1. E-Books available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.  Paperback Books available on and
    Easter, Smoke and Mirrors
    The first novel. This is a story about charm, passion and guile. About revenge, deceit and brutal determination. In short it is about the manipulation of ordinary people and the concealment of extraordinary events. But above all it is about human nature and how to exploit it, both for good and for evil. Or simply for hedonistic greed. As the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin looms on Britain's uncertain horizon, a resurgent Irish Republican Army plans a spectacular attack to launch its latest and final campaign for a united Ireland. Its success depends on the skills and innate charisma of an IRA Cleanskin, living and working under deep cover in London, and on the murderous and time-honoured links of an IRA elder to senior Middle-Eastern terrorists. It is a marriage of convenience conceived in hell, and it spawns a scheme that would cause the devil himself to look away. Its defeat depends on the same skills and instincts in those pitted against them, and the intelligence machinery and sleight of hand of everyday counter-terrorism. These afford some of the most compelling passages of all five books in the series. 'Easter, Smoke and Mirrors' is the first part of the Cleanskin Apologues. It puts stark images to every government's worst nightmare, and asks unanswerable questions of trusting citizens. Digest and look around you. Do you know who your neighbors are?
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    This collection of short stories gives colour, texture and context to the life and times of Michael McCann, the central character of the novels 'Easter, Smoke and Mirrors' and 'Shape, Shine and Shadow.' It explains how, where, and why he grew into the man he became; driven by vanity, revenge and misplaced ideology to become one of the first global monsters of the 21st Century. And it explains just how easily you might have come to know him. 'McCann' spans the years from 1968 and the earliest rumblings of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, to 2015 and a resurgent Irish Republican Army's preparations for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. It not only traces the violent and hedonistic upbringing of an IRA Cleanskin living under deep cover in London - indeed, of his whole life until the opening chapters of the preceding novel - but it illuminates many other people, places and real historic events along the way. You don't have to have read the novels to appreciate this collection of stand-alone fables; but whether you have or you haven't, it should prompt you to ask once again.... do you really know who your neighbours are?
  3. E-Books available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks
    Shape, Shine and Shadow
    The sequel. On Good Friday 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin, a resurgent Irish Republican Army plans a massive attack on Central London. But it isn’t just any old attack, even when compared to the likes of Bishopsgate or Canary Wharf, and it isn’t just the IRA... because for this one-off spectacular they have crawled into bed with rogue elements from al-Qaeda, Eastern Europe and Islamic State. It is to be a short-lived marriage and a violent and complex divorce. The attack is the brainchild of an IRA Cleanskin living and working under deep cover in London, and of his life-long mentor and IRA elder from a bygone era. Both will pay a severe price for their audacity, and McCann, the Cleankskin, will spend many months on the run from it all: from the IRA, from Islamic terrorists, from the British authorities... and from life in general. Yet in the short term he will survive. That’s one of the things he does best. His most frightening skill, though, is his manipulation of ordinary people to conceal extraordinary events, and 'Shape, Shine and Shadow' traces his shameless exploitation of everyone he meets to achieve his goal. No-one ever knows, and most enjoy the ride, but his journey through the shadows of everyday life unearth the full spectrum of human emotions, desires and frailty. You may well have spoken to him - you’ve almost certainly stood next to him - and who knows, you may even count him among your friends. But this book should at the very least prompt you to ask once more... do you really know who your neighbours are?
  4. E-Books available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.  Paperback Books available on and
    If you peer into the seething waters of today’s terror and uncertainty, Neill McCormac’s is the image you might pray would stare back at you. Born on the wrong side of the tracks in ‘Bandit Country, South Armagh,’ but living on the right side of history in MI5, the Security Service, he becomes pivotal to the maintenance of an uneasy peace in Northern Ireland. This collection of short stories, spanning 1981 to 2017, is the second of the Cleanskin Apologues, and it explains the man, his mission and what tools he acquired as he grew up. It further expands the backdrop to the novels 'Easter, Smoke and Mirrors' and 'Shape, Shine and Shadow,' and it illuminates in harrowing detail the last quarter-century of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The first such collection of short stories, entitled 'McCann,' was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015, and it traced the life and times of Michael McCann, McCormac’s IRA nemisis. You don’t have to have read any of the previous books to appreciate 'McCormac,' and you don’t have to have lived through The Troubles to feel a sense of what a momentous, innovative and murderous conflict it was, or for how long. As with all of the books in the Cleanskin Apologues, this is a study too of human nature at its most complex and of the intelligence process at its most intriguing. But by the end, you will also be reminded that McCann is still out there somewhere, and that you may have come across him. Or that you may be just about to!
  5. The Elders
    'The Elders' will be published in 2019, and it will be the third and final collection of associated short stories in the five-book series. See 'The Cleanskin Apologues' below for a working synopsis.
The Cleanskin Apologues
John Benacre's Cleanskin Apolgues will ultimately comprise a series of five books, described below:
    Easter, Smoke and Mirrors  Benacre's debut novel (published in 2014), tells the first half of a two-part story about a resurgent Irish Republican Army and its planned spectacular attack on the UK mainland in 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin. The book begins in New York in 2013 and describes the meticulous planning, preparation and build-up to the attack on Central London three years later. It also introduces Michael McCann, an IRA Cleanskin and the central character of the two novels.
     Shape, Shine and Shadow  (2016) The sequel to Easter, Smoke and Mirrors. It begins where the first book ends, at
H-Hour on on Easter Friday 2016, and it describes subsequent events and the hunt for Michael McCann: by the IRA, by Islamic terrorists, and by MI5 and the international intelligence and security agencies.
     McCann  (2015) The first of three volumes of associated short stories. McCann begins in 1968, a year before the start of The Troubles in Northern Ireland and two years before the birth of Michael McCann, and it dovetails with the first chapter of Easter, Smoke and Mirrors. It is essential background reading to anyone wishing to get the most from the two novels, but it is also a rare and human insight into real-life events before, during and after the 38 years of The Troubles.
     McCormac  (2016) The second volume of the Cleanskin Short Stories. It begins in 1981, at the time of the IRA Hunger Strike and the year that Neil McCormac was born, and ends in August 2017, seventeen months after McCann's attempted attack in Central London. McCormac is an MI5 officer born and raised in the IRA heartland of South Armagh, so-called Bandit Country, who ultimately becomes McCann's nemisis. It chronicles even more of the nearly forty-years of The Troubles than does McCann, but most often from the opposite end of the Republican telescope.
     The Elders  Due for publication in 2019, it will be the third and final volume of the Cleanskin Short Stories. This book will embrace the lives and times of IRA elders Cahal Brady, Frank O'Neill and their forebears, and of Briege McConnell, the veteran IRA facilitator who masqueraded as Michael McCann's grandmother in London. But it will also span the period from The Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, until the final chapters of Shape, Shine and Shadow. Throughout this book the fictional lives of Brady, O'Neill and McConnell will be woven through the fabric of real life events and Irish history, and it will be a fitting conclusion to the Cleanskin Apologues.

I hope you enjoy them all. JB
Other Recommended Books
Some other books which provide colour, texture and understanding to the centuries-old fight for a united Ireland are:
The Northern Ireland Troubles: Operation Banner (1969-2007) 
by Aaron Edwards

The Provisional IRA:
From Insurrection to Parliament 
by Tommy McKearney

The Ulster Tales:
(A Tribute to Those Who Served 1969-2000)
by John Wilsey
Lost Lives: 
The stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland Troubles
by David McKittick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney and Chris Thornton