with what he’s done – or have any type of empathy at all with him,” said the Derry lawyer.

Valberg is the first of a trilogy. The sequel is already completed, and Doherty is currently putting the finishing touches to book three.

Fiction-writing, however, is a considerable departure from the author’s busy work schedule, which includes running his own law firm and serving as a member of international courts, such as the Special Tribunal for the Lebanon and the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia.

Doherty has previously been a representative at high-profile inquests and at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He also was involved in the Iraqi Special Tribunal and the inquiry into the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

‘Valberg’ will be launched at the City Hotel, Alexander Suite, on Thursday June 27, at 7.15pm. The book will be on sale in shops from tomorrow and will also be available in eBook form for Kindle.

Guildhall Press are releasing a number of video trailers, developed at the new Digital Arts Studio in Rath Mor, as part of the book’s promotional package.

These include interviews with the author and can be viewed on the new book’s bespoke website www.jonvalberg.com from next week. This project has been sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.