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The Sirens of Suspense

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HELP ARIZONA FIRE EVACUEES & FAMILIES OF FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS NOW

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A Blast from the Past: item1
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Adrian McKinty, I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET(2013) and THE COLD COLD GROUND (2012)

Genre: Crime

Series: The Troubles Trilogy

First Sentence: "The abandoned factory was a movie trailer from an entropic future when all the world would look like this."

 

The review of the first in Adrian McKinty's (author of the award-winning Dead Trilogy), The Troubles Trilogy—THE COLD COLD GROUND—is ridiculously overdue. Apparently, I waited until I read the second, I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET, released in May.

The first thing I have to say is that these books are not my normal fare. Outside of U2s "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", I'm far from an expert on the Troubles in Northern Island. Nor did I have any particular desire or interest in exploring that era. McKinty's books deftly changed my mind. 

The books, set in the early 1980s, focus on Sean Duffy, a detective in the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and a Catholic in a mostly Protestant neighborhood. The Troubles are more of a character who Sean sometimes interacts with - a neighbor he waves hello to in the morning - rather than the major focus of the books. In THE COLD COLD GROUND, he's after a serial killer who targets gay men (homosexuality is illegal at this time in Northern Ireland), who may or may not have ties to both the IRA and the Protestant UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force).  In I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET, the torso of an American tourist with military ties is found in a suitcase, and despite dead ends, beautiful widows, and acronymed agencies warning him off, Sean follows the leads wherever they may take him—all the way to the United States.

The mysteries are well thought-out and there's enough action to keep you turning the pages, however, it's really Sean that keeps me coming back. This is more his story than a police procedural—it's not that, in any way.  I'm just as eager to find out the latest addition to his record collection or which band shirt he's wearing as I am to know where the case will take him next.  He weaves in and out of the Troubles almost as if they were a side note—offhand mentions that he checked under his car for a bomb, or that he had to go through various barricades. Like a neighbor you wave goodbye to when you leave in the morning and then don't think about for the rest of the day. Quite a feat when the country is essentially in chaos. Rather than the reader having historical details shoved down their throats, it's neatly and subtly couched in everyday life. I learned a lot about an era about which I was essentially ignorant, and enjoyed the well-thought-out mysteries. I'm very eager to see more of Sean, and I can't recommend this series highly enough.

 

 

HAVE YOU READ THE TROUBLES TRILOGY? DO YOU HAVE A RECOMMENDATION THAT ISN'T YOUR USUAL FARE? Tell us your thoughts further down on this page, or by commenting on this blog entry on our Facebook page to be entered to win an ARC of I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET! (US Residents only, please.)

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