Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Classifying this as an historical mystery/thriller is accurate, but what it really is at heart is a police procedural that happens to be set in a specific historical place and time. That context does add most of the story’s unique interest, but unfortunately doesn’t overcome some weaknesses of pacing and character distractions. Sean Duffy, trying to establish himself as a lead detective on a sensational case, starts out being very precise about following the evidence (stick to the procedures). We go through long and detailed descriptions of the tedium of interviews, collecting evidence, waiting for lab results and returned phone calls. But as the evidence seems to hit some dead ends Duffy quickly devolves into guesswork and hunches, carelessly and emotionally making accusations, tipping his hand to those he wants to catch. Throw in some impulsive behaviors in his personal life that seem out of character, and this thriller has started to get a little loose. I really don’t mind flawed, even unlikable protagonists, but I would like to see them developed with some consistency within those flaws. Duffy just seemed all over the place.
I did stick with it, largely because of Gerard Doyle’s fine reading that kept me in the moment, but my eyes really started rolling when McKinty resorted to that laziest of all story wrap-ups: the monologue at gunpoint. I’m not really interested in continuing this series.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
Welcome to the tough word of Sean Duffy, a detective in the Northern Ireland police force in the early 1980s at the height of The Troubles.The book is well written (after all Adrian McKinty is one of the very best contemporary thriller writers), has good dialogue and some original ideas - enough to keep the interest going.
I could however not get to feel empathy for the main character (Sean Duffy), as probably McKinty is putting too much into him. A bit anguished, very smart, very different , very sensitive, very contrarian thinking., Sean is "special"...In the previous serie (the Dead Trilogy) the main character -Michael Forsyte- was a bit "naif" , not so introspective, but nevertheless terribly charming, spontaneous and without the continuous good/evil dilemma that seems to obsess Sean Duffy. It is like McKinty wanted to give more sophistication to the main character to prove that he is becoming a better writer. There was no need to do so....
I've been a fan of Adrian McKinty's books for a couple of years. He's a leading member of a group of writers from Ireland writing crime fiction. The "Dead Trilogy" is highly recommended but The Cold Cold Ground is his best yet.
McKinty's style is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and other writers of great crime fiction. Sean Duffy, the protagonist in TCCG, is so well-drawn that one might recognize him on the street. Duffy is very human, loves books ("Midnight's Children" in audio!) and music ("Venus in Furs"!) and is generally a good guy. He's a Catholic police detective in Northern Ireland.
The book is set in Northern Ireland in 1981, during the famous hunger strikes. That is in the middle of the The Troubles. That historical backdrop is a fascinating setting for this book. Many readers will learn things about those times that aren't common knowledge. Unlike many popular authors, McKinty will not talk down to his readers, rather, he challenges readers with his thoughtful writing.
The reader, Gerard Doyle, is wonderful. His narration adds greatly to this book.
This is good story, a bit of a whodunit but the book is really about Northern Ireland's civil strife and Sean Duffy. Since this is the first book of a Sean Duffy series, I'm eagerly looking forward to book 2!
If you're into explicit descriptions of violent death, you'll love this book. I'm not and I didn't. It's not the kind of book I'd listen to again and again.
Although Adrian McKinty is truly an accomplished artist, in my opinion his talent is wasted on so much dreary violence. He writes as though there's nothing else for human beings to be interested in.
He creates a lovable character in a gripping plot, but then surrounds him with horrible murders, at which we are also compelled to look, in all their ghastly details. The story seems to promise a psychological mystery involving a homophobic serial killer who leaves clues containing mythological allusions. But it rapidly becomes just another detective story in which we encounter the typical rookie cop (who is right, of course) getting busted, chewed out, and taken off the case by his superiors. Predictably, he goes about solving the case on his own at the risk of losing his job. A note to authors, editors, and agents: WE KNOW HOW THIS PLOT GOES, ALREADY!
The fact that this author is one of Audible's listeners' most favorites is a sad statement about how much fictional evil we call good these days.
I agree totally with every plaudit the previous listeners have given the narrator, Gerard Doyle. He's got many great voices with appropriate accents, perfect timing, and excellent tone. He reads as though he is the character and we're in the character's mind with him.
Husband, Dad, Principal, Adjunct prof, RC Deacon, radio co-host, story teller, NYer, walker, & occasional sipper of fine whisk(e)y,
I ordered this book as a "what the heck" type of purchase, expecting very little! It turned out to be one of the best listens I've had in quite a while!!!! Kudos to Mr. McKinty for a whirlwind of a ride. Det. Duffy is a lovely character and I can't wait to start the 2nd book of the series!
Also great praise to Mr. Doyle for a tremendous performance!
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Okay... I'll be honest by saying that I delayed writing my review and, at first, I got this series mixed up with Stuart Neville's... I thought it might have been only because they are both set in Ireland but... I think the main characters are similar as well, and the books have a noir tone to them, and, of course, Doyle narrates both of them. Excellently, btw.
That being said, this is an interesting and engaging series, even though it is a bit thick with Irish politics and the "Troubles" which are foreign to someone of my age and nationality. I am vaguely aware of the circumstances of Ireland in the 80s, but never lived them, so the stage set for this story was not at all familiar to me.
So, if you were to look at the reviews of the paper version of the book, you might find that some reviewers had a little rant about the veracity of some of the author's settings, I didn't read this book for historical accuracy and am okay not knowing any better. And I have no idea why some readers found the author's writing style or language choices to be pretentious... maybe they were reading it as a literary exploration of Ireland during the 80s and saw things in it that weren't really there? Or maybe it's as simple as Doyle making the story come alive in his narration and those who read the book in paper form missed all this.
Fortunately, I read this book hoping it was a noir detective story... and that's exactly what it is. It is dark and violent and a bit confusing as to what motivated people to behave the way they did, but that's what makes it worth reading - to figure it out. I bought the rest of the series on Audible for full price as soon as I finished this one.
The backdrop for this novel is: the Irish "civil war" between the Catholics and the Protestants (think 'car bombs' and the IRA) However, these events are merely the stage in which the actual story is played-out. The primary storyline follows clues surrounding a murder mystery.
"Cold,Cold Ground" offers a fine match of narrator and story, but aside from that (and the somewhat unique setting) it is relatively standard fare for this genre.
Adrian McKinty's writing style and stories are magic, and Gerard Doyle is the perfect narrator for them. Every sentence has rhythm, the characters are complex and real, and the plots draw you in. Plus there's a lot of great comedy. Doyle is the perfect channel for McKinty's withering insults, and you'll be laughing (and wincing) even as something very unpleasant is happening to some unfortunate thug. I just finished the "dead" trilogy (had already listened to 'cold, cold ground' and the others), and now I want more. Only the Lighthouse series is left, and while it's not might favorite genre, it's Adrian McKinty so I'll give it a try. (McKinty's books are as good as Stieg Larsen's; they should be movies too.)
This is the 5th or 6th combination of Gerard Doyle and Adrian McKinty. There are some other author reader combinations that are as good, but none are better. Fine writing and an outstanding reading! If you have not tried one of these books, this is not a bad one to start with. McKinty's subject matter can sometimes be a little brutal but it is so, so worth it.
Those who don't have a problem with bad language and subject matter will probably not be bothered at all by this book.
Nope, I love murder mysteries.
The performance is great and the historical setting of the book really pulls you in.
Very bad language and some subject matter that may make you a little uncomfortable if you're a more conservative reader. Most of you probably won't have a problem with it but if that kind of thing bothers you just be aware.