RogerBW's Blog

I Hear the Sirens In the Street, Adrian McKinty 15 November 2022

2013 crime. It's 1982, and Sean Duffy, one of the few Catholic detectives in the RUC, has responsibility for a torso found in a rubbish pile. The victim was frozen before he was dumped, and he actually died of an obscure poison…

I found the first book very effective in conveying the period atmosphere of Belfast in the later Troubles, and in particular the way that "ordinary" murder was swamped by the effects of the paramilitaries. That's still here. But this time some of the specific period detail, not just the Falklands War (and its effects on the British Army's presence in Ireland) or the way everyone reckons the DeLorean factory in Dunmurry is a bit dodgy, but things like what songs were in the charts, feels… forced? Artificial? Just a bit too pat, perhaps, feeling too much like someone who grew up then (as McKinty did) trying to remember it now with the help of reference books rather than like an actual story told at the time.

I went out into the car park and said "Shite! Shite! Shite!" before lighting a fag. I tried to think of a curse but Irish articulacy had clearly declined since the days of Wilde and Yeats, Synge and Shaw. Three ‘shites’ and a ciggie, that was what we could come up with in these diminished times

The detection starts well, but then peters out, in a way that's realistic but unusual in crime fiction. When it picks up again, suddenly Duffy is getting to bed with every attractive woman he meets (involved in the case or not), coincidences pile up, and the whole ending is completely avoidable tragedy.

The atmosphere is solid, but the story told in front of it is dispiriting. This may well be deliberate.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: The Cold Cold Ground | Series: Sean Duffy | Next in series: In the Morning I'll Be Gone

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1