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The Cold, Cold Ground Audiobook

The Cold, Cold Ground: Detective Sean Duffy, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

Adrian McKinty was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. He studied politics and philosophy at Oxford before moving to America in the early 1990s. Living first in Harlem, he found employment as a construction worker, barman, and bookstore clerk. In 2000 he moved to Denver to become a high school English teacher and it was there that he began writing fiction.

In 2009 he moved to Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and two children. His first full-length novel, Dead I Well May Be, was short-listed for the 2004 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and its sequel, The Dead Yard, was selected as one of the twelve best novels of the year by Publishers Weekly.

In 2008 his debut young adult novel, The Lighthouse Land, was short-listed for the 2008 Young Hoosier Award and the 2008 Beehive Award. The final novel in the Dead trilogy, The Bloomsday Dead, was long-listed for the 2009 World Book Day Award.

In 2011 Falling Glass was an Audible.com Best Thriller.

©2012 Adrian McKinty (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“McKinty is a streetwise, energetic gunslinger of a writer, firing off volleys of sassy dialogue and explosive action that always delivers what it has promised.” (Irish Times)

“What makes McKinty a cut above the rest is the quality of his prose. His driven, spat-out sentences are more accessible than James Ellroy's edge-of-reason staccato, and he can be lyric.” (The Guardian)

“If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland, The Cold Cold Ground is what he would have written.” (The Times, London)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Alan Bath, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 01-17-12
    Alan Bath, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 01-17-12
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    "What a stunning book"
    What made the experience of listening to The Cold, Cold Ground the most enjoyable?

    The author of last year's Audible.com's Best Mystery or Thriller strikes again, only this book is even better. There is an enormous degree of sublety and sophistication in this book, both in the plot and the vivid atmosphere created of 1980s Northern Ireland. McKinty always treats the reader as intelligent in his unwillingness to paint a black and white picture of the 'troubles'. He also builds a drum-tight plot which weaves fictional and true characters together. There's a lot of tounge in cheek humor at the expense of some of these character's bloated egos, too.All of these features make this a brilliant book, but the superb narration by Doyle works to make something sublime.


    What other book might you compare The Cold, Cold Ground to and why?

    Stuart Neville's The Ghosts of Belfast. Detail, sophistication and grittiness


    Which character – as performed by Gerard Doyle – was your favorite?

    Gerry Adams


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely


    59 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Londonderry, NH, United States 01-21-12
    Christopher Londonderry, NH, United States 01-21-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Listen to this book. You won't be disappointed."

    Just finished The Cold Cold Ground. I've been a big fan of Adrian McKinty for the last few years and I've listened to all of his books. This new one does not disappoint. In fact I think it's his best since Dead I Well May Be. The plot is both intricate and thought provoking. We are given a glimpse of a different time and place (Belfast in the 1980's during the Troubles), and a different culture. One not on an especially healthy path.

    We're used to hearing about 3rd world countries at war with themselves. Tribes going at each other for no good reason other than their irrational hatreds, blood feuds, and power grabs. But when it's a country that most of us would consider civilized we often don't think of what life would be like if such horrors occurred in our own countries. The Cold Cold Ground gives us a glimpse of that world along with a great story.

    Gerard Doyle , the narrator, is terrific. At first, I considered reading The Cold Cold Ground the old fashioned way, something I haven't done with any of McKinty's other books, but I'm so hooked on having these stories read to me in a think Irish accent (actually multiple accents, not only Irish, but English, American, as well as different variations of Irish) that I decided against it. Doyle's reading brings the novel to life and makes some of the Irish slang more readily understandable.

    Don't miss McKinty's earlier novels, especially the Dead Trilogy and Falling Glass (voted Best Mystery or Thriller of 2011 here on Audible). All great stuff.

    75 of 78 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 08-25-13
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

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    "A Gripping Sense of Time & Place"

    Belfast in the 1980s defines.... (get ready to look it up..) dystopian. There, I finally worked that word into a conversation, but it fits like a mercury-switched bomb beneath an Ulster cop's car. The Troubles are rumbling all about with the caprice of Northern Irish weather when a psycho-sexual serial killer challenges the police. Adrian McKinty's ear is laser aimed at the moment, and he hears for us the way average people struggled to create a sense of normalcy, even if normal meant solving a kinky murder mystery during the heat of a civil war.

    I wish that Gerard Doyle, whose own wonderful accent delivers us believably into this space, was just a tad broader at capturing the various Irish dialects which the author assigns to certain of this ensemble cast. But, that's a piddling complaint. Sure n'-I'm-thinkin' that this is both a cultural and procedural investigation which takes the reader on a trip to what's, thankfully, history now: For at least as long as the truce that Clinton and Mitchell so powerfully negotiated between Irish and Brits some fifteen years ago.

    I'm off to find me a bit more from Adrian McKinty.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Portland, OR, United States 01-27-12
    Chris Portland, OR, United States 01-27-12 Member Since 2017
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    "A Tense and Convincing Mystery"
    If you could sum up The Cold, Cold Ground in three words, what would they be?

    Detective Sean Duffy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary has to walk a very fine line. It’s 1981 and Northern Ireland is ablaze in sectarian violence after IRA commander and hunger-striking prisoner Bobby Sands dies. As a Catholic, Duffy is mistrusted by the Protestant population, and even by some of his police colleagues. As a policeman (or peeler, as the slang name has it) he is mistrusted and often hated by the Catholic population. In the midst of riots and random violence, Duffy is assigned to investigate the killings of two gay men. As he investigates, it begins to look as though a serial killer is at work. As he digs deeper, he runs afoul of both the IRA and his own superiors, neither of whom seem to want him to find the killer.

    McKinty paints a tense and convincing picture of the suspicion, danger and continuous threat of catastrophic violence that hung over Northern Ireland during “The Troubles.” He has also created a believable and sympathetic character in Sean Duffy. Duffy is a man who leads a difficult life with dignity, integrity and a fair amount of dark humor.

    I have liked McKinty’s work for several years now, and have admired his ability to plot a very tight mystery. He has managed to keep the ideas that propel his mysteries fresh so we have not had to suffer through the reverse-engineered plots that mar the careers of so many great mystery writers. It is gratifying to see that there are plans for more Duffy novels.

    I discovered McKinty’s novels through my love of the work of the actor who has narrated all the audio editions of his novels so far, an Irish actor named Gerard Doyle. Some years ago I tried to listen to the book Eragon. I didn’t care for it and gave up quickly, but I loved the voice talent, so I sought out other books that he had narrated. My local library had the audio edition of McKinty’s Hidden River. It was easily the best mystery I read/listened to in 2004. I’ve been a real fan of Doyle’s interpretation of McKinty’s books ever since.

    After you listen to Cold Cold Ground and you find yourself impatiently waiting for the next Duffy book, give Hidden River a listen—you won’t be disappointed.


    45 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 02-28-14
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 02-28-14

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "Left Me Pretty Cold Too"

    This is cynical stuff. There's not much of anybody to really like in the story, and extreme violence makes it not for the faint of heart or stomach.

    BUT, this is a really effective view of what it must be like to live in a war zone such as Northern Ireland was at the time of this action (and many places in the world, alas, remain today). McKinty is chillingly good at description, and the constant fear, guardedness, emotional numbness and lack of hope seem very real. There could be no more suitable narrator for this than Gerard Doyle.

    If you like gritty, realistic mysteries about the worst of characters and situations you may appreciate this one. It's a lot of bleak, but I can say that it took all the "romance" out of the fabled "troubles" of Ireland for me - an outcome very much intended by the author, I think!

    42 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis 05-29-13
    Dennis 05-29-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A Great Story, very well told"

    Adrian McKinty understands the world he sees and is extremely talented at describing it. This story takes place in Ireland during the "troubles" and peels back many layers of politics, religion and community while telling the story of a young police officer tracking down what he believes is a serial killer. The story moves fast and the intersection of events in dealing with the I.R.A. police agencies, neighbors and thugs is well built and has a feel of realism that McKinty is talented at bringing to the page. The story is tight with the tension built and outcome uncertain until the very ending, which is constructed well from the facts as they are brought before the reader. This is an exciting and well told story with an accompanying narration that is as good as it gets.
    Highly recommended.

    23 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 01-02-16
    Wayne Matthews, NC 01-02-16 Member Since 2017

    I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!

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    "Catholic cop in Northern Ireland fights the IRA!"

    This is book 1 in what will soon be a five book Detective Sean Duffy series. The book is set in the early 1980's in Northern Ireland where Sean Duffy begins work as a cop in a rural area of the country. Duffy has a university degree in psychology, but decides he prefers detective work. The cases he is working are a murder and an apparent suicide that may be murder.

    Adrian McKinty released 11 novels before releasing The Cold Cold Ground in 2012. He is a master of the police/crime thriller genre. I recommend all of his books.

    Gerard Doyle narrates this book. He is one of the best.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Purdy Oaten eastish of eden 08-11-12
    Purdy Oaten eastish of eden 08-11-12
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    "Deep, Dark&Turbulant Flows the Great Donneybrook"
    Would you listen to The Cold, Cold Ground again? Why?

    I started listening to this on my own, and liked it so much I started it over, sharing it with my husband...so I have already listened to some of it twice. It is definitely a book that would stand up to rereading, both for the information it imparts and for the complexity of the characters McKinty has created. The second time I could listen more carefully, since I wouldn't be driven crazy by not knowing what would happen next!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sean, since every step he takes seems to disillusion him more, and I can well appreciate that. I like the way he thinks, I like the way he perceives the people around him, I like his music, for the most part, and mostly I like how he does not conform to the role everyone else would restrain him with. Sean's character is changed bbbbbbbbbby the things he experiences, he is not a one dimensional character.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His experieence in the public toilet. McKinty does not underestimate his readers or their own experiences. This scene made me feel such empathy for this character. I guess you might say it made Sean very human to me, a character I would feel protective of.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't recommend this book highly enough to people who like really engrossing mysteries, that stay in your mind, long after you have finished reading them. I was completely unfamiliar with this author...I think I had seen some of his novels here on Audible, but when I saw titles like, "Dead I May Well Be," or something like that, I assumed (yeah, you know what that means!) that it was about vampires or zombies!! Can't wait till the next installment in this trilogy, and will be checking out his many other titles here on Audible. Great stuff!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Stillwater Lake, NS, Canada 01-21-12
    Dave Stillwater Lake, NS, Canada 01-21-12 Member Since 2008
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    "May be his best yet"

    I liked the M Forsythe novels, but I believe Cold, Cold Ground is McKinty's best so far. Again, based in Northern Ireland in the '80's, this book weaves an exciting story about a young catholic detective sergeant and the violent world around him. If for no other reason (and there are many others), this book is worth the credit because of the author's insights into a society in which nothing seems to make sense, at least from the perspective of an outsider. It's a great listen not only because of the story, but Gerard Doyle's powerful rendering of the characters. I had a difficult time turning off my Ipod.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 01-19-17
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 01-19-17 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Noir with Slight Letdown at End"
    Any additional comments?

    Sean Duffy is a Catholic police detective in a place and at a time when the IRA sees him as a traitor and his Protestant colleagues see him as an odd duck. It’s 1981, Prince Charles is about to marry Diana, Pope John Paul II is about to get shot, and Bobby Sands and other IRA big-timers are on hunger strike. Northern Ireland is a powder keg, and then things really get crazy: someone starts killing homosexuals, and a young woman may or may not have hung herself. Oh, and Sean falls an attractive doctor.

    In a lesser writer’s hands, all that could have been a mess. In McKinty’s, it’s riveting. I realize everything I’ve just described sounds like the obvious elements of a generic hardboiled novel, but McKinty makes it feel as if he’s invented the form.

    For starters, the moment is perfect. Maybe it’s because I was a young high school student when these events took place – these were the news stories of my near adulthood – but the era seems rich with characters and conflicts that stayed with us. Northern Ireland was at the heart of a great storm, and McKinty excavates it with real care. We get the hit songs of the moment (from Dolly Parton to late-career Lou Reed), quick but accurate descriptions of the phones and record players, and glimpses of the cars everyone was driving. He brings back an era, one that wasn’t frightening in its everyday details, and makes it a locus for the conflicts that would drive the following decades.

    More than that, though, we get everything with rare skill. McKinty dispenses backstory and fresh clue with a terrific rhythm. I never felt he was slipping in something important that I’d have to slap my forehead later for not noticing, nor did I feel he was telegraphing what was important. Instead, his story really feels like the story of a mystery slowly unraveling.

    I do think the end falls short of the excellence of the first 90 percent of this, though. [SPOILER] Until the assassination attempt by the IRA team he’s provoked, he’s an ordinary thoughtful cop. When he takes out a half dozen armed men who have the drop on him, well, it feels contrived. And then, when he travels to Italy to kill a double agent, it seems like too much. I accept that he’s a man of deep integrity. I don’t accept that he’d take ‘justice’ into his own hands and kill a man who, despite awful crimes, has the chance to end “the Troubles” years earlier than otherwise.

    I suspect that end is connected to my bugaboo about series. I’m not saying that Duffy should have been killed at the end, but I do think it would have been more true to the story to have him fail, to have him have to eat crow despite knowing who ultimately did it. To me, it feels like twisting the story to set up a sequel and probably more books with the same characters.

    Barring the last chapter, though, I very much enjoyed this. I’ll keep an eye out for more McKinty – one more in the line of star Celtic noirists – and I’m happy to recommend him to others.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • A User
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Lord knows the Troubles I've seen"

    Enjoyable story, well narrated. Gives a great snapshot of a time and a place. Who'd have been in the RUC? Grim business and an unusual perspective

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Annie
    Brentwood, United Kingdom
    12/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book!"

    I loved the voice of the reader. I liked the way that the story tied in with the Irish troubles. I knew something about these times, as an outsider.

    I was held by the story, gradually drawn in.

    I would def listen to another!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • EVA
    WRAY NR LANCASTER, United Kingdom
    6/18/16
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    Performance
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    "What a book"

    A cracking book with a really good story. Really enjoyed it and next two downloaded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • GORDON
    United Kingdom
    1/16/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent first chapter"

    I just re-listened to this after finishing chapters 4 and 5 in the Duffy canon - and it bears up very well, second time around.

    It's an interesting, well-plotted thriller set in early 1980s Belfast. The narration is first rate - it really matches the tone and pace of the book - and so I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • david
    weymouth, United Kingdom
    2/22/13
    Overall
    "great book"

    all i can say is cant wait for more of his books. read them all they are great, also like gerard doyle.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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