Winner of the 2014 Ned Kelly Award and a 2015 Audie Award nominee for best mystery
A Catholic cop tracks an IRA master bomber amidst the sectarian violence of the conflict in Northern Ireland
It's the early 1980s in Belfast. Sean Duffy, a conflicted Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is recruited by MI5 to hunt down Dermot McCann, an IRA master bomber who has made a daring escape from the notorious Maze prison. In the course of his investigations Sean discovers a woman who may hold the key to Dermot's whereabouts; she herself wants justice for her daughter who died in mysterious circumstances in a pub locked from the inside. Sean knows that if he can crack the "locked-room mystery", the bigger mystery of Dermot's whereabouts might be revealed to him as a reward. Meanwhile the clock is ticking down to the Conservative Party conference in Brighton in 1984, where Mrs. Thatcher is due to give a keynote speech.
©2014 Adrian McKinty (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I've read the previous two Sean Duffy books in print and I found that listening to the book narrated in an Irish accent added atmosphere to the story. Although occasionally during conversations I had trouble distinguishing between different characters, overall Gerard Doyle's rather deadpan delivery perfectly captured Duffy's weariness and dogged nature.
The story is gripping, with a locked room mystery at its centre and a sense of increasing tension as the climax approaches. I like the way Adrian McKinty weaves his fictional plot around real historical characters and events. And the writing is superbly incisive, with moments of poetic description, profound insight and dry wit.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will continue with the series.
"The Dangerous Gamble"
This one is the best of this series by far. I loved the voice, the humor and the constant questioning character of Sean Duffy.
Yes, this one kept me going like a fast-moving roller coaster. I started listening to this yesterday and I'm sorry to say it is over.
Sean was my favorite character, but Doyle is brilliant at voices. Maybe not with Kate.
i would have gladly listened to it straight through.
Up until now, I've been more taken with Mckinty's other series than the Sean Duffy books, but this one is first rate. Third time around, Duffy steps up to the plate and captivates us with a fast moving, intellectually challenging story that keeps us guessing and keeps us worried as well. The Catholic cop in Northern Island takes us places we would rather not be, but we know he has the bravery and brains to see it through. The only real question, Is it worth it? Mckinty's "peeler" is a fine creation, a smart, courageous dachshund of a cop, thrown into a world where every policeman is a target simply for being alive. Duffy's a target for being too smart. Listen to this one!
"McKinty And Doyle Deliver Again!"
Intense engaging fast-paced
Sean Duffy of course.
I like the fact that he is neither a corrupt cop nor is he a perfect cop.
He is a relatable average guy.
Although, going through quite difficult situations due to the time and setting of the book
Again Sean Duffy
Yes, but all McKinty's books are like that to me.
I kind of wish that we would have found out a little more about Kate.
I don't know if she will appear in any future books, but I would like to know more about her.
"Absolutely the best yet"
I have waited so long for this finale to the "Troubles Trilogy" that when I met a woman in a local bar with a early release UK copy of the paperback, I practically wrestled her to the floor. Now, I have both Kindle and audio in my greedy hands, and it's as gratifying as one could hope for. The appearances by 'Joe Kennedy," "Gerry Adams," and "Margaret Thatcher" --- I can't even decide who packs the most punch! Gerard Doyle, hats off, and Adrian, you have made a historical contribution to Great Irish antiheroes, locked box mysteries, and the sexiest fatalistic detective ever.
"Great conclusion to a terrific trilogy."
The Sean Duffy "Troubles Trilogy" books have been incredibly engaging listens - this one exceptionally so. All three books share some elements that make this series unique:
First, the backdrop of Northern Ireland at the height of its conflicts is so different. I don't think I've ever encountered any writing that makes day-to-day life during that time any clearer. As with any good read, you come out of it knowing more than you did when you started. I'll never be an expert, but at least I have a little more understanding now.
Second, Sean Duffy is SO flawed and SO likable. Flawed characters are nothing new. But when an author can create one that you actually admire, it's really an accomplishment.
Third, these are never scripted books with conclusions all wrapped up like a present. The pacing is unexpected. Sometimes McKinty takes you down a path you had no idea would ever enter into the mix. And even when Sean Duffy succeeds, it's not a cinematic win. It's messy. Justice may be served, but it's not tidy.
Fourth, Gerard Doyle makes this work. If I had read these books in print, I never would have heard the voices quite the same way. He really puts you there and gives life to every character.
When you add all that together with the cultural references to the early 80s - music, Princess Di, Thatcher, strikers, politics, et al - the result is a lively, thoughtful series that's unusual and very well done.
"BOOK OF THE YEAR!!!"
I'm not a fan of detective novels, but when McKinty creates a good cop that's pissed off and backed into a corner I'm coming along for the ride. This novel was everything I had hoped it would be, gritty, action-packed and full of nasty surprises.
No spoilers from me. A good cop, feed up with a gangster attitude. He’s willing and able to give bottom feeders their own medicine. The plot rockets along at a frantic pace, I just couldn’t get enough. The trilogy was simply brilliant with a gripping ending that left me stunned. What a gift, thank you Mr. McKinty.
Gerard Doyle brought every character to life, putting on an amazing performance that felt like theater and not an audio book.
Irish crime fiction at its best.
"Best detective fiction series out there!"
The poetry, the passion expressed, the musings....so real, so rarely recorded anymore. The connections between people are gripping. The drama is great but the surroundings and customs are foreign which gives it all an edge.
Just comparing what the characters were doing to the 80s music with what I was doing......going back in time.....reflecting.......nice break from reality. I love the way the author is very realistic.
"Different From Before… Still Rocks!"
WARNING! This is the third book in what was billed as a three parter. Read the first two books first… They are each terrific.
McKinty's introduced a mystery-murder into this addition to the series: It's fun. I have never written the word "fun" in the same sentence as the name McKinty. Since the puzzle eats a big hole into the novel, there's less character growth as a reaction to the dystopian world of 1980s' Ulster. I'm guessing that McKinty's not going to end the Sean Duffy novels with this book as originally planned. GREAT!
As always Gerard Doyle is the author's partner in creating an experience for us that's got to be greater than reading the work. Doyle speaks in Irish and I don't.So I'd not imagine the richness of the lilt which Doyle adds to my enjoyment.
Okay, the mystery-puzzle does elbow out some of McKinty's darkness and a tad of the social and cultural complexities of 1980s Ulster. But.. the striking denouement in Cliff Castle at books' end makes up for all of that.
Adrian McKinty is to Ireland as James Lee Burke is to the American South. And Gerard Doyle is as important in unlocking the door to Sean Duffy's mind for me as Mark Hammer was in opening a passage into Dave Robicheaux's many dimensions.
While different from the first two parts of this trio of books… and perhaps a shade less complex. It's terrific
"It's hard to give a five star review"
I can't justify a five - But I'm tempted to give 41/2. This is probably my favorite Sean Duffy novel yet. I normally steer away from mysteries and books that occur outside the current decade - But Adrian and Gerard have kept me on the hook with the Sean Duffy series. I give equal credit to both - Because without a good narrator - I wouldn't have continued series after book one. This one has the better mystery out of them all in my opinion. I'm 4th generation Irish - Just wish I had that darned accent =0)
"One of my Favorites"
McKinty is and has been one of my Top 10 favorite Authors, so I anxiously await each book. This one did not disappoint.
While the "Dead" series is my favorite among McKinty's repeating character serials, I have grown fond of the Sean Duffy series, this being the 3rd so far.
Duffy is a very thoughtful and interesting character who is always trying to gain a perspective of life, the good, bad and evil, and his place in the whole soupy mess. McKinty's character development reminds me a lot of another of my all time favorites, James Lee Burke, in the way he develops characters and describes the environment around him - all of which keeps your mind moving - very rarely letting a story drag along in tedium. McKinty does so in mostly Ireland, Scotland and England based stories and Burke does so in Americana based stories, but they are both among the best.
Gerard Doyle is likewise a great narrator and is the perfect choice for McKinty books.
I highly recommend this book and as equally important, McKinty books in general. I do like the Sean Duffy character as well and I expect more in the series based upon how this story develops and ends. Stay tuned...
"Much Much More than a Detective Story or series"
This review is for all 3 novels .. The Sean Duffy series is very well written. The backdrop of the Troubles in the 1980s and the references to contemporary events add a special sense of time and place – along with melancholy because the times were so dark in Northern Ireland. The sense of the time, the feel for the place along with the excellent writing make this a detective series well worth the reading or listening too. It is history, a detective story and so very well written and well read.
As an Ulsterman the content of this book are frighteningly true to life. The political comments at the end have the situation wrapped up. Excellent read
"This has been a delightful experience."
He reads with confidence and a captivating voice.
Definitely and I actually did :)
All three books about Detective Sean Duffy is strongly recommended.
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