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I Hear the Sirens in the Street (Detective Sean Duffy) Paperback – 10 Jan 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (10 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846688183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846688188
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


It blew my doors off (Ian Rankin)

A strain of rough and visual, sly and lyric narrative prose in service of one hell of a story. Sean Duffy is a great creation, and the place comes alive - a uniquely beautiful and nasty part of the world (Daniel Woodrell)

Duffy is one of the most interesting, convincing and sympathetic police officers in recent crime fiction... McKinty gets better and better (Marcel Berlins Times 2013-01-12)

Praise for The Cold Cold Ground -

If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland, The Cold Cold Ground is what he would have written

(The Times)

This is a very fine police thriller from a rising start of the genre. The pacing is brisk and exciting, and the plotting is full of interest and surprises. (Canberra Times, Australia 2013-02-16)

McKinty keeps getting better and better ... Sirens is a humdinger - a highly enjoyable, smart, page-turner of a novel. (Anne Sexton Hot Press 2013-01-30)

Not everyone could tackle such a splintered society, but McKinty seems to relish its challenges as much as its opportunities... Sirens won't disappoint McKinty fans, and may well attract many more. (Mary Leland Irish Examiner 2013-03-02)

Don't miss out on McKinty's belting tale. Duffy mainlines into your bloodstream. Like the vodka and lime he's so fond of, he's definitely addictive. (Liz Kennedy Belfast News Letter 2013-03-20)

This is crime fiction at its best: a police procedural with dialogue that's crisp and occasionally lighthearted; blistering action that's often lethal; McKinty's mordant Belfastian wit; and a protagonist readers won't want to leave behind when the trilogy ends. (Booklist 2013-05-01)

This novel is atmospheric, beautifully paced, precisely constructed, and genuinely hard to put down. Fans of the likes of Billingham, Rankin and Lehane will not want to miss out on McKinty (The Age, Melbourne Australia 2013-05-26)

A tough, smart, darkly funny thriller that's brilliantly atmospheric. (The Sun 2013-07-05)

Another exciting new voice (Ian Rankin Sunday Times 2013-10-27)

Hard-boiled police procedurals set at the height of the Troubles ... Detective Inspector Sean Duffy is dark-humored shamus in the Phillip Marlowe tradition, the narrator is, like the author, university-educated and buoyed through the murderous chaos by his love of classical, punk and new-wave music, the Greek philosopher Epicurus and frothy pints of Guinness. (Wall Street Journal 2013-05-23)

McKinty is seriously brilliant, his flair for language matched by his remarkable feel for place, appetite for redemptive violence and gravely cool appreciation of characters who reject conformity. There are echoes of Dennis Lehane, Joseph Wambaugh, Eoin McNamee and even Raymond Chandler but McKinty is resolutely his own hard man. (Graeme Blundell Weekend Australian 2013-07-14)

Book Description

Detective Inspector Sean Duffy returns for the incendiary sequel to The Cold Cold Ground.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed 'I Hear Sirens....'. As police procedural/ thrillers go it has a lot of originality and bite but; I preferred the previous Detective Sean Duffy novel, The Cold Cold Ground (Detective Sean Duffy 1), I found it sharper, more ferocious, darker and it didn't trail off towards the middle as this one seemed to.

You have to suspend a lot of belief to stay with the plot. If you're a seasoned reader of this genre you'll probably find, as I did, there are too many inconsistencies. However; Adrian McKinty has managed, once again, to write a book that's satisfyingly complex and which uses the Troubles in Northern Ireland to great effect.

The novel begins with the discovery of human remains packed inside a suitcase. DI Sean Duffy has to find the identity of the body before he can begin to investigate further. McKinty expands his story to the US and gives an interesting account of the American attitude to the Troubles which I enjoyed and found refreshingly different.

What I didn't enjoy was the 1980s cliche. Too much 'old style copper' exhibiting extreme sexist, violent attitudes. I didn't bond with DI Duffy this time, didn't like him very much at all to be honest, he seems to have lost his credibility as a DI in favour of toting guns and being offensive. His colleagues, Matty and Crabbie, are more believable and easier to like. There's a lot of friendly banter, black humour and sharp dialogue between the three of them which helps lift the plot.

If you enjoy politics there's a heady mix of themes centred around the Catholic/Protestant divide and the RUC.
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I grew up in Belfast in the 70's and 80's and McKinty has captured the very strange atmosphere that existed at the time - it is good to be reminded just how extraordinary that time was, and a recent visit to Northern Ireland showed me that the tensions are still there. The political situation is central to this book, as Sean Duffy, the protagonist, is a catholic in the RUC, but McKinty has written an excellent detective novel with the troubles as its backdrop, not a history book. I won't summarize the plot, as one of the pleasures is the way that Duffy goes from investigating the discovery of a corpse in a suitcase to uncover a much bigger crime (and John De Lorean gets a walk-on part). This is the second Sean Duffy novel I've read, and I'll be coming back for more.

Final comment - my copy had bee very badly proof-read with a number of typos (UDr for UDR) which was annoying - particularly as the prose is quite poetic at times, and you want to be sure that a surprising choice of word is just that, not a mistake.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In many ways this is a great read. Set in 1982 Belfast with its countless problems the plot does however centre not on the sectarian problems but on other problems resulting from the discovery of a mutilated body. The main character, Sean Duffy, has the makings of a major character. He's certainly not without faults but I can't help liking him. A Catholic policeman who lives in a staunchly Protestant town, there's often a black humour in his dealings with his neighbours, usually helped by generous quantities of vodka and the occasional spliff in the garden shed. He has compassion but also a highly cynical approach to the police authorities and even for Ulster generally, much though he hates the idea of leaving the place. Although it has a decent plot, I found the best part of the novel was the characters themselves and in particular the dialogue between them. These are real people somehow, from truly Christian policemen to bereaved widows to an attractive neighbour whose husband is away on the oilrigs!
Unfortunately, some things grated with me - too much use of 'gotten'; countless mentioning of music preferences; back cover calls Duffy a Sergeant - he's not! There are more.
However,it's a very readable book and I enjoyed it. The ending [which I will NOT spoil] is particularly fascinating given that, hopefully, there are many more books to come. I look forward to them!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really like Adrian McKinty's writing style as he has a knack for creating likeable but complex characters such as Sean Duffy. This series is set during a time of great strife and could easily be quite depressing to read but he has a light touch and gentle humour which lifts the atmosphere of the books. It is interesting to view these times through the eyes of someone who is both a Catholic and an RUC officer - two roles which were considered to be mutually exclusive at the time. I visited Belfast recently and I am glad that I read these books first because they helped me to understand the complicated history of that beautiful & vibrant city.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This police procedural/thriller is based in 1980s Northern Ireland during the Troubles. When a torso is found in a suitcase, Detective Inspector Sean Duffy has to identify the victim before he can start to work out why he was murdered. The storyline allows the author to look at the divides in NI society and also at US attitudes to the Irish question. The author writes flowingly and the plot is interesting and complicated enough to keep the reader's interest, though I found it dipped a bit in the middle. Duffy and his colleagues Crabbie and Matty are on the whole likeable characters and their interactions allow for a fair amount of humour amongst the more serious stuff. The book is undoubtedly a page-turner.

However, right from the point at the very beginning where Duffy decides to overlook a security guard firing a shotgun at him because the guard 'was an old geezer with watery eyes', I found that the book had serious credibility issues that made it hard for me to believe in these characters or to be convinced that this was an accurate portrayal of NI and the RUC of the time. Duffy is a Catholic working in the mainly Protestant RUC and living in a Protestant community - by choice, apparently. He spends half his time with his .38 stuffed in his belt as if he is in the Wild West rather than the police force. Sometimes he's preaching about the need for constant caution, such as checking for car bombs each time he gets into a car; then at other times he's taking ridiculous and unnecessary risks for no reason that I could see except to let the author move the story along. Then, of course, there are the women - he sees every woman he meets as a potential sex object and that's about as far as their characterisation goes.
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