Where's Merrill? a genealogical thriller

ABOUT Gearoid O'Neary

Gearoid O'Neary
Gearóid O'Neary is the pen name of Gerard Neary, a professional genealogist and writer based in County Sligo, in the remote wild west of Ireland.Gearóid is a dreamer. Gerard pays the bills.


"Where's Merrill?" is a uniquely crafted mystery thriller based upon real life historical events. In fact, it is two inter-related stories in one novel set in different timeframes, namely the past and the present. An Irish genealogist called Jed is commissioned by Tim, an American client, who needs to understand more about his mysterious maternal ancestry. Fate had dictated that Tim never got the chance to meet his grandparents, and he didn't even know the name of his mother's father. She refused to tell Tim, even on her death bed. Why? That was a question which troubled Tim as he witnessed his mother's melancholy throughout his adult life, and after her death he resolved to find some answers - and some peace of mind.

It was also a question which intrigued Jed after he learned that Tim's grandfather simply "disappeared". No death record, no burial - nothing. Jed identifies the "missing" grandfather to be Merrill Harrison. Within weeks, Jed becomes obsessed with Merrill's life, as he embarks on a personal crusade to find Merrill's resting place on Tim's behalf. More fundamentally, Jed needs to fully understand the complex twists and turns linked to Merrill's existence and eventual disappearance which take the Irish researcher on a fascinating trail stretching back to the pioneering immigrants of Midwest America all the way to the White House during WWII.

A web of worrying deceit woven by Tim's ancestors is gradually unraveled. Once hidden family secrets are exposed. Jed turns from genealogist into cold case detective as he comes to the conclusion that multiple criminal misdeeds have been covered up ... but where is Merrill?

This is the story of an actual real-life ancestry research project which turned into a murder mystery and thriller because that's what these real ancestors got up to.

  • "This is a highly enjoyable best-selling and fast-moving account of a real-life ancestry research project, set in both the present (the researcher's world) and the past via excerpts from the ancestors' lives. The twists and turns come thick and fast, meaning that confusion leads to instant clarifications, and a desire to know what happens next ... and then more twists occur." - Susan at Goodreads