Others have said that Adrian McKinty’s second crime novel about Sean Duffy – I Hear the Sirens in the Street – is better than the first. I find it hard to say. Despite my admiration for Adrian’s writing, The Cold Cold Ground was such a fantastic surprise, that I suspect I simply took it for granted the sequel would be marvellous – which it is – so I am unable to rate them against each other.
It starts gruesomely enough, with a bloody torso, which is never nice to find. And how to identify it, in the days before DNA? I thought what Adrian/Sergeant Duffy came up with was pretty good. I just don’t know what’s fiction, and what’s fact.
He mixes real people into his plots, and does it with conviction. I loved last year’s Gerry Adams, and was amused by the appearance of Mark Harmon’s ex-brother-in-law in the new one. The cast seemed smaller this time, which almost made it harder to decide on the culprit(s).
Never mind how good a crime novel this is; it’s yet again more about the period in which it is set. 1982 is a year I remember well. At the time I could never have imagined the new Northern Ireland, and as I was reading I Hear the Sirens in the Street, there was stuff in the news that made me wonder how far we really have come.
The torso – yes, we get to know it quite well. We also see more of Duffy’s neighbours than we might want to, and it’s quite interesting what you can achieve with frozen meat, even when there is a good amount of it. I also – finally – had an explanation to something I was always rather hazy about, so all in all, I am very satisfied.
I can’t recommend the book highly enough. Read The Cold Cold Ground first, and then this. I’m already counting the days to when I can see Duffy for the third time.