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Adrian McKinty Mark Bailey

Review: Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly
Adrian McKinty – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Trade paperback: 353 pages (January 2017 in UK)

Publisher: Serpents Tail  ISBN: 978-1781256923

This is the sixth Sean Duffy novel set in and around Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

 

It is 1988. Detective Inspector Sean Duffy is on holiday in County Donegal with his girlfriend and baby daughter visiting his family in the Donegal Gaeltacht. He is called back to Carrickfergus where a man has been shot in the back in the Sunnylands Estate with an arrow. Uncovering who has done takes Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave. Hunted by forces unknown, threatened by Internal Affairs and with his relationship with his girlfriend on the rocks, Duffy needs all of his wits to get out of this investigation in one piece.

 

 

Once again, this a very assured police procedural with multiple serious themes (the peace process is still in the background along with the ongoing war (both in Ireland and elsewhere – the Gibraltar shootings provide a spark to more rioting), economic regeneration (or the lack thereof in Carrickfergus) is in the middle and another cover up in the foreground) and great writing which is strongly literate but still keeps you engaged & turning the page.

Finally Duffy’s life seems to be on upswing but for how long.

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Adrian McKinty Mark Bailey Reviews

Rain Dogs (Sean Duffy 5) by Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty – Rain Dogs

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

Trade paperback: 336 pages (December 2015 in UK)

Publisher: Serpents Tail

ISBN: 978-1781254554

This is the fifth Sean Duffy novel set in and around Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The novel starts with DI Sean Duffy in charge of part of the crowd control for a visit by Muhammad Al to Belfast in 1987 which is a break from his usual routine of riot duty, heartbreak and cases solved that can never get to court. Financial Times journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle – she has been following a group of potential Finnish investors to Northern Ireland. It looks like a suicide but some things don’t add up and this bothers Duffy who has met and solved a locked room murder before. He finds out that she was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond.

Again this a very assured police procedural with multiple serious themes (the peace process is still in the background, economic regeneration is in the middle and a cover up in the foreground) and great writing which is strongly literate but still keeps you engaged & turning the page.

I still want to see how Duffy handles the Patten Commission reforms and the shift to the PSNI as it looks like he is stuck in the RUC until retirement.

 

Categories
Adrian McKinty Cath Staincliffe Christopher Fowler Crime Fiction Edmund Crispin Euro Crime Helene Tursten Ian Rankin Jo Nesbø John Harvey Mark Bailey Martin Edwards Peter James Peter Robinson Reviews W J Burley Year-End Review

Year-End Review: 2012

Of the new releases in 2012 (either in paperback or hardback), I would strongly recommend (in alphabetical order by author as I don’t want to choose an order)

  • Fowler, Christopher – BRYANT & MAY AND THE INVISIBLE CODE (10th novel about Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit – another strong Bryant & May novel with a very intricate plot with lots of twists and turns; some new characters (some of which are almost fantastical) are introduced to set up for the future which he has got a 2 book deal for starting with BRYANT & MAY AND THE BLEEDING HEART).
  • James, Peter – NOT DEAD YET (8th Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novel)
  • Nesbo, Jo – THE BAT (the 1st Harry Hole novel chronologically – it was nice to see the back plot to the later novels explored in more depth)
  • Rankin, Ian – STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S GRAVE (Rebus is back – I read it in a day and loved it)
  • Robinson, Peter – BEFORE THE POISON (not a DCI Banks book but it takes the well-used idea of somebody becoming obsessed with solving a decades-old murder and executes it very well)

 

Other 2012 releases that had good points were

  • McKinty, Adrian – THE COLD COLD GROUND (the 1st Sean Duffy novel set in 1980s Northern Ireland; yes I am biased as I go past most of the places in this novel on my train to work every day but this is an assured police procedural in the main – the next book (I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET) is just out as I write and if it is just a tad better then that is one of my 2013 best reads sorted)
  • Staincliffe, Cath  – DEAD TO ME  (the 1st Scott and Bailey tie-in novel by Cath Staincliffe; yes this is a tv tie-on but it captures the characters and is compellingly written)
  • Tursten, Helene – NIGHT ROUNDS (the 4th Irene Huss novel; this is a good novel but I have seen the first 6 Swedish TV movie adaptions so I spoilt it for myself).
  • Wanner, Len – THE CRIME INTERVIEWS VOLUMES ONE AND TWO (These are available most easily for Kindles but if you like tartan noir, they are a good insight into how authors minds work as they have interviews with 19 crime writers between the two volumes)

 

‘Blasts from the past’ series reread or read for the first time in 2012 are

  • Crispin, Edmund – the Gervase Fen series (I re-read these in the Summer. They are whodunit novels with complex plots written in a humorous, literary style with references to English literature, poetry, and music; my favourites are THE MOVING TOYSHOP (1946) and FREQUENT HEARSES (1950) – it is a crying shame that Crispin went 25 years between the penultimate and the last novel in the series).
  • Burley, W J – the Wycliffe series (I remember the tv series with Jack Shepherd well and recently bought them on DVD but had never read the books; yes they are dated and even the later ones read like those written in the 1970s (they were 22 written from 1968 to 2000) but they are also tightly plotted concisely written books with a great sense of place and a complex main character)
  • Edwards, Martin – the Lake District Mystery series (these were a new read for me and as said elsewhere on the website these are very classy page turners with a good sense of history and the area it is set in – the English Lake District)
  • Harvey. John – the Charlie Resnick series (I am just over halfway through re-reading this quality police procedural series set in Nottingham in the late 1980s and 1990s in the main – the last one was published a decade later in 2008)

 

Again, they reflect in the main my liking for police procedurals.

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Adrian McKinty Crime Fiction Euro Crime Helene Tursten Ian Rankin Jo Nesbø Reviews Simon Brett Year-End Review

Year-End Review: 2013

Of the new releases in 2013, I would strongly recommend (in alphabetical order by author as I don’t want to choose an order)

  • Brett, Simon – A DECENT INTERVAL (the 18th of the Charles Paris novels by Simon Brett and the first to be published for 16 years; somewhat darker than before but still a good read)
  • McKinty, Adrian – I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET (the 2nd Sean Duffy novel set in 1980s Northern Ireland; yes I am biased as I go past most of the places in this novel on my train to work every day and part of this one is set in my village but this is a very assured police procedural with just one more in the series (AND IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE) to be published in January 2014)
  • Nesbø, Jo – POLICE & COCKROACHES (both tr. Don Bartlett) (the 10th & 2nd Harry Hole novels chronologically – POLICE carries on from PHANTOM and with COCKROACHES it was once again nice to see the back plot to the later novels explored in more depth)
  • Rankin, Ian – SAINTS OF THE SHADOW BIBLE (Rebus is back on the force, older but not wiser – demoted back to his 1987 rank so he could return with Siobhan Clarke as his boss)
  • Tursten, Helene – THE GOLDEN CALF (tr. Laura A. Wideburg) (the 5th Irene Huss novel in the series and to be translated into English; a fairly conventional police procedural with a likeable main character, well plotted with a good core idea and excellently realised characters who interact with one another realistically and are likeable).

 

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Adrian McKinty Crime Fiction Euro Crime Mark Bailey Reviews

Review: I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty

I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty
I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty

McKinty, Adrian – ‘I Hear the Sirens in the Street’
Trade Paperback: 352 pages (Jan. 2013) Publisher: Serpent’s Tail ISBN: 1846688183

I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET is the second in the Sean Duffy trilogy set in and around Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

It is 1982 and Sean Duffy is back at work in CID at Carrickfergus Police station after the events of the previous book, THE COLD COLD GROUND, with a promotion to Detective Inspector and a Queen’s Police Medal. The usual background of the troubles at its height continues when Duffy and DC McCrabban get called to an abandoned factory to investigate a blood trail spotted by the night watchman. They search through the skips and find a suitcase with a headless torso cut off at the knees and shoulders. This turns out to the body of an American poisoned by Abrin (derived from the Rosary Pea) and then frozen – Duffy gets more suspicious when he finds that the suitcase belonged to a part-time UDR soldier from Islandmagee who had been killed by the IRA on his farm (suspicious in itself as Islandmagee is a very, very Protestant area – still less than 1% Roman Catholic today – and has very few routes out) and that the American turns out to be a former IRS official with links to the US Secret Service. There are many twists and turns involving Northern Irish politics, John DeLorean and the interface between rural and urban Northern Ireland.

I had THE COLD COLD GROUND as one of my “almost there” books for my top 5 in 2012 and I feel that I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET is just as assured a police procedural and the issue that really bothered me of Duffy not being penalised for his hot-headedness does not recur here – it just seems a tad more serious and the writing is more self-assured than in the first book. There are still some issues with how realistic the milieu really was but the gallows humour of the time, which some have criticised as fantasy, is very realistic.

I would strongly recommend I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET but you should really start with THE COLD COLD GROUND and accept that things are going to get better.

The final one, AND IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE, is due in January 2014 – it is pre-ordered.

Mark Bailey, Northern Ireland
March 2013

Originally published at EuroCrime