EXCERPT: He led me through the gates, along a gravel drive, into a wood-paneled entrance hall and finally into a large open-plan living room that overlooked the North Channel. The place was full of coppers and other hangers-on, some of whom turned to look at me the moment I stepped into the room. I ignored them.
The sun was up now and Scotland was so close you could see the chimney smoke from the villages on the other side of the sea. The living room itself was hung with tasteful, presumably original, artwork. Furniture: big stylish sofas, comfy chairs, a nice mahogany dining room table on to which a whole bunch of police forensic equipment had been placed. Floor: hardwood with massive, expensive looking Persian rugs on top. The TV was on, but at this time of day the only thing showing was the BBC test card: the little girl and the creepy clown playing noughts and crosses forever in a nursery hell.
Of course the focal point of the mise-en-crime were the two bodies sitting facing one another on two armchairs wither side of the TV set.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Belfast, 1985, amidst the “Troubles”: Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), struggles with burn-out as he investigates a brutal double murder and suicide. Did Michael Kelly really shoot his parents at point blank and then jump off a nearby cliff? A suicide note points to this conclusion, but Duffy suspects even more sinister circumstances. He soon discovers that Kelly was present at a decadent Oxford party where a cabinet minister’s daughter died of a heroin overdose. This may or may not have something to do with Kelly’s subsequent death.
New evidence leads elsewhere: gun runners, arms dealers, the British government, and a rogue American agent with a fake identity. Duffy thinks he’s getting somewhere when agents from MI5 show up at his doorstep and try to recruit him, thus taking him off the investigation.
Duffy is in it up to his neck, doggedly pursuing a case that may finally prove his undoing.
MY THOUGHTS: This was my Valentines Day present to myself. And damn….it’s good. In fact the best of the series yet. I sat down with it when I got home and didn’t move until I closed the cover on the final page a little before midnight. No dinner, no nothing. Just one of the best reads ever.
November 1985 and a country on the verge of the biggest uprising since the Hunger Strikes. But that is not the only piece of history McKinty has borrowed: ‘there is the tragic death of Olivia Channon at Oxford; Lt. Colonel Oliver North’s bizarre attempt to obtain anti-aircraft missiles using an Irish passport and the psuedonym John Clancy (his favourite author) during the Iran Contra affair; the events surrounding the signing of the Anglo-Irish agreement; the chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre in which an entire cadre of MI5 agents based in Norther Ireland were killed; and the theft of Blowpipe and Javelin missiles from the Short Brothers factory in East Belfast.’ (Author’s afterword) I love the way he weaves these events into the life our fictional Sean Duffy.
But don’t worry…it’s not all work, Duffy does get time to play. A little.
The characters are an eclectic mix – all of them playing a vital part in the story.
As I said, the best in the series yet. And I can’t wait to see what McKinty has in store for Duffy next.
THE AUTHOR: Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 on, in Denver, Colorado, where he taught high school English and began writing fiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.
DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty, published by Serpent’s Tail . All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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