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Some recommendations for Rory McCormac's books:

'A fantastic read.  Odds on to be a winner!' - Tony McCoy, Jump Jockey of the Year every year from 1996-2014 (except 2005)

‘. . . a thumping good read.’  Pat Kenny, RTE Radio 1

‘Fast-moving, witty and gripping, the books are written with the skill of an adept storyteller . . . I’ve never read funnier descriptions of bovine curiosity . . .’ Deirdre McQuillan, Sunday Tribune

‘Indeed, one literary editor has already dubbed him “Dick Herriot”. . . ’ Kevin O’Sullivan, Connaught Tribune

‘A cracking read. Will keep you turning the pages well into the night.’ Paul Carson (bestselling author of medical thrillers: Scalpel, Cold Steel, Ambush, Betrayal and Final Duty.)

‘Rory McCormac has successfully crossbred the styles of James Herriot and Dick Francis, then actually improved on the resultant offspring.  A great read.’  (Pat Mullan, author of Blood Red Square, The Root of All Evil and Last Days of The Tiger.)

For Playing Dead: ’A fatal accident to the costliest stallion in the stud book, no option for young locum Galway vet but to put the crippled animal down . . .  The dirtry work that follows and a nice decorous love affair are straight from the Dick Francis stable.’ Good Book Guide.

 ‘ . . . an exciting thriller about the mysterious events surrounding the untimely death of a famous racehorse that combines elements of Dick Francis and James Herriot . . ‘ Galway Advertiser

‘Rory McCormac has been called the new Dick Francis . . . It’s a great read.’ Gallop Magazine

 ‘Playing Dead combines casual good humour with the pace of a fast-moving action thriller – and the result is a very entertaining read.’ Raphael Vassallo, Sunday Magazine

‘Playing Dead . . .  moves along quickly . . . The characters are strong and the story is very cleverly put together . . . an excellent first novel.’ Oman Today


‘Pacy thrillers . . . Ultimately what happens if James Herriot wishes he was a detective.’(Paul O’Doherty, author, journalist, book and film reviewer.)




Click thumbnail to purchase Playing Dead

It’s a nightmare start to vet Frank Samson’s locum: Catamaran, a priceless stallion, escapes from his stable and gallops headlong across country until he falls into an old quarry, injuring himself so badly that Frank has only one choice - euthanasia.  That’s bad enough but when, a week later, unknown parties begin to show a sinister interest in Frank, his already fraught locum takes an even more sinister turn. He is lured by a bogus emergency dead-of-night call into a deadly trap, overpowered, and imprisoned.  His captor’s questions don’t seem to make much sense; however, Frank doesn’t have the luxury of examining them too closely as he tries to plan a way out of his increasingly dangerous confinement. After an ingenious and daring escape, Frank, with the assistance of Claire O’Sullivan, a beautiful investigative reporter, begins to piece together a few little inconsistencies, each harmless on its own, until he finally works out why he has become a target.   In a deadly cat and mouse game, during which Claire is taken hostage, he eventually manages to thwart the devious plot of some members of the international syndicate that owns Catamaran, and Frank Samson, the man they had chosen to be their dupe and cats-paw, eventually becomes their nemesis.


Click thumbnail to purchase Outbreak

A sudden, nationwide outbreak of anthrax in cattle is worrying the authorities.  Locum Frank Samson notices a factor that makes it highly unlikely that the outbreak is natural.  Then, a case of glanders in a horse belonging to Molly, daughter of Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, is one coincidence too far – Ireland has been glanders-free for a century.  When Frank finds the mutilated body of Molly’s gigolo boyfriend, it soon becomes clear that the anthrax and glanders have just been samplers, warnings, and that the blackmailer has many other lethal bugs in his arsenal, any one of which could ruin Ireland’s agricultural and bloodstock industries.  Frank discovers that a deranged ex-racehorse trainer is behind the plot and that, apart from demanding a hefty ransom, the blackmailer has a secret personal agenda to target West Kong Wizard, one of the equine superstars of international show-jumping, against whose owner he has a murderous hatred. In a last-minute effort, Frank manages to prevent the inoculation of the famous horse with deadly EIA virus during the Dublin International Horse Show.  While unravelling this tortuous case, Frank overcomes many dangers, not least of which is the threat to his relationship with Claire posed by the lovely, lonely, and very, very interested, Roberta Summers.


Click thumbnail to purchase Malpractice

Death becomes very personal when vet, Frank Samson’s ‘twin’ cousin, Dave Ryder, is found dead. ‘Overdose’ is the official verdict but Frank is convinced that Dave was murdered.  He soon learns that Dave led a life he never suspected – on the wrong side of the law.  As the police persist in calling it an overdose, Frank tries to sift through the shadowy pathways of Dave’s life, looking for answers.  Many months later, employed as a locum in a practice that has been steadily losing clients, Frank uncovers the subtle sabotage that is at at work at the hands of Val Crowther, an over-ambitious neighbouring veterinarian. Though he has pretty much given up on his cousin’s death, finding a link between Dave and Crowther suddenly thrusts it back into the foreground.  Slowly the picture emerges – the two have been members of a crime syndicate but a falling out has led to the fatal row that caused Dave’s death. As Frank’s inquiries begin to take him closer to the truth, the culprits, fearing that the dead Dave may have left him some evidence of their crime, target him.  Once again, displaying his by now trademark characteristics of intelligence, logic, courage and persistence, Frank, abetted by long-time girlfriend Claire, survives some very nasty situations and avenges his beloved, but tainted, cousin’s murder.


Click thumbnail to purchase A Moving Death online or visit your local bookstore (Malta only)

Inspector Leonard Cassar may have the best ‘solved’ rate in the Malta Police Force but, for once, he is well and truly baffled.  And this time, he’s worried that he may have to stay baffled.  Having been missing for weeks, in circumstances that gave rise to grave concern, one of the Malta’s leading businesswomen has turned up in Buskett Gardens. Dead.  In fact, very dead.  From the post mortem it looks like she’s been dead for much of that time, so where has her body been until now?  The one thing Cassar knows for certain is that she has not been lying there long; it’s just a few days past Mnarja and someone in the crowds gathered in Buskett for the annual festival would surely have found her.  So who would have moved her body?  And why?

 Then the leads start to trickle in and it soon begins to look like Natalie Collingswood had been piling up enemies for herself by her single-mindedly ruthless approach to business.  And not just that: her distant past hasn’t been squeaky clean, either.  In fact, it’s been anything but.  But Cassar’s case still doesn’t look any more hopeful: the number one suspect, who had actually, publicly, threatened to kill her, has an airtight alibi for the day she went missing; even when it is discovered that her body had lain for days in an abandoned property he owns, Cassar is still not convinced – no one, he reckons, could be that stupid . . .

 And, as if things aren’t bad enough, some of his squad - who should be giving the case their fullest attention - have become distracted by a sudden, nationwide outbreak of poisonings. When reasonable pleas to the better natures of the owners of noisy dogs have not only failed but been met with outright hostility; when complaints to the police have not resulted in the silencing of yappers and yippers, howlers and growlers, a few enterprising locals have begun to offer their services as doggy hit men . . .

 Anything can happen on Malta.



Click thumbnail to purchase Tart With No Hair for €10.99 incl postage

For almost a century now, solving cryptic crossword puzzles has been regarded as one of the best forms of mental exercise, and, as any fan will enthusiastically tell you, it provides an exceedingly satisfying and thorough mental workout.  What SuDoku does for logic, cryptic crosswords do for lateral thinking, mental agility, comprehension and adaptability.   

Tart With No Hair Is A Ride (7) explains all the more common types of cryptic clues and should enable you – after just one reasonably attentive read-through – to have a really good stab at solving cryptic crosswords of the standard usual to The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

The book contains 30 cryptic puzzles and step-by-step explanations of how each answer is arrived at.

“Always witty and never impenetrably obscure, Procrustes has become a firm and established favourite at Phoenix Magazine with aficionados of the cryptic clue.  With this book, in his trademark quirky style, Procrustes explains the inner workings of cryptic clues and provides the keys to a most enjoyable mental gym.” Phoenix Magazine



WIDOW’S PIQUE (to be published soon)

Worried about a possible get-out clause in his life-insurance policy, Alicia Tansey tries to make her philandering husband’s suicide look like a murder.  She succeeds - and quickly becomes chief suspect.  Short of support – she has never got on with her in-laws – she turns to an old friend from her childhood, veterinarian Jim Walters.  They’ve been out of touch for years but he comes immediately to her side and soon finds himself observing a confusing web of intrigue as Alicia displays some very odd behaviour, including telling what he knows to be barefaced lies to the police.  This is totally out of character for the Alicia he knew and Jim is not totally convinced when she swears she is innocent; but he does his best to help, giving her the benefit of the doubt, at least for the time being.  Alicia claims she can prove her innocence but chooses not to, at least not yet.  A botched robbery in the house a matter of hours after the suicide and a mysterious phone call from a foreign woman next day point to the involvement of unknown parties.  Then there’s the matter of a brief message in a strange foreign language left on the tape that has mysteriously vanished from the dead man’s answering machine.  As Jim blindly tries to protect Alicia and Alicia sets about trying to manufacture an alibi for herself, they stumble unknowingly into the murky and dangerous world of internationally wanted war criminals and the reclusive, ruthless Irish mastermind who provides safe houses for them.




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This site was last updated 02/11/15