• The Cold, Cold Ground

  • Detective Sean Duffy, Book 1
  • By: Adrian McKinty
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (4,678 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $20.97

Buy for $20.97

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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.

Critic Reviews

“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 listeners say about The Cold, Cold Ground

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,289
  • 4 Stars
    1,637
  • 3 Stars
    544
  • 2 Stars
    117
  • 1 Stars
    91
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,841
  • 4 Stars
    1,009
  • 3 Stars
    266
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    48
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,006
  • 4 Stars
    1,443
  • 3 Stars
    553
  • 2 Stars
    121
  • 1 Stars
    76

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

112 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

107 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

90 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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!

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Conservative Readers Beware

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Those who don't have a problem with bad language and subject matter will probably not be bothered at all by this book.

Has The Cold, Cold Ground turned you off from other books in this genre?

Nope, I love murder mysteries.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The performance is great and the historical setting of the book really pulls you in.

Any additional comments?

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.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!!!!

This is a great book. If you haven't listened to an Adrian Mckinty book you are cheating yourself. This guy is in a class by himself. I have listened to all of his books more than once. His last book Falling glass won book of the year on audible 2011. Cold cold ground is as good or better. Enjoy.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Just Not My Idea of Great

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.



22 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Clady Lad
  • Clady Lad
  • 06-06-19

Sorry, but the narration spoils this for me

I have been reading the Sgt. Sean Duffy series and really enjoying them a lot, so as a newbie to Audible I bought this as one of my first listens (a snip I thought at £2.99) and really looked forward to listening to it.

But I'm sorry to say that the narration is killing it stone-dead for me (excuse the pun). The accent is simply not right and is obviously 'learnt' rather than natural. I have checked out some of Gerard Doyle's other work on Audible and it's really excellent, as indeed are his acting credentials, however in the other Audible examples he's not attempting an NI accent.

Also irrespective of the very questionable (for me) authenticity of the accent, some of the delivery sounds stilted, with strange pauses and oddly inappropriate inflections. Almost as if the reader doesn't quite understand what he's reading. I'm sure that's not the case, but rather, they are perhaps being caused by a conscious attempt to 'do the accent' and in doing so losing the flow of the text.

In my opinion "a native actor from NI shudda been asked to handled this, so he shudda" - think Adrian Dunbar or maybe Charlie Lawson (Big Jim from Corrie). It needs an Northern Irish 'Philip Marlowe' voice. This version just doesn't punch hard enough given the subject.

Sorry not to be more positive as the story is great as indeed are all the books in the series.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ann D
  • Ann D
  • 12-08-18

Great stuff!

This is a great story, well written, with richly drawn characters. The context of Northern Ireland in 1981 is central to this story, but is also another story in it’s own right. Gerard Doyle’s narration is faultless. I am delighted to have found this, as it is the first in a series with the same narrator. I’m looking forward to many hours of listening pleasure ahead.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robert
  • Robert
  • 11-04-17

A gem!

This was an excellent story, I enjoyed it from start to finish.
I didn't really know what to expect but it turned out to be very captivating.
Just about to buy the next in the series:)

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-23-12

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

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for JAO
  • JAO
  • 08-02-19

Gripping

This was a serious and sombre book, but nevertheless enjoyable. The central character was well drawn and the other people depicted were entirely credible.The plot was more complex and profound that it seemed at the start of the story and it was a treat to hear how the storyline evolved. Worth a second listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Phil
  • Phil
  • 06-20-20

original

very enjoyable. I read it in three sittings. it portrayed the troubles as ot was

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Digitalconvert
  • Digitalconvert
  • 07-28-19

an entertaining read

really enjoyed the narrator, and the story was good. Not amongst the best crime dramas though, although I would recommend this if looking for something short and simple.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-03-19

Lost its way

Good first half. Both informative and good story line. Went on too long and became unbelievable by the end.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrea Edan
  • Andrea Edan
  • 02-03-19

Good story, excellent narrator

It was good to find a story set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland that wasn't really about the Troubles. There were many satisfying twists to the story right to the end. Gerard Doyle's voice is worth listening to even if he is reading from a telephone directory. A voice like melted chocolate - my opinion, of course. Both story and narration recommended.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Caroline
  • Caroline
  • 12-22-18

Good beginning, good ending.

This was a boring book overall. The beginning was very good but that just made me feel even more let down when it all started to go wrong. The only thing that kept me reading was imagining the main character was Jamie Dornan. The end was good but not good enough to have to slog through to reach it.

The second detective plot in a row I've listened to with no back story to keep you hooked in. There's only the one story thread - a murder plot - in this book which, to me, means it's poorly constructed no matter how well written it is, how well researched it is or how much historical fact it contains.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for lexi
  • lexi
  • 01-14-15

Really enjoyed this!!

Loved this book... Kept me guessing, the anticipation, the intrigue... Loved it!! Pure escapism, highly recommend :) Now onto book 2 I can't wait!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-02-19

first in a good series

the mix of recent history intertwined with a detective story, plus a great narrator, makes it a very entertaining listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ConstantReader
  • ConstantReader
  • 09-03-22

The beginning of Sean Duffy

A great read. I read this novel after some of the more recent Adrian McKinty books . He is a master of characterisation, and the plot moves fast keeping the reader engaged. This is one of his earlier novels where we meet Sean Duffy of the RUC . I particularly enjoyed that the story is set during ‘the troubles’ , a part of history that I observed through the long distance lens of TV news reports and at a young age. I’ve been able to improve my understanding of ‘the troubles ‘ and the sectarian issues through the Sean Duffy novels. I have read almost all of the Sean Duffy novels and I’ve loved each and every one !
Gerard Doyle’s narration is excellent and well paced and goes a long way to creating a complex and likable rogue such as Duffy .

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-22

Gerard Doyle

loved Gerard Doyle's telling of Mckinty books. have listened to them 3 Times now.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-25-21

Sensational!

Well written, kept me guessing. Loved the background context of The Troubles. Great narration. Sorry it ended!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-20

Transported to Belfast 1980's

This took me back to Belfast in the 1980's where I grew up. The cultural, historical and political background were spot on, as were the outspoken minority attitudes to religion, females and sexual orientation at that time. The vocal performance by Gerard Doyle and narrative are excellent, providing that complete connection to the character Sean Duffy.
Slight spoiler...there is a scene where Sean Duffy has an enlightenment which strengthened my connection and respect for him and for Adrian's clever writing... I did wish that this had happened earlier in the plot though and maybe more of the details!! You must hang in until this moment as this is when the reader can emphasize with Duffy and the victims and where the story takes off so the reader can expect anything.
The violence in it was very real but look out for the cleverly placed humor. Duffy can do no wrong, even when he is! It was a complex plot but easy to understand and one must read to the end for the climax! If you grew up at this time you will also love the references to life at the time including the music!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-17-20

A great listen.

Loved this book. My dads from Northern Ireland so it was really nice to get a little insight into what life might have been like back then. Narrator was fabulous. I fell in love with the main character Mr Duffy. Accents were great. Gonna get every book in this series!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for wendy
  • wendy
  • 01-30-19

Must listen

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel- the writing, the action, the characters and most importantly the narrator. I am about to download the next in this wonderful series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-15-18

The Cold Cold Ground

The book was well written well read and a fantastic story hopefully the next Detective Sean Duffy story is just as good

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-29-17

an interesting Irish story in a time of conflict.

For is in us other countries it is interesting to understand what life was like for families during Margaret Thatcher and the IRA