The Boston Globe Reviews In The Morning I'll Be Gone
My first and hopefully not my last US newspaper review by the brilliant Daneet Steffens in The Boston Globe:
It’s Belfast, September 1983. Police officer Sean Duffy starts every day — every drive, really — the same way, checking under his car for bombs before setting off to work.
Recently and humiliatingly demoted from detective inspector — officially for breaking some rules, in reality because he’d run spectacularly afoul of the FBI — Duffy is spending most of his downtime lost in a haze of cannabis-and-tobacco smoke and the Galaxian game on his Atari 5200.
Some of that changes when 38 prisoners escape from the notorious Maze prison, including Dermot McCann, Duffy’s old schoolmate who is now a major IRA operative. (Their history includes a pivotal moment in which McCann talked Duffy, then a hot-headed youngster, out of joining the IRA.)
IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE
Number of pages:
Duffy is still busy anesthetizing himself with vodka gimlets, Black Bush Irish coffees, and the Velvet Underground, when MI5 pops in with a proposition: temporary reinstatement as detective inspector if he’ll help them track down McCann.
Though he initially balks at the “temporary” aspect, Duffy feels his interest rising: “restoration to the police? To my former rank? To be a detective again? The old thrill was coming back.” It beats drunken brawls and early retirement in Spain.
Adding grist to this thriller’s mill is a four-year-old, locked-room mystery that has Duffy and his colleagues kicking around sparkling and very amusing references to locked-room literary classics; one of the funniest scenes involves a fellow cop adeptly poking theoretical holes in a basic premise of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.’’
With his Sean Duffy Troubles Trilogy, of which “In the Morning I’ll Be Gone’’ is the third installment, Adrian McKinty places riveting police procedurals in the political context of The Troubles, sharply ratcheting up the tension and fear as depictions of conspiracy, murder, and violence rise up from the page.
But it’s not all grit: McKinty’s novels are also shot through with a smart, crackling humor that manages to be both dark and witty. (Check out a police department’s list of arrested burglars, officially recorded as Michael Mouse, Dick Turpin, and Robin Hood.)
Each book is a solid standalone, but it’s even better to ride the entire trilogy roller coaster with Duffy as your intimate companion. And why not?
He is a rare Catholic on a primarily Protestant police force with an appreciative knowledge of Jim Rockford, Kojak, “Star Trek,’’ and “Doctor Who.’’ Because of his dad’s bird-watching obsession, he knows his eider ducks from his rock doves. He’s a whiz at crossword puzzles — his boss leans on him for clue solutions all the time — is a dab hand at lock-picking, and thanks to his barber, notary public, and neighborhood gossip, Sammy McGuinn, Duffy is hooked on Radio Albania.
Duffy also has discerning taste in music: He’s partial to Arvo Pärt and Pink Floyd, considers Rimsky Korsakov’s “The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh’’ “good head-clearing music,” keeps a Blind Willie Johnson cassette in his car, and loyally tries to find something to like on Robert Plant’s “Principle of Moments.’’
No stranger to violence, Duffy doesn’t suffer fools, but he is always polite to his over-the-fence neighbors, Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. McDowell. He shows his compassionate mettle — indelibly so — during an investigative visit to McCann’s mother and sister, and demonstrates an even softer touch by tracking down a copy of Dr. Spock’s “Baby and Child Care’’ for a terrified father-to-be.
Duffy is far from perfect. “ ‘You’ve got manic depressive tendencies,’ ” an old girlfriend tells him. “ ‘You have alcohol dependency issues. You don’t eat properly or exercise. You smoke too much.’ ”
Maybe so, lady, but you left out the bit where Sean Duffy strikes what balance he can between survival and integrity, the respect he inspires in his colleagues and the fact that he is utterly and pleasurably human. I rest my case.
I was born and grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. After studying philosophy at Oxford University I emigrated to New York City where I lived in Harlem for seven years working in bars, bookstores, building sites and finally the basement stacks of the Columbia University Medical School Library in Washington Heights.
In 2000 I moved to Denver, Colorado where I taught high school English and started writing fiction in earnest. My first full length novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and was picked by Booklist as one of the 10 best crime novels of the year. The sequel to that book The Dead Yard was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 12 best novels of 2006 and won the Audie Award for best mystery or thriller.
In mid 2008 I moved to St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia with my wife and kids. My last book The Cold Cold Ground won the 2013 Spinetingler Award for best novel.
"If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland he would have written The Cold Cold Ground."
"Hardboiled charm, evocative dialogue, an acute sense of place and a sardonic sense of humour make McKinty one to watch."
"A literary thriller that is as concerned with exploring the poisonously claustrophobic demi-monde of Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and the self-sabotaging contradictions of its place and time, as it is with providing the genre’s conventional thrills and spills. The result is a masterpiece of Troubles crime fiction: had David Peace, Eoin McNamee and Brian Moore sat down to brew up the great Troubles novel, they would have been very pleased indeed to have written The Cold Cold Ground."
---The Irish Times
"McKinty is a big new talent."
---The Daily Telegraph
"McKinty is a gifted man with poetry coursing through his veins and thrilling writing dripping from his fingertips."
---The Sunday Independent
"Adrian McKinty is fast gaining a reputation as the finest of the new generation of Irish crime writers, and it's easy to see why on the evidence of The Cold Cold Ground."
---The Glasgow Herald
"McKinty is a storyteller with the kind of style and panache that blur the line between genre and mainstream."
"McKinty's literate expertly crafted crime novel confirms his place as one of his generation's leading talents."
"McKinty crackles with raw talent. His dialogue is superb, his characters rich and his plotting tight and seemless. He writes with a wonderful and wonderfully humorous flair for language raising his work above most crime genre offerings and bumping it right up against literature."
---The San Francisco Chronicle
"McKinty keeps getting better. He melds the snap and crackle of the old Mickey Spillane tales with the literary skills of Raymond Chandler and sets it all down in his own artful way."
---The Rocky Mountain News
"The first of McKinty's Forsythe novels, "Dead I Well May Be," was intense, focused and entirely brilliant. This one is looser-limbed, funnier...so, I imagine, is the middle book, "The Dead Yard," which I haven't read but which Publishers Weekly included on its list of the 12 best novels of 2006, along with works by Peter Abrahams, Richard Ford, Cormac McCarthy and George Pelecanos."
---The Washington Post
"McKinty, who grew up in Northern Ireland, has an ear for language and a taste for violence, and he serves up a terrifically gory, swiftly paced thriller."
---The Miami Herald
"There's nothing like an Irish tough guy. And we're not talking about Gentleman Gerry Cooney here. No, we mean the new breed of bare-knuckle Irish writers like Adrian McKinty, Ken Bruen and John Connolly who are bringing fresh life to the crime fiction genre."
---The Philadelphia Inquirer
"McKinty's writing is dark and witty with gritty realism, spot on dialogue, and fascinating characters."
---The Chicago Sun-Times
"If you like your noir staples such as beautiful women, betrayal, murder, mixed with a heavy dose of blood, crunched bones, body parts flying around served up with some throwaway humour, you need look no further, McKinty delivers all of this with the added bonus that the writing is pitch perfect."
---The Barcelona Review
"I really enjoyed [Dead I Well May Be’s] combination of toughness and a striking literary style. Both those things are evident in Hidden River. McKinty is going places."
"This is a terrific read. McKinty gives us a strong non stop story with attractive characters and fine writing."
---The Morning Star
"[McKinty] draws us close and relates a fantastic tale of murder and revenge in low, wry tones, as if from the next barstool...he drops out of conversational mode to throw in a few breathtaking fever-dream sequences for flavor. And then he springs an ending so right and satisfying it leaves us numb with delight and ready to pop for another round. Start the cliche machine: This is a profoundly satisfying book from a major new talent and one of the best crime fiction debuts of the year."
"The story is soaked in the holy trinity of the noir thriller: betrayal, money and murder, but seen through with a panache and political awareness that give McKinty a keen edge over his rivals."
---The Big Issue
"A darkly humorous cross between a hard-boiled mystery and a Beat novel."
---The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A roller coaster of highs and lows, light humour and dark deeds, the powerful undercurrent of McKinty's talent will swiftly drag you away. Let's hope the author does not slow down anytime soon."
---The Irish Examiner
"A virtual carnival of slaughter."
---The Wall Street Journal
"McKinty has once again harnassed the power of poetry, violence, lust and revenge to forge a sequel to his acclaimed Dead I Well May Be."
---The Irish Post
"A pacey, violent caper in which McKinty vividly portrays [Belfast's] sleazy, still-menacing underbelly."
---The Sunday Times
"McKinty writes with the soul of a poet; his prose dances off the pages with Old World grace and haunting intensity. It's crime fiction on the level of Michael Connolly with the conviction of James Hall."
---The Jackson Clarion-Ledger
"The Bloomsday Dead is the explosive final installment in a trilogy of kinetic thrillers."
---The New York Times
"Adrian McKinty has garnered nothing but praise for his first two books. The third in the trilogy The Bloomsday Dead should leave no doubt that he is a true star. Fast moving and highly engaging this is a great book. McKinty just gets better and better."
"Until The Dead Yard's relentless, poignant ending you'll turn these pages as quickly as you can."
---The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"McKinty's Dead Trilogy has been praised by critics, who call it "intense," "masterful" and "loaded with action." If your reading pleasure leans toward thrillers offering suspense, close calls, wry wit, sharp dialogue, local color and sudden mayhem, you wont do better."
---The Sacramento Bee
"Le Fleuve caché d'Adrian McKinty impressionne par la richesse et la diversité de son ton et de son écriture, passant avec aisance du lyrisme ample de la nostalgie de l'amour perdu au rythme saccadé du narrateur sous l'emprise de l'héroïne. Ce livre rare et maîtrisé est une réussite bien digne de la Série noire."
Eine eigentlich simple Story, die natürlich bereits als Grundlage für Hunderte Bücher und Filme diente, macht Adrian McKinty zu der mitreißenden Odyssee eines jungen Mannes, der in der Lage ist, sich seiner Umwelt anzupassen wie jene Kakerlaken, die er in seinem Harlemer Appartement jagt, studiert und sowohl angewidert awie anerkennend entkommen lässt. Nicht umsonst 1992 angesiedelt, ist Der sichere Tod der kongeniale Kommentar zum Wesen der Neunziger.
- Jochen König, krimi-couch.de
"McKinty - that guy is a friggin genius."
"McKinty is a cross between Mickey Spillane and Damon Runyan, the toughest, the best."
A couple more books, a few birthdays, some shuffleboard then a period spent in the digestive tract of earthworms, followed by molecular breakdown, the sun boiling into space, the heat death of the universe, atomic decay, perpetual darkness, a trillion years of nothingness and then, if we're lucky, brane collapse, a new singularity and a new Big Bang.
Me & the Mrs in our survivalist bunker
Adios and thank you for stopping by....
Humiliation, unhappiness, discord are the ancient foods of heroes---Jorge Luis Borges
The measure of a writer isn't success, but how hard he tried to do what he knew he couldn't do---William Faulkner
I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen---J G Ballard
I read the dictionary once . . . It turns out that the zebra did it --- Steven Wright
Times are bad. Children disobey their parents and everyone is writing a book---Cicero