I’ve long wanted McKinty to use the material of his own life growing up in war-torn Northern Ireland, and with The Cold Cold Ground, he more than fulfills my wishes. Sean Duffy is a Roman Catholic cop stationed in a Protestant town where the police have to check under their cars every morning for mercury tilt bombs. Duffy gets assigned a case which may involve a serial killer, but he sometimes must pursue his investigations in full riot gear. Beautifully evocative of a tragic era, often tersely funny, this novel shows McKinty at the top of his game—a very high level indeed.
November 2012 Indie Next List
“McKinty drew on his own childhood in war-torn Northern Ireland to write this police procedural featuring Sean Duffy, a Roman Catholic cop stationed in a small Protestant police station outside Belfast in 1981, who is assigned to solve a gruesome murder that may be the work of a serial killer. McKinty evokes the everyday life of a community that is never too far from a bomb blast. The dry humor of the police station and the smart, complicated character of Duffy himself add extra layers of interest. A brilliant writer at the top of his already formidable game!”
— Seana Graham, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
WINNER OF THE SPINETINGLER AWARD! Spring 1981. Northern Ireland. Belfast on the verge of outright civil war. The Thatcher government has flooded the area with soldiers, but nightly there are riots, bombings, and sectarian attacks. In the midst of the chaos, Sean Duffy, a young, witty, Catholic detective in the almost entirely Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, is trying to track down a serial killer who is targeting gay men. As a Catholic policeman, Duffy is suspected by both sides and there are layers of complications. For one thing, homosexuality is illegal in Northern Ireland in 1981. Then he discovers that one of the victims was involved in the IRA, but was last seen discussing business with someone from the Protestant UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force). Fast-paced, evocative, and brutal, this book is a brilliant depiction of Belfast at the height of the Troubles and a cop caught in the cross fire.
About the Author
Adrian McKinty is the author of eighteen novels, including the acclaimed Detective Sean Duffy novels. Rain Dogs won the 2017 Edgar® Award for Best Paperback Original. Gun Street Girl was shortlisted for the Anthony, Ned Kelly, and Edgar® Awards. The Cold Cold Ground won the Spinetingler Award. I Hear the Sirens in the Street won the Barry Award and was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award. In the Morning I'll Be Gone won the Ned Kelly Award and was selected by the American Library Association as one of the top-10 crime fiction novels of 2014. McKinty is also the author of the standalone historical The Sun Is God. Born and raised in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, McKinty was called "the best of the new generation of Irish crime novelists" in the Glasgow Herald.
Winner of the 2013 Spinetingler Award for best crime novel!
“The best crime novel that I've read in a long time. . . . [McKinty is] a great writer.“ –NANCY PEARL, NPR
“A dark-humored shamus in the Phillip Marlowe tradition, [Sean Duffy] is . . . buoyed through the murderous chaos by his love of classical, punk, and new-wave music, the Greek philosopher Epicurus, and frothy pints of Guinness.” –WALL STREET JOURNAL
“A razor-sharp thriller set against the backdrop of a country in chaos, told with style, courage, and dark-as-night wit. . . . An utterly brilliant novel with its own unique voice.” –STUART NEVILLE, author of Ratlines
"Everything in this novel hits all the right notes, from its brilliant evocation of time and place to razor-sharp dialogue to detailed police procedures. McKinty. . . has another expertly crafted crime trilogy going here, and readers will want to see what he [does] in the next two." –BOOKLIST STARRED REVIEW
“McKinty kicks off a trilogy with this 1981 Belfast-set tale that provides a fascinating look at everyday life in Northern Ireland during “the Troubles.” The protagonist is clever and funny, the interaction of the police and various factions is eye-opening and the mystery is intriguing, with an unexpected twist at the end.” –RT BOOK REVIEWS Four Stars (Compelling – Page-turner)
"If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland, The Cold Cold Ground is what he would have written." –TIMES OF LONDON
“The rage, dissent and blind self-interest of “the Troubles” are the perfect backdrop for this brutal noir masterpiece…. For all of its brutality, the book is subtle and nuanced…. Duffy [is] the keen observer, the perfect protagonist. A righteous man who unwillingly takes his pursuit of justice into the realm of moral ambiguity.” –ARIZONA REPUBLIC
“McKinty belongs to a crew of much-praised Irish crime novelists that includes John Connolly, Declan Burke and Ken Bruen.” –SACRAMENTO BEE
“[A] superb book. In addition to developing likable and complex characters, McKinty does an exceptional job of depicting Northern Ireland in 1981, interweaving real historical events...into the narrative…. McKinty's evocation of the time is perfect; although it is a dark and troubling place, I can't wait to return to the scene once again.” –REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE