Customer Reviews


121 Reviews
5 star:
 (54)
4 star:
 (41)
3 star:
 (16)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


36 of 38 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

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of inaccuracies but still an entertaining read.
It is quite clear to me that Adrian McKinty did not speak to any RUC, Army or Prison Staff who served in Northern Ireland during the early 1980s. If he had Adrian would have discovered much of what he has written about security staff procedures is inaccurate.

RUC members just did not get left home in full uniform by fully marked police vehicles. If they had...
Published 6 months ago by S Wilson


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

36 of 38 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good N.Irish police procedural, 6 May 2012
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
As an Irish police procedural, The Cold, Cold Ground is right up there with Brian McGilloway's Inspector Devlin and John Brady's Matt Minogue series. In fact, it might just be the best example of a police procedural so far produced on the island. It's pretty difficult to pick holes in any aspect of the story, with perhaps the exception of forgetting to return a submachine gun left on the hall table back to the barracks for two whole weeks (not the kind of item that would escape one's attention). McKinty immerses the reader in Carrickfergus and Belfast in 1981 - its politics, its riots, its policing, its fashions, music and social relations, its sense of place, without it ever swamping the narrative. The attention to detail is excellent. Sean Duffy is a complex, flawed and bright lead character, out of his depth and desperately trying to stay afloat amongst paramilitary groups and police and security service politics, and determined to solve the two cases. He's surrounded by a well realised support cast, some of whom are real figures, other fictional characters. The plot twists and turns and is nicelyy paced, and McKinty shows his usual flair for poetic prose. A great read from an author who consistently turns out interesting and insightful books. The only let down - I have to wait for the next Duffy book to be published.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous sense of place, 4 Jun. 2014
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1) (Paperback)
This is the first book in the "Troubles" trilogy, about a Catholic policeman in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1981. Detective Sergeant Sean Duffy is world weary and jaded, reminiscent of Bernie Gunther in Philip Kerr's excellent books. He is investigating two deaths that appear to be the work of a serial killer and also one death that appears to be a straightforward suicide. His investigations - complicated by the frequent violence taking place around him - will lead him into the crosshairs of both Sinn Fein and the Protestant ULP.

The best crime novels do more than just present an intriguing mystery. They give you a pleasingly complex lead character and they evoke a palpable sense of place. Recent reads such as The Cuckoo's Calling, Bitter Wash Road and Dogstar Rising do that extremely well, and this is as good as any of them. The author also weaves some real life events and people into the story which apparently invoked the ire of Sinn Fein's lawyers but which adds a feeling of realism to the story. The eventual denouement is somewhat over the top, but this is still a great read and I look forward to instalments #2 and #3, which are now available.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Northern Irish novel, 1 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 500 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, 11 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1) (Paperback)
I read a lot of thrillers, and I enjoyed this more than most. Most of the books I read are American - Lee Child, James Lee Burke, Daniel Woodrell, Larry Brown for example, but recently I have been enjoying writers whose books are set in Ireland or Scotland, notably Ken Bruen, Stuart Neville and Tony Black. The thing is I know Edinburgh, Galway and Belfast a little better than Wyoming or New Orleans.

Ireland is a country still full of tension, both north and south, despite the peace process and her best writers like the ones I've mentioned reflect this. McKinty's Duffy is a highly educated Catholic cop living in a protestant area, and although there is a rumbling dispute among the reviews on this site about various details of authenticity, he lived in Belfast until he went to university, which includes the time when this novel is set, so he can't be all that wrong.

This book stands out for me because the characterisation is much superior to that of other thriller writers. I found myself fascinated by all the characters, 'good' and 'bad'. Northern Ireland has been notorious for its labyrinth of crisscrossing loyalties and alliances, most of which are/were at least to some extent hidden from gaze, and any decent history of the troubles or any decent novel set in them will reflect this.

This book reveals this aspect in a slightly different way than for instance Stuart Neville's 'The Twelve', and the characters are mostly more goodhumoured than his. This is neither good nor bad but I enjoyed the quality of insults shared between Duffy and his friends and colleagues.

Finally one or two reviewers have disparaged some of Duffy's behaviour as excessively maverick or unlikely. Well I used to work with the police quite regularly (not in Belfast) in some fairly edgy situations, and I can assure you in a tight spot they blunder around and do what makes sense to them at the time, which may or may not be in the rule book.

If anyone doubts this read Joseph Wambaugh's fictional and nonfictional books about the police in LA, where he was a copper for a long time.

The most enjoyable thriller I have read for ages.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of inaccuracies but still an entertaining read., 25 July 2014
This review is from: The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1) (Paperback)
It is quite clear to me that Adrian McKinty did not speak to any RUC, Army or Prison Staff who served in Northern Ireland during the early 1980s. If he had Adrian would have discovered much of what he has written about security staff procedures is inaccurate.

RUC members just did not get left home in full uniform by fully marked police vehicles. If they had they were signing their own death warrant by telling the paramilitaries where they lived, neither did they have their names entered in the telephone book.

It wasn't totally unknown for a Roman Catholic to make the rank of sergeant, but it was unusual for them to be regularly deployed in uniform as Sean Duffy is. With regards to the SMG which lies on a hall table for the entirety of this book, well, you just don't get any more unbelievable than that.

Other irritating mistakes include the wrongful spelling of Dunmurry and the wrongly named Roselawn Crematorium, especially as the latter was and still is the only crematorium in Northern Ireland.

Towards the end of the book I felt Sean Duffy was taking on the identity of Jack Reacher, however he just didn't have the charisma. The shoot out scene with Billy White's boys in Coronation Road was not in keeping with the character of Sean Duffy. For me it was a Jack Reacher moment.

Having said all that I did find the book enjoyable to read but really would loved Adrian to have done a lot more research in terms of procedural matters within the security forces and geographically as far as the layout of the land was concerned.

I will read the next two books in the series, more out of curiosity to see what becomes of Sergeant Sean Duffy and Laura, his doctor friend and in so doing also hope they are more accurate in their details.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 17 Sept. 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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

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)
£5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews