A master class in building suspense ... Walsh manages a deft balance between adolescent angst and ecstasy — discoveries bringing horror, sorrow and joy — and the more deliberate, often elegiac reflections of adulthood, reckoning with the promises of the past ... With revelation upon revelation, their ordinariness seems all the more mysterious, and this first-time novelist all the more masterly at writing in such an original voice.
It is no pleasure to rake over a debut. But a book billed as a publisher’s 'lead novel' demands scrutiny. Was everyone at Atlantic truly wowed by Kala? ... Walsh’s plot is clunky and in places incoherent.
A stonkingly good read, especially if you’re looking for something gripping, pacy and plot-driven without necessarily wanting to reduce yourself to the obvious middlebrow choices offered by the best-seller lists ... There’s no doubt that, as with almost all crime thrillers, there are moments when the plotting stretches ever so slightly too far ... His ability to evoke the private moments between the girls – the words they use, their ways of seeing one another, even how they do their hair and make-up – is especially enjoyable to read ... Walsh’s penchant for finding every possible new way to describe the sky aside, this is a masterful reworking of the whodunnit, one you’ll have immense difficulty putting down.
Remarkably assured ... After a slightly slow start, the momentum builds via a series of dramatic turns, culminating in a genuinely shocking twist. And yet, as with the novels of fellow Irish author Tana French, there is much to savour beyond the thrilling plot. The characterisation is particularly strong, each psychological portrait richly drawn; the prose is beautifully atmospheric throughout ... A page-turner.
Kala is a vividly spun web of a novel, in which allegiance, betrayal, complicity and the truth of what happened to Kala interweave as the secretive ugly tribal underbelly of Kinlough is gradually revealed.
Dark...impressive ... Walsh brilliantly conveys the cruelty, self-absorption and vulnerability of teenagers, their shifting allegiances and betrayals, as well as their love for one another ... Walsh’s characterisation is superb, and he has a vivid turn of phrase ... Confidently plotted.
Engrossing if overstuffed ... There are a few too many red herrings, and some woolly hints of a temporal reality in which the characters see versions of themselves at different ages, yet the emotional pull of Walsh’s core trio steadies the ship. Despite some wobbles, this is hard to put down.
Walsh makes an assured debut with this gritty heartbreaker of a thriller ... Skillfully blending the psychological complexity of a literary novel with the propulsive pace of a thriller, the author juggles three disparate points of view ... Part heartfelt coming-of-age tale, part brutal Irish noir, this is a spectacular read for Donna Tartt and Tana French fans.