The Cold Cold Ground

The Cold Cold Ground

A Detective Sean Duffy Novel

Book - 2012
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In a 1981 Northern Ireland rife with sectarian violence, Catholic detective Sean Duffy investigates a serial killer who is targeting gay men--a series of murders that may have political implications as well.
Publisher: Amherst, NY : Seventh Street Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781616147167
1616147164
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY MCKINTY
Characteristics: 320 pages ; 21 cm

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PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 02, 2018

I've found a new mystery series to fall in love with. It's 1981 and the first of the hunger strikers in Belfast's Maze are dying. Every morning means checking the car for bombs and every call out from the station means suiting up like it's WWIII, as Belfast burns with daily riots. Into this mess, Detective Sean Duffy thinks he's found something unique: a non-sectarian crime. A body is found in a car, with one hand missing and someone else's severed hand left with the body. Duffy is a Catholic detective with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), an almost entirely Protestant police force. (The RUC (now the PSNI) at one time had as low as 8% Catholics, and even at the current 30% (and falling) Catholics are still underrepresented in the country's police force). The pacing was fast and McKinty didn't pull any tricks of leaving out information that his characters are privy too. I found one sex scene to be a bit gratuitous, but you could argue it helps give more insight to his character.

I'm a fan of 20th century Irish history and have a couple of good friends who lived through the Troubles, so I was interested to see how McKinty would play with the politics of the situation. He doesn't take sides and he doesn't try and simplify anything. For those not familiar with the IRA, DUP, UVF, FRU and the other multitudes of alphabet soup splinter groups, you may want to make a cheat sheet. McKinty, who was a child in Belfast at the time he writes about, says in the afterword: "I wanted to set a book in this claustrophobic atmosphere, attempting to recapture the sense that civilization was breaking down to its basest levels" and he has succeeded.

m
murielcrooks
May 01, 2018

from northern ireland originally really enjoyed this book long long time since i found anything based in northern ireland looking forward to reading the rest. found the story line different and interesting pulled me into characters was like a we visit back to the auld country at times.

n
nhoj
Mar 30, 2017

Book One of The Troubles Trilogy

d
DaveH65
Nov 10, 2016

I have traveled to Northern Ireland many times and like mystery novels, so this novel seemed like a good fit for me.

I was really enjoying about the first 75% of the book, but I found the general ending disappointing. There are not enough late plot twists or surprises, and some of the events early in the novel that we the readers are trying to fit into our hypotheses turn out to have basically no significance.

This author is a great find. Sensitive political background to a great crime novel.

b
beckercl
Oct 20, 2015

If you enjoyed Ian Rankin's' Inspector Rebus books, you'll enjoy these.

AuntJane Jan 05, 2015

Was introduced to this writer by Book Club - I have never read anything set in Northern Ireland during "the Troubles" and I found it fascinating. Interesting detective and story line. I am looking forward to reading the next installment!

j
jsnbreed
Apr 09, 2014

I am now finishing the trilogy and have been fairly hooked the whole way. One recommendation- try these on audio. The reader is good and the language comes to life in the ear in a way it doesn't on the page. I didn't think Ireland was something I wanted to learn about, but these books have made me curious. They also make me think a bit of the Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson.

s
seaxfamx
Apr 08, 2014

A well-told story with a likable main character. Especially interesting because it's set against the backdrop of "the troubles" in Ireland.

c
chouser200
Feb 14, 2014

Well plotted, great protagonist, and wonderfully atmospheric. I'm looking forward to more McKinty.

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