There is a fine crop of Irish Crime Writers at work these days - John Connolly, Ken Bruen, (Colin) Bateman (with or without his first name) to name just three - but at the top of the pile is Adrian McKinty. It's a crime that McKinty is not better known and wider read.
His latest novel, loosely connected to his masterful Dead trilogy, is a fast paced thriller set in Northern Ireland (starting in my home town of Coleraine) but with only tangential references to 'the troubles'. This is not a terrorist novel but it is one of the finest crime novels of the year (or any year). I enjoyed it more than Robert Crais' and Dennis Lehane's latest (and that's high praise).
But for all the pace and action, Falling Glass also contains some of the most lyrical passages you'll find in any crime fiction outside of the Raymond Chandler novels that provide some of its chapter titles.
This is a true modern noir. Killian, the protagonist, is not a 'good guy' but we root for him because he is the least 'bad guy' here. McKinty is skilled enough to make us sympathize, if just a little, with a Russian hitman who, despite the terrible things he does, has a life outside his 'job'. It's a difficult task but one that McKinty makes look easy. In less skilled hands many of the characters would be cliches, killers with hearts, but here they come across as three dimensional people.
Read this. Then go back and read Dead I Well May Be and work from there. Tell all you friends. Spread the word. Perhaps then Adrian McKinty will get the respect he deserves and somebody will put Hidden River back into print.