The Defence – Publication Baby!

The Defence had its official publication on the 12th of March. What a day. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the launch. Trust me, I was nervous as hell. The day began with a big surprise from Mrs C. She had sneakily contacted lots of friends, authors and other good folk who took selfies reading The Defence and posted them to the wily Mrs C. She then tweeted these photos to me on publication day. I was pretty overwhelmed that people took the time to do this for me. It’s safe to say I have an amazing wife. Here’s a few of the authors who posted photos, and thanks again to Mrs C for putting it together.

Gerard Brennan, Brian McGilloway, Colin Bateman, Eva Dolan, John Connolly, Helen Giltrow, Stuart Neville, SJI Holliday, Mark Billingham and a sleepy Luca Veste.

Gerard Brennan, Brian McGilloway, Colin Bateman, Eva Dolan, John Connolly, Helen Giltrow, Stuart Neville, SJI Holliday, Mark Billingham and a sleepy Luca Veste.

I’ve been on panels before at events, but never done a solo gig. What if nobody turned up to the launch. I’d heard horror stories. Apparently Patricia Cornwell had two people at the launch of her first novel. And only one bought a book.

So yeah, I was really nervous about the launch. Particularly because the launch was happening in the legendary No Alibis.

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Thankfully, as you can see above – the shop was packed to the rafters.

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Well over a hundred signed books left the premises and then it was off to the pub. I was really grateful that my agent, Euan, had flown over from London for the launch. Head over to No Alibis to check out more about this store and if you’re so inclined, David Torrans will be able to get you signed copies of The Defence.

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Next day there was a lot of painkillers swallowed and I had time to reflect. To be honest, I felt pure relief. It was OUT there, people had turned up and bought it and that’s all that mattered.

Then, the book started appearing everywhere. It was Eason’s first ever Northern Ireland Book of the Month – check it out here. And Waterstones picked it up as their Irish Book of the Month.

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Next stop was a tour of Northern Ireland bookshops, signing every book in sight. Some by other authors. At that stage I would’ve signed anything that was put in front of me. I had a few days to recuperate and then I was off to London.



I called in at Orion House – home to Orion Publishing and met my editor and the good folks who work on The Defence. A quick lunch with my agent and the Orion team, at a very nice, very posh restaurant (I’m sure someday my editor will book somewhere for lunch that simply won’t allow me over the door.) And then I was off to Goldsboro Books to meet the team and sign some hardbacks of The Defence. These are very cool, spray edged, signed and numbered limited editions. About 500 of them. Well, precisely 500. And here they are…

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I needed a pint after that. But it was worth it, Harry helped with the stream of books and it was lovely to meet everyone at Goldsboro – another fine and respected bookshop. And if you want to know more about that edition – click here and check out this piece in the Bookseller. I was very surprised and honoured that the shop chose to relaunch their website with the special edition. A pint with the AM Heath massive and then to bed for more Orion fun the next day.


By chance my visit to London coincided with Orion’s sales conference and I was very lucky to be invited along. I met the Australian, Scottish, Irish, NZ and local Hachette folks who were all very welcoming indeed and very enthusiastic about the book. Also got to have a quick chat with Joe Abercrombie and Ben Aaronovitch who had great advice for a newbie author.

And then this happened….

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Yep. Michael Connelly. It was a quick meeting. Can I remember what I said? Nope. Can I remember what he said? Kind of. He said he was looking forward to reading The Defence. I remember that alright. To be honest I was totally star struck. Just look at my bake in the photo – I couldn’t believe it. Huge thanks to Jon and Jemima for that.


The week after my London trip, Stuart Neville and I did an event in Eason Belfast. This was really well organised and a huge thanks go to Alison and A, and Jonathon, and all at Eason for setting this up. Increasingly I owe more and more to Stuart Neville, who is a great supporter and all round good bloke. The event was filmed so look out for that soon.


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Speaking of film – the week after this event I appeared on Irish Breakfast TV courtesy of the good people at IrelandAM on TV3. In case you missed it – here’s the link to watch the full interview. I have to say I was nervous about live TV, but Frank, Mark and the whole IrelandAM team really made me feel relaxed and at home. A big thanks to them for having me and I hope I get back someday.

No sooner had I finished at IrelandAM than I had to race across Dublin to RTE and do an interview with Brendan O’Connor for The John Murray radio show. That clip should be here.

While I’ve trotting around the UK and Ireland I’ve also been picking up some great reviews.

Declan Burke of The Irish Times had this to say “…reads a lot like a courtroom drama that Lee Child might write about Jack Reacher’s younger, hotter-headed brother…this is a foot-to-the-floor thriller that pulls out with tyres smoking and takes no prisoners until it judders to a halt 400 pages later.” Read the full review here.

The Irish Independent said, “Part classic courtroom drama in the John Grisham tradition and part Bruce Willis-like action hero fiction straight out of the Die Hard franchise, this is a rip-roaring action-packed and highly entertaining debut from Belfast-born Steve Cavanagh who studied his law in Dublin.” I have to confess that studying is a loose description of my treasured years in Dublin. The full review is here.

One of the things I’ve been most grateful for over the past months is the incredible support I’ve received from bloggers. Some fantastic reviews have appeared – too many to name individually but here are a few. Click on the quotes for the full review.

Book Addict Shaun gave The Defence a Hall of Fame Review – “Thriller readers, Michael Connelly readers, book readers, pick up The Defence, I almost guarantee you won’t regret it. An addictive read from start to finish and one that I have no hesitation in recommending.”

Milorambles gave Eddie Flynn some love on his blog – “Cavanagh clearly knows his stuff and the court scenes were as entertaining and realistic as any I’ve read before. Of all the chapters, one stood out which highlights his skill as a writer and a lawyer, the cross examination of the exotic dancer. Clever, sharp and relentless the observations and the turn around blew me away. Simple but oh so very effective!”

MF Bailey came in with this review – “If anything the reviews were giving faint praise – this is a really really impressive debut novel.”

And JT Baptiste aka Nadine Matheson had this to say –  “Before you start reading this book there should be an attendant standing next to you asking you if your seatbelt has been tied securely because from the word go, this book moves at breakneck speed and it is one hell of a ride.”

Somehow The Defence won over Raven Crime Reads who isn’t normally a fan of the genre –  “I don’t do legal thrillers. As a rule they bore me intensely, and I’ve dabbled in the genre with little success…BUT a strange thing has happened, nay a miracle, and Mr Cavanagh must be fully congratulated for this. He has written a legal thriller- yes, the alarm bells were ringing- but what’s more, a legal thriller that I read in practically one sitting. And loved. Yes, loved. Here’s why…”

So, there you have it. I’ve more promotional stuff lined up. But more importantly I’m putting the finishing touches to Book 2. I will blog again after the edits are done. Until then, thanks to everyone who has made this possible. It has been one hell of ride so far.





  1. Congratulations! Just getting your first book published must feel good but to get the great reviews it’s getting, that must be another order of pleasure.
    I can’t wait to read it. I just ordered a copy over here in LA. Can’t wait, really.

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