RogerBW's Blog

The Detective Up Late, Adrian McKinty 30 December 2023

2018 crime, seventh in the Sean Duffy series. As the 1990s dawn, Sean Duffy just has a bit of paperwork to do before he goes part-time for good. But he can't ever let it lie…

So that last case is a missing young Traveller woman, and nobody's terribly interested because that's what they do right, but Duffy goes all quixotic. Because the author loves him, this comes out well – though I couldn't help but notice that the case would have been resolved the same way if he hadn't got involved in the first place (though a side matter wouldn't have shown up at all).

In the usual Duffy style, there's some initial information, then a long frustrating pause while nothing seems to make sense, then Duffy re-interviews people and bullies them until they give up their secrets. I'm finding him increasingly believable as a character, but also increasingly unsympathetic, thinking of himself as the cool dope-smoking jazz-listening dude while he casually destroys suspects' lives.

Still, I also think I'm not really meant to sympathise with him; he is after all a fairly rubbish policeman, but at the same time he's the best possible policeman that the messed-up situation and system in Northern Ireland can produce. I like to be able to sympathise with protagonists, but it's no longer a reason to stop reading when I can't.

It's decent, but after McKinty turned down the chance to end the series in a relatively stable place after book 6 I find myself out of sympathy with this book.

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Previous in series: Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly | Series: Sean Duffy

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