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The Cold, Cold Ground

by Adrian McKinty

Reviewed by Narelle, ABC 1062 on June 14, 2012

The Cold Cold Ground

Sean Duffy is a recently appointed Detective Sergeant in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland during the height of the troubles in 1981.  Duffy comes across as a pretty switched on and ambitious police officer in his twenties but he is a Catholic in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), which is predominantly a Protestant  force and hated by Catholics. Nevertheless, being a policeman is something Duffy has always wanted to be and he perseveres as he has a knack for it.

Duffy is called to the scene of a murder and it looks like the victim could be an IRA informer as his hand has been cut off.  When he and the pathologist delve a bit deeper they realise that perhaps this is what the murder was set up to look like – to throw of them of the scent.  Some other anomalies arise – they discover a note hidden in the victim obviously meant for the investigators to find and the man is found to be homosexual.  They soon tie the murder down to a serial killer – perhaps Irelands first serial killer.

The whole station is galvanised into finding the killer before he strikes again and Sean Duffy and his small team of detectives work hard to track down any leads.
As I mentioned before the whole book takes place during the height of the troubles in Ireland and the author (who grew up in Northern Ireland during this time) really takes us there.  Sean Duffy is an avid music fan so all the bands of the late 70’s and early 80’s are mentioned, it is the time of the hunger strikes, shootings and bombings.  Every morning Sean Duffy has to check under his car for mercury switch bombs (and the author remembers going to school each day with a British officer who did this religiously).

A great police procedural book that to me, after reading some of Adrian McKinty’s other books, is almost a coming of age for him as a writer.  The book has a bit of humour that McKinty is famous for, some sideline romance, plenty of detective work and a sprinkling of action.  Something for everyone.  All in all a great book if you like crime based fiction.

Year published: 2012
Narelle, ABC 1062‘s rating: 9 out of 10

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