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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant novel about The Troubles
Only having read one Adrian McKinty novel "Fifty Grand" I didn't know what to expect with this one. This book is set in McKinty's home territory of Northern Ireland during the early 1980's, an era I knew almost nothing about. This book is also a police procedural about a police officer on the trail of a homophobic serial killer. There are many unusual aspects to the case...
Published on 29 Dec 2011 by Sam

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy Writing
Perhaps it's because I come from Belfast and know the area that makes me think this is just sloppy writing. The author can't be bothered to spell place names correctly or get his geography right.
Aside from that he totally stereotypes both sides. He also writes about barefoot children in the 1980s! The plot is full of coincidences and improbable happenings. Lazy...
Published 1 month ago by KJ


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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant novel about The Troubles, 29 Dec 2011
Only having read one Adrian McKinty novel "Fifty Grand" I didn't know what to expect with this one. This book is set in McKinty's home territory of Northern Ireland during the early 1980's, an era I knew almost nothing about. This book is also a police procedural about a police officer on the trail of a homophobic serial killer. There are many unusual aspects to the case but what stands out the electrifying atmosphere of Belfast in middle of chaos, the witty banter between the police officers and the character of Sean Duffy who is a sympathetic and funny central protagonist. As an ordinary Detective Sergeant in the northern Irish police, Duffy is not a superman: he is intelligent and observant but he's believeable. He's not Sherlock Holmes. He makes mistakes, takes wrong turns and is sometimes hotheaded. I've read a lot of books in this genre and I think this is one of the very best ones. The Cold Cold Ground is a great novel and you will not be able to put it down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy Writing, 25 Feb 2014
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Perhaps it's because I come from Belfast and know the area that makes me think this is just sloppy writing. The author can't be bothered to spell place names correctly or get his geography right.
Aside from that he totally stereotypes both sides. He also writes about barefoot children in the 1980s! The plot is full of coincidences and improbable happenings. Lazy lazy writing.
Don't waste your time or money on it. I am amazed that he is being paid to write more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Northern Irish novel, 1 April 2012
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I enjoyed The Cold Cold Ground. It was a thrilling read and I couldn't put it down. I stumbled across it on the Amazon Daily deal for 1 on the Kindle, so it was also great value for money! In hindsight I would have been prepared to pay normal retail value for it so, overall, it must have been a good read.

The Cold Cold ground is a police procedural novel set in the early 80's in Carrickfergus, a suburb of Belfast, against the backdrop of The Troubles. The novel is the first of a trilogy based around the career of Detective Sean Duffy.

Duffy is a young Catholic Detective living and working in a Protestant town and is a member of a predominantly Protestant workforce. Our somewhat unusual protagonist is tasked with solving a bizarre series of murders; a serial killer (a rare beast in Nothern Ireland) is on the loose and terrorising the gay community. Duffy and his colleagues need to find that murderer before he kills again. Meanwhile, what has become of Lucy Moore?

The author has taken great pains to make Sean Duffy seem normal, human, believable. He makes mistakes, he gets drunk, he chases women when he should be on the job, he listens to a lot of great music, he has a soft spot for his flashy BMW. Despite his flaws, he ventures into the abyss time and time again to search for the truth behind the bizarre murders.

McKinty has done a really great job of capturing the claustrophobia, paranoia, tension and fear which pervaded the streets of Belfast at the time. The hunger strikers frequently make an appearance in the novel as do full-scale riots, bombs, roadblocks, burning vehicles, moustachioed Protestant terrorists and rhetoric-spouting Republicans. Local expressions are sprinkled nicely through the novel, but not in an overpowering way. Its been along time from I've seen quare, pochle and sheugh written down. Don't remember the last time I saw them in a book.

Mckinty, I have since learned, was brought up in Carrick at this time, and as such must be drawing from his own experiences to allow him to write with such authority and authenticity. That said, there are times when I didn't think the events in the novel were credible - a Catholic police officer, living in a Protestant housing estate, being dropped off directly at home by a Police landrover, while wearing full armour and sporting a Sterling machine gun, at the height of The Troubles? Nope, definitely not, categorically wouldn't have happened. This would have made Duffy an instant target for the paramilitaries. Standard operating procedure at that time was to drive to and from work in plain clothes, then get changed into uniform at work. Anything less, at the time, was suicide. The incident I speak of, above, appeared at the beginning of the novel, and I was in two minds about continuing to read. I was glad I did as this was one of only a very few flaws I found in the book. Some may consider the ending to be flawed as the closing events of the novel seem a little far-fetched.

Overall, I recommend The Cold Cold Ground. McKinty has received a lot of praise from literary critics for his work so far, and has won several awards. Based on this book, its easy to see why. I think I'll now try to read some more of McKinty's books, I think they'll be good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First of N Irish police procedural trilogy, 26 Dec 2011
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
"The Cold Cold Ground" is the first of a planned trilogy of police procedural novels featuring Sean Duffy. Set in 1980s Northern Ireland it's a little reminiscent of the TV show "Life on Mars", full of reminders of the music and events of the period that evokes nostalgia in those who lived through it. In all good police procedural novels, the hero has to have a "thing" that sets him apart. With Duffy it is that he is a Catholic in a predominantly Protestant police force. What this means is that no one trusts him on either side of the religious divide. And as this is set during the worst of the "troubles" with hunger strikes and rioting on the streets, not to mention car bombs and other acts of violence, this is a big issue for him.

Duffy has two cases to solve, which may or may not be related. The main one centres on what appears to be a homophobic serial killer at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in Northern Ireland while the second involves the disappearance of a young girl who is the ex-wife of one of the hunger strikers. Both appear to be unrelated both to each other and to the "troubles" but perhaps not. The serial killer story line involves a lot of homophobic language which was rife at the time which some may find offensive by today's more enlightened standards, but McKinty is very good at evoking the period and this is, to my mind, entirely justified.

McKinty is also good at what might be called "locker room banter" within the police force. In fact, dialogue is always one of his strengths. He has a good ear for it and it's often very amusing. Moreover, the author has previous form in writing trilogies with his excellent series featuring the anti-hero, the hitman Michael Forsythe. Writing trilogies is not easy but there is evidence to suggest that McKinty will carry this off with aplomb. In fact this edition ends with a taster for the next in the series "I Hear Sirens in the Street" and it looks promising. I will be first in the queue to read the next installment. This may not be his best work (I preferred his Forsythe trilogy), in my opinion, but it's still highly readable and entertaining.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough, Gutsy Novel from a Tough, Gutsy Writer, 27 Dec 2011
Quick -- think of your favorite crime novels set during 1980s Ireland. If you're like me, you had trouble coming up with even a handful. For whatever reason, writers seem to shy away from this touchy period in Irish history. Adrian McKinty -- never one to duck touchy subjects (see FALLING GLASS) -- sets his latest right in the heart of the troubles and, in doing so, gives his readers a look into a time and a place rarely available outside the history books. And as is typically the case in McKinty's novels, the setting itself is one of the best characters in the book.

I won't bore you with a rehash of the plot -- you can get that above -- but the gist is that a Catholic cop in Protestand Northern Ireland is tasked with investigating both a possible serial killer targeting homosexuals and a possible suicide by a hunger-striker's ex-wife. As plots go, this one is unique and, as you'd expect, McKinty keeps the action moving. It's brutal and hardboiled, exciting and entertaining. Based on his other books, you'd expect no less.

That said, fast-moving plots are a dime a dozen. As are "police procedurals." If you're looking for your typical "whodunit" and "howdtheycatchem," this isn't it. Calling this book a "police procedural" is like calling Ken Bruen's books "mysteries" or James Crumley's books "PI novels." To pigeonhole this book, as with the books of those other authors, is to miss what sets this book apart -- namely, the fantastic writing and the characters involved. This is a book you'll feel drawn to -- you'll be thinking about it during your day at work, hope to cram down few chapters during lunch and look forward to getting home so you can dive back in. It's a book that stays with you, not simply because you want to find out who did what, but because you want to see what happens to the characters, how they react to what gets thrown at them, and how they end up in the end. For me, the "killer" in this novel was nearly an afterthought -- I just wanted to let McKinty take me along for the ride knowing that, wherever it ended up, getting there would be a blast. If you're looking for your standard police procedural / mystery in the vein of Michael Connelly, etc, you'll like this book just fine. If you're looking for something more than standard-fare, you'll love it.

There are a few writers out there these days who spoil readers with every new book -- Bruen, Allan Guthrie, Charlie Huston, Craig McDonald, and Don Winslow to name a few. These are the writers that continue to surprise readers with their creativity and skill, and in their ability to do something different than the hundreds of other authors lining the shelves. Once you've spent a few hours in one of their books, you know you don't want it to end, and after you've finished, you have trouble finding another that lives up to your newly raised expectations. McKinty is one of these increasingly rare writers doing something different, and something better, than most. This one is worth your time and money. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 17 Sep 2013
I've been a fan of Adrian McKinty's books for a couple of years. He's a leading member of a group of writers from Ireland writing crime fiction. The "Dead Trilogy" is highly recommended but The Cold Cold Ground is his best yet.

McKinty's style is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and other writers of great crime fiction. Sean Duffy, the protagonist in TCCG, is so well-drawn that one might recognize him on the street. Duffy is very human, loves books ("Midnight's Children" in audio!) and music ("Venus in Furs"!) and is generally a good guy. He's a Catholic police detective in Northern Ireland.

The book is set in Northern Ireland in 1981, during the famous hunger strikes. That is in the middle of the The Troubles. That historical backdrop is a fascinating setting for this book. Many readers will learn things about those times that aren't common knowledge. Unlike many popular authors, McKinty will not talk down to his readers, rather, he challenges readers with his thoughtful writing.

The reader, Gerard Doyle, is wonderful. His narration adds greatly to this book.

This is good story, a bit of a whodunit but the book is really about Northern Ireland's civil strife and Sean Duffy. Since this is the first book of a Sean Duffy series, I'm eagerly looking forward to book 2!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars terrible ending, 8 Jan 2013
By 
Alan Leckey (Portadown, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Now that the Troubles are over and Northern Ireland is in a so called Peace Process, although only time will really tell. Many writers are coming out of the wood work and daring to spin yarns using well recognised political figures and events to tell stories of life in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Previously such daring risked a bullet or a beating at least, if you came to the unwanted attention of the God fathers and their minions, but now in this new so called era everyone and everything has the potential for a spin to be put on it. And this book certainly does that in spades !!!

Telling a story of a homophobic serial killer, whilst using the back drop of the 1980's Hunger strike and subsequent rioting, references to the Royal wedding, an assassination attempt on the Pope and various other events of the time. Using thinly disguised names of known terrorist would, had it been written just a few short years a go resulted in a long drive, in the boot of a car from Carrickfergus to a lonely unmarked peat grave somewhere close to the border. But now those same God fathers somewhat delight in their notoriety. Lets now forget however, there's still many people missing who's crime was not telling a piece of fiction to the world but telling the truth to the authorities.

If I take myself and my knowledge of growing up in Northern Ireland out of the equation, I still find myself asking some fundamental questions about the amount of inaccuracies in the book particularly in relation to police procedures. i.e like bringing home an SMG machine gun fully loaded and leaving it lying on the hall table for two weeks in a known UVF stronghold ....doh......yes I know its a story and the author has the right to weave his plot but please this stretches it to the limit.

Putting that and the clearly political slant to one side this is a good read and a page turner, I read it in a couple of days. It has some very witty moments in it and some great observations of Belfast Lough and the surrounding area. What really lets the book down is the ending, the author should have left off the last chapter it wasn't necessary and would have been a more believable albeit far fetched ending.

I will definitely download the other book in the series

I Hear the Sirens in the Street: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel (Troubles Trilogy)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable Read - though with a slightly odd ending, 15 Jun 2012
By 
Mr. Ross Maynard (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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At first the seemingly trivial way that Adrian McKinty treats "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland in 1981 really irked me - as it has done other reviewers. Several times in the book the conflict between Republicans and Loyalists is made to feel little more than a bunfight with the different factions actually being quite cosy behind the scenes - content to divide up territory between them. I wasn't there but I reckon it was a lot more vicious than that.

However, after a while I let that go and started to enjoy the story. And it is well written and very readable: humorous, tense and compelling in turns. The pace is good and the story suitably complex and dark.

But then, in the final quarter of the book, I felt the author spoiled it. The main character's behaviour becomes increasingly irrational and inexplicable and the plot sort of fizzles out to a really quite bizarre ending. The author leaves enough unanswered questions to make you want to carry onto the next book in the series but I am not sure that I will - I felt very let down by the ending. I don't want to give it away but what the hell was that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best book I'll read this year, 14 May 2012
By 
Richard Latham (Burton on Trent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Loved this book.
Happy to be in reading a police procedural story set in recent times; most people feel they know the history of the troubles having never set foot in the six counties. I found the history quite revealing as real events are set around a very original plot and events help drive a story of pure creation from McKinty's mind and pen/index finger. Good use of historical characters interwoven by strong fictional characters.
I immediately warmed to Detective Sergeant Duffy a very believable character, a representative of a very brave group of people in Northern Ireland working against sectarianism.
Consequently there is a edge to the story as you never really know what will happen, terrorist threats are real and the tension of life in Belfast is carried through the pages in this sharp thriller.
I look forward to the next book in this compelling trilogy and recommend this series and author to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Northern Ireland 1981 - a different world, 13 May 2012
By 
Tim from Surrey (Surrey) - See all my reviews
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The Cold Cold Ground
The story is set in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s, when Thatcher was in power, and hunger strikers were headline news around the world. The key focus is on Detective Sergeant Duffy and how he manages in his new role at Carrickfergus CID.

McKINTY, who is the author, surely demonstrates some very unusual twists and turns in the story - which you'll have to read to discover what they are. However, what McKINTY achieves is a good clear picture of what life was like in Northern Ireland in 1981. For many of us, we can not imagine what society was like: constantly checking our car for bombs; police officers routinely having guns; the attitude of hate towards someone just because of a different religion; being a Catholic Police Officer in Northern Ireland. But McKINTY tries to show that when all of this is mixed together, life as a Police Officer continues, and that any crime, no matter what it is, has to be investigated.

There are two significant cases for investigation, and Duffy needs to show that he is competent and a leader when it comes to these. The two cases are totally different, one appears to be a suicide, but Duffy thinks that there was more to the suicide than original thinking, and the other is what may be a serial killer. But, as the victim was a gay man, no one cares. This is Northern Ireland in 1981 and society considered gay men to be either sick, perverted or criminal. So, there won't be any resources for Duffy to use to investigate. When a second gay man is killed, this hardly makes the news. Even Duffy's own colleagues aren't that keen to investigate.

Duffy emerges out of the investigations having upset, angered, and at times infuriated his bosses, politicians and others. What is quite difficult is to understand who and what all the different groups are that become mentioned. For someone who doesn't really know the history of Northern Ireland during the last 50 years, I found that at times I was skating over some of the detail. Sure, I could have looked up the abbreviations, and what they are (UDA, UVF, QUB, DMSU, GAA), but also some of the key areas, such as Crumlin Road, Falls Road. At times, I realised that my knowledge of Northern Ireland and the conflict that took place was inadequate, for example, what the differences are between the various groups such as the Ulster Freedom Fighters, and the IRA, but McKINTY has made me eager to learn and to understand more of what happened over there.

I also smiled, because the term "peeler" was used throughout the book, a term I had long forgotten about.

Although the book deals with the investigation of murder at a time when the police were not welcomed by many sections of society, McKINTY manages to blend in a relatively humorous style of writing with the seriousness of Northern Ireland in 1981. I enjoyed reading the book, and will look forward to other books that McKINTY writes.
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The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1)
The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1) by Adrian McKinty (Paperback - 28 Jun 2012)
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