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The Troubles Trilogy

The Troubles Trilogy by Adrian McKinty is a series of detective novels set in the author’s hometown during the same time period as his childhood – the early 1980s in Northern Ireland.  They follow the career and cases of Sean Duffy, a Catholic police detective working for the Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Carrickfergus (near Belfast), who is torn between the two warring factions.  Each novel tells the story of a specific detective case, but the backdrop of the violence in Northern Ireland adds historical interest, complications, and increasing danger for Duffy.  Well-written and fast paced, these books are the best of the police detective genre and I find myself extremely disappointed that the author decided to end this series as a trilogy!

cold cold groundIn The Cold Cold Ground, Duffy is investigating a case in which two gay men have been murdered, their right hands severed and switched.  The severing of the right hand is a classic sign of a killed informant, but Duffy suspects it’s the diversionary tactic of a serial killer until no other gay men turn up dead.  Were they informants?  Was one murder committed to cover up the other?  Is the IRA involved somehow?  Even when the case is reassigned, Duffy persists, facing corruption on all levels in his efforts to get to the truth and find his own brand of justice.  The background stories of the Hunger Strikes, the royal wedding, and the shooting of the Pope and context and interest, reminding me of headlines news stories when I was a kid, but showing me the reality of their impacts for those living and surviving in Northern Ireland.

Title: The Cold Cold Ground
Author: Adrian McKinty
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 320
Publication: Seventh Street Books, November 2012
sirens in the streetIn I Hear the Sirens in the Street, a headless torso found in a suitcase is the latest case puzzling Detective Inspector Sean Duffy.  When the body is identified as an American veteran, poisoned by a rare plant, Duffy ends up on the doorstep of a beautiful widow whose husband owned the suitcase before he was murdered, apparently by an IRA assassination team.  But things get more interesting when the detective who investigated the husband’s death is suddenly murdered.    Suddenly, unable to let it go, Duffy finds himself caught in the middle of a political nightmare between the IRA, the FBI, and M15.  Who’s doing the killing?  Why?  And can Duffy survive solving the case?  In the background, things in Northern Ireland are heating up as the British pull back troops that are supporting the police force to support invade the Falkland Islands.

Title: I Hear the Sirens in the Street
Author: Adrian McKinty
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 320
Publication: Seventh Street Books, May 2013

12book "In the Morning I'll be Gone" by Adrian McKinty.

In In the Morning I’ll Be Gone, Sean Duffy, demoted and ready to be run out of the force completely, gets a break.  When his childhood friend, Dermot McCann, an IRA leader and an explosives expert, breaks out of prison M15 recruits Duffy to find him.  If he can, they will clear things with the RUC, getting him his old job back.  When he finds Dermot’s mother-in-law she promises Duffy a lead – but only if he can solve the mystery of her daughter’s death first.  She’s convinced that what appears to be an accidental death is actually a locked-room murder, and she wants to know who killed her daughter.  It seems like even Sean Duffy won’t be able to figure it out.  And if he does will she lead him to Dermot?  And will it be in time?  And in the end what will it all mean?  And of course, Margaret Thatcher is due in Brighton to give a speech at the Conservative Party Conference…

Title: In the Morning I’ll Be Gone
Author: Adrian McKinty
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 315
Publication: Seventh Street Books, March 2014


4 thoughts on “The Troubles Trilogy

  1. Pingback: March Progress – 2014 Reading Challenges | Watching the Words

  2. Pingback: April Progress – 2014 Reading Challenges | Watching the Words

  3. Wanting it to be longer than a trilogy is a big recommendation! I’ll have to keep a look-out for them. Well done on What’s In A Name. I like your spin on the theme 🙂


  4. Pingback: May Progress – 2014 Reading Challenges | Watching the Words

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