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 hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
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.
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!
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
Every McKinty book I have read so far has rated 5 stars from me because the story line is absolutely enthralling. This book was especially so. . . with new angles in Sean Duffy's life. But what I loved most was the non-conclusive ending. The door is wide open for a sequel or two and I am hoping McKinty has some on the drawing board.
One element of this story that was very appealing was the "long look" that governmental agencies had of how Ireland would become one nation again. . . long after Thatcher, the IRA and other power groups were gone. In fact, this novel proposes that the plan was hatched years ago and allowed to unfold, using Sean Duffy and others like him as pawns in a grand chess match.
Duffy is left to ponder this in the end, and as a listener, I couldn't help but wonder how it would shape his future commitment to the Queen's police.
Great story and as always fabulous narration. Gerard Doyle is spectacularly gifted as a reader.
List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen
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 the best. This is well written and again, the narration is top notch.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
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.
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...
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.
Audible is my "can't live without". I enjoy the other readers recommendations. Keep them coming!
Adrian McKinty is a gifted writer and tells wonderful stories. His tongue in cheek humor is delightful. I learned a lot more about the Belfast troubles and other historical facts about Ireland that were new to me and educational. Well done!
Kudos to the narrator Gerald Doyle who brings all the characters to life.
I mostly listen to books while exercising, which pretty much explains all of the action/thrillers on my list.
This trilogy is definitely gripping and gritty. I can't tell you how happy it makes my that my ancestors left northern Ireland when they did (well before this story) or this could have been a portrait of my life. That said, the books are about someone who stays even though he knows just how bad it is; and who still sees the beauty that is there. Makes you think at least.
"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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