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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 18 June 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have read all three of the Sean Duffy stories to date and they have each been an excellent read. I would say that this one is the best to date which is very encouraging. One thing they are certainly not is the least bit formulaic. I have recently read the latest Lee Child Jack Reacher story and, although good fun, the reader is rather aware that they are reading the same story over and over repackaged. However there is no such repetition in the life of Sean Duffy.

This time round Duffy continues his career habit of offending those in authority and suffers the consequences. His life is in the doldrums until, rather fortuitously he is recruited by MI5 who are in pursuit of a leading IRA figure who went to school with Duffy. Following a sojourn training in Libya, Dermot McCann is now back in Europe and thought to be planning a 'spectacular'. In the course of this investigation Sean becomes involved in a classic 'locked room' cold case mystery which he has to solve if he is to find McCann.

I like Adrian McKinty's style of writing and the Northern Irish setting retains the ring of authenticity which was so evident in the previous books - there are many nice details such as the very accurate description of the well known Crown pub in Belfast. It is certainly not necessary to have read the other books though as this works well as a standalone story. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this police thriller. It has its flaws, but not enough to spoil things for me and if anything I thought it was better than its predecessor, I Hear The Sirens In The Street.

Sean Duffy is a Detective Inspector in Northern Ireland in 1984. Or at least he was until insubordination, excessive drinking and so on in the last book caused him to be demoted to sergeant and removed from CID. In this book things get even worse until he's recruited by MI5 to find a terrorist leader with whom he was at school and is back on the force... These are such clichés of the genre that I wouldn't normally bother, but the book is so well written that I didn't mind a bit. Duffy is an engaging if flawed character, he and other are exceptionally convincingly drawn, and the period and place are very well evoked. Dialogue is excellent; it is crisp, believable and pretty accurate for the period (although people do mention "issues" and "closure" which, mercifully, hadn't infested the language by then.)

The plot is beautifully paced and utterly gripping. It has its silly elements, to be honest, including an almost with-a-single-bound-he-was-free Bulldog Drummond-esque escape and dash to prevent National Catastrophe, but I was quite happy to go along with it and stayed up far too late to finish the book. It's an exciting, deceptively well-researched and erudite read, and a very good portrait of a turbulent time and place. Recommended.
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I'm reading all four Sean Duffy novels back-to-back and loving each one; sadly I read the fourth one first and there are now no more for me in this series but how very, very good they are. In this third one, the writer again mixes high-profile political events of the 1980s with his own appealing fiction. There are traces of James Ellroy in this methodology, because real people have speaking parts - notably the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She is very much a central figure in the conclusion of this tale.

Duffy is temporarily promoted into Special Branch and given the task of finding IRA bomb-making expert Dermot McCann who escaped from the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland and is thought to be planning a major terrorist attack. Duffy and McCann go way back to school days when McCann was head boy and Duffy the deputy head; since then they have gone in very different directions but Duffy has always felt that he was living in McCann's shadow. In order to find him he is asked to find the killer of a young woman a few years earlier, but only in return for information about McCann's wherabouts. This murder investigation takes up the bulk of the pages and the conclusion is tense, dynamic and vaguely surreal.

It's hard to fault any aspect of this as a piece of crime fiction because it offers everything : A magnetic leading character, a strong story line and a complete absence of padding. There's something to enjoy on every page. I already know that the next in the series Gun Street Girl: Sean Duffy 4 is even better (actually, the best of the lot) and I really hope there will be more to come in the future. McKinty is simply a very good story-teller.
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on 30 May 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Adrian McKinty is one of the best crime writers around and this is shown no better than in his Sean Duffy books. ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Morning’ is the third in the series and continues the story of a Northern Irish copper during the troubles who is trying to do real police work whilst bombs are going off. As in previous outings, Sean’s abrasive attitude gets him in as much trouble as it provides clues. Hired by MI5 he is on the lookout for escaped IRA bomber and former school pal Dermot McCann.

What makes McKinty such a great author is his balance of light and dark. Set during the mid-80s, this is some of the most turbulent time in recent Northern Irish history, but Duffy goes about his work in a glib fashion. This is because if he was to stop and think about things he may never leave the house again. Therefore, ‘Morning’ is a funny book, but also harrowing. Add to these features a great mystery and some brilliant action and you have perhaps the best book by McKinty yet (and the standard is high).

Large portions of the book are given over to a simple, but effective, locked room puzzle. This being McKinty, and in particular his Sean Duffy character, he not only solves a mystery, but explores the history of the locked room puzzle in an entertainingly funny way. The crime element of the book is fantastic, but there is more. McKinty balances light and dark, but also fact and fiction. The events in ‘Morning’ touch upon those in real life and lead to one of the tensest and exciting finales I have read in a long time.

Sammy Recommendation
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Third novel in the Sean Duffy trilogy and, in my opinion, the better of the three. I don't think the novel works too well as a stand alone, a one off, you'll have a better experience if you read the books in the proper order.

Duffy has fallen from top ranking police officer to disillusioned drunk. His arrogance, confidence and general 'tough guy' demeanor have been well and truly broken by a host of political and personal wranglings. He's still right in the eye of the storm though and from the start of the novel there's going to be a reckoning - one way or another.

If I'm being totally honest; not too much happens. It really is a case of tying up the loose ends and finding the right point for McKinty to exit the story. There's a fair amount of violence and 'tasty' dialogue to move things along but the plot is basic and spins between revenge and loss. What plot tension there is comes as McKinty ramps up the fuel filled rage taking place within and around Duffy and asking the question - will he get even or die trying?. That's why I think this trilogy is best read in the proper order. You'll get to see where Duffy's going but you're missing out on the journey that got him there.

As a homage to the 1980s, the novel's set in 1984, 'In the Morning I'll Be Gone' works well and certainly conjures up memories of those times. I was happy to read less of the clichéd 'old school copper' routine that ran through the previous two novels and made me feel as though I was trapped in a time warp....somewhere between The Sweeney and Ashes to Ashes!!

Without doubt it's the political history of 1980s Northern Ireland that pulls this novel out of the 3* bracket. McKinty saves himself, and Duffy, from becoming really quite ordinary when he's fully involved with those themes.
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The author, Adrian Mckinty, grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Island. He knows all about 'The Troubles', and he knows first hand the characters he writes about. Carrickfergus, means 'rock of Fergus', and predates Belfast, and, was for awhile the bigger and more prominent city. 'The main participants in the Troubles were republican paramilitaries (such as the Provisional IRA), loyalist paramilitaries (such as the UVF and UDA), the British state security forces (the British Army and the RUC, Northern Ireland's police force)'. Wiki .

Sean Duffy is a policeman in the RUC and stationed in Carrickfergus. There was a very large paramilitary police group stationed here. In the 1980's their job was that of the usual police, fighting crime. But, the bigger issue was the IRA. Duffy was Catholic in a mainly Protestant area, he checked his car every morning for IRA bombs. He is a hard drinking, fighting man, got into trouble and was dismissed from the force and received a retirement pension. He was drinking the way through his day when he was approached by two reps of MI-5 who wanted his assistance in capturing Dermot McCann, a master IRA builder of bombs. Sean and Dermot went to school together. They knew each other, and Duffy knew the family. Duffy accepted the job with certain pre-requisites of which the MI-5 agreed. Thus began the search. Duffy is a smart guy, crafty, wily and thinks he can outsmart his enemy. He has empathy for their cause, but not for the manner in which they carry on. Along with this job, Duffy picks up a cold case murder of a young Irish lass. This will lead him along the path to hopefully find Dermot.

Duffy is a hard hitting character, fueled with anger, but has an innate intelligence that serves him well. When others would give up, he keeps grinding away. He is an independent force and works best alone. His music is akin to the music I love, and plays a big part in these novels. The writing is superb, the history of the troubles is interwoven with real and often sublime circumstances. These are believable, even though great literary license is taken. 'The Troubles', the name taken for the conflict in Northern Island between the Catholics and the Protestants, comes to life with this trilogy. A dark, dangerous time in Ireland that came to a compromise in 1998. But back in 1980, the conflict was in full throttle. Adrian Mckinty was there, he knows of what he speaks, and he has brought Sean Duffy to life. He is a character not soon forgotten, I hope to meet him again.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 02-02-14
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Please see the book description for a summary of the storyline

I still like this series a lot although the first part where he is setting the scene feels somewhat repetitive from the two first instalments, but this also means that new readers do not necessarily have to read the two first books to enjoy this book. And it doesn't go on for too long, so once the investigation gets on the way, the locations, characters etc. all come together as was the case in the two first books and it is a really good crime story with Northern Ireland in the 1980s providing a really good setting.
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the third in the troubles trilogy, and like the first two its another book that is difficult to put down.
It begins with Duffy, a hard-drinking Catholic in the Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary being set-up for a crime he didn’t commit. In exchange for admitting wrongdoing and going away quietly, he’s offered early retirement with a pension.
When MI5 recruits Duffy to hunt down his childhood friend, Dermot McCann, an IRA bomber who has escaped from Maze Prison, McCanns mother in law offers to give up McCann location, if he can solve the mystery of her daughter s death. Duffy’s investigation takes him throughout Northern Ireland and England, trying to solve the “a locked room mystery” in which Lizzie died., supposedly accidentally.Soon, Duffy is uncovering clues to help solve the mystery, but begins to wonder if the information on McCann’s location and next target will be enough to stop the McCanns next bombing.
I tightly written thriller, once again McKinty delivers the goods. One of the finest crime writers in the world today
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Set in Northern Ireland in 1983 - 1984 where the Union Flag has a different context from the UK mainland and Mrs. Thatcher’s Britain. Northern Ireland, where you are travelling to an army base but ask for directions to a school or church on the same road. Sean Duffy is a catholic policeman in a mostly protestant RUC. In his school days he knew a prominent IRA man – Dermot McCann - who has just escaped from the Maze prison. Although Sean has been dismissed from the RUC, MI5 want to reinstate him so that he can track Dermott McCann.

This is a Brit version of Jack Reacher in a grey, gritty backdrop of paramilitary activity. The final book of a Sean Duffy trilogy but there’s no need to have read the previous books. A steady read with an unexpected ending.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This story starts with our hero about to light a giant spliff, whilst listening to Velvet Underground. Our hero is a cop in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. He is currently wondering whether to ignore the insistent ringing of the telephone or to answer it. He answers and it turns out it's the RUC calling him in for an emergency. There has been a mass escape of IRA prisoners from the Maze.
While on a patrol there is an accident for which wrongly Duffy gets the blame, once again he is demoted and is seriously wondering if he should quit the force and go to England.
He gets a visit from MI5 asking him to track down Dermot McCann one of the escaped IRA a prisoners, who is very dangerous and it is expected that a bombing campaign in England will be instigated by him. Duffy is asked because he knows McCann, they were childhood friends and from past connections he might be able to find him.
There is an aura of The Troubles throughout this book, roadblocks, checkpoints, sectarian areas, painted slogans and tributes on the sides of walls, checking for car bombs, explosions and attacks. And Duffy's musical soundtrack.
I enjoyed this thriller, I like the character and as the author spent his early years in Northern Ireland the authenticity of time and place is impressive.
This is the third Sean Duffy novel. One doesn't have to of read the others to enjoy this book.
I'm wondering what Duffy will do in the next story ? Will he be busted for taking confiscated dope, start a Velvet Underground tribute band, perhaps become a DJ or work for MI5 or remain in the RUC? The possibilities are many.
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