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on 30 June 2011
and for that reason the book was good, but not brilliant.

Jumping into something half way through doesn't feel right and is a little disconcerting, especially when reading a book. This is exactly the feeling I had when reading Adrian McKinty's `Falling Glass'. The book starts off at running pace and doesn't slow for a long time, making it hard to keep up. When a divorcee suddenly disappears with her two children, the rich airline owning ex-husband wants them found. In a roundabout way he hires former con, turned failed property magnate and part time student, Killian to track them down. If they are somewhere in Ireland he will find them. However, why is the businessman paying so much and are the lives of the woman and children at risk?

McKinty has proven in his `Dead' trilogy that he is a terrific creator of action thrillers with well developed and enjoyable characters. This is the case again with `Falling Glass' as Killian is just the right mix of charisma and darkness; a killer with a golden tongue. You make an antihero likable by creating enemies who are worse, therefore justifying their violent actions; this is exactly what happens. However, Killian goes a little too far in his actions at times and is seemingly a borderline psychopath who is hard to like on occasion. McKinty just about manages to keep your sympathy as a reader, but some people are bound to be turned off.

With some great action sequences and quick wit `Falling Glass' is a good thriller. However, it was the slightly undeveloped sections in the Tinker community that I liked the best; Killian's need to separate himself from his roots, but always being dragged back. Further books in the Killian series will be able to flesh out the character further and draw out the charming man under the cold killer. When this balance is set the books will be amongst McKinty's best work, but for now this remains below the likes of `The Bloomsday Dead'.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 November 2017
I read a bunch of McKinty's Detective Sean Duffy series and generally quite enjoyed them as atmospheric Belfast police procedurals. I haven't caught up with any of his three "Michael Forsythe" books, which this is kind of a standalone spinoff from. The story concerns a 40-something ex-enforcer, who has tried to leave the criminal life behind, but is sucked back in when he finds himself under water in his property investments following the collapse of the Irish economy. He's sucked into tracking down the ex-wife of a hugely wealthy Irish businessman (kind of an Irish Richard Branson wannabe), which of course proves to be more than meets the eye.

Killian is a pretty compelling character, preferring to use his brain and smooth tongue, rather than weapons. Unfortunately there's someone else looking for the ex-wife, and he's much less scrupulous. A former Russian Special Forces Seargeant who has flashbacks to Chechnya, he's brutal and more than a match for Killian in brains. Both characters get introductory scenes to demonstrate their working methods, Killian in a Westchester County mansion, the Russian in a basement under a Mexican mobster's ranch...

What makes this a bit more interesting than a standard mano-a-mano cat-and-mouse thriller, is Killian's background. He's an Irish Traveller/Tinker/Pavee, and part of the story takes place within one of their camps. That gives a much more interesting dimension to Killian and why he makes certain decisions. Plenty of plot twists occur along the way, so definitely recommend it as a page-turner.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 February 2011
Like all good "noir" fiction, McKinty provides us with a charismatic central character - here in the form of Killian. Of Pavee traveller, Irish stock (otherwise known as `tinkers') he has made his name as an enforcer of other people's laws, collecting debts and finding missing people. He's tough and capable of violence, but generally gets his man by avoiding force where possible. A sort of hit man with a conscience. However, when the book kicks off he has semi-retired, but his decision to invest his ill gotten gains in property has fallen foul of the property crash, so when a job comes up offering a cool half million for simply finding the ex-wife and daughters of budget airline magnate Richard Coulter, it's not one he can easily turn down. Killian knows this sounds too good to be that simple. And, of course, he's right.

Fans of McKinty's previous books may recognise the source of the lead for this work, a certain Michael Forsythe, star of McKinty's "Dead" trilogy. But this is Killian's book and his sometime mentor Forsythe merely lurks in the background of the story. If you haven't encountered his former adventures, you won't be disadvantaged in the least.

We get a fair amount of initial jet setting. We first meet Killian in the USA on St Patrick's day musing on the "Oirish" interpretations of his native land, but when the call comes from the budget airline CEO, Killian jets off to Macau to pick up the job. We also get a brief, and violent, trip to Mexico as another character is introduced but to reveal more about that would be to spoil the plot development. But mostly, the book is set in present day Northern Ireland.

For this genre of fiction to work best, it needs a strong dose of humour and McKinty positively excels in this regard, particularly early on. The whole Irishman in New York rant at the beginning is amusing and his description of Boston's Logan airport as "looking like an airport failing an audition for the part of Airport" is characteristic of the ability of McKinty to use humour with the efficiency that a surgeon uses a scalpel, to not only get a laugh but to encapsulate an image in a few words.

McKinty's writing style is full of pathos. Lots of short sentences and dialogue help to speed through the plot and create a sense of urgency. One unfortunate side effect of this is that it does rather highlight a number of editorial slips and typos, which is a shame.

There's more than just a pacy plot here though. McKinty offers some pretty scathing views on the recent history of the Northern Irish economy and a more positive insight into "The Life" of the travellers than is normally found.

Perhaps towards the end one or two people give up rather too much information to Killian rather too easily, and at times McKinty seems to get trapped into an obsession with certain words, notably `halyards' or the noise they make which seem to irritate Killian at a number of random locations. He's also somewhat obsessed at telling us you can see Scotland from the Northern Irish coast (though whenever I've tried, all I saw was rain!). However, all is forgiven in the terrific cliff-hanging epilogue where Michael Forsythe finally makes an appearance.

It's a very enjoyable read and one that will doubtless have you seeking out more of this author's work. You won't be disappointed.
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on 8 March 2011
It's rare that I take the time to write a review anymore. This one was so good that I had no choice.

You can get the story from the blurb, so I won't bore you with too much repetitive detail. In sum, the book follows Killian as he is dispatched on a job to find a mother and her two daughters. He take the job and, of course, mayhem ensues.

This book has everything I look for in a novel. The pace is quick. There's lots of action, some real violence, and some cliffhanger tension. The characters are beautifully drawn. What really sets this book apart -- and miles above the typical thriller -- is the writing. McKinty writes so well, even lyrically at times, that it's incredibly easy to lose yourself in his work.

If you liked any of McKinty's previous work -- Fifty Grand, the Michael Forsythe trilogy, etc., you will absolutely love this novel. Absolutely top notch.
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on 27 March 2011
This is my first read of a mckinty novel and I'm now off to read everything I can get my hands on from this fantastic writer.

Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Is that strong enough for you?

Falling Glass has everything the reader of the modern noir novel could ask for: fascinating characters, quality prose, social commentary and a plot that keeps you guessing.

'Nuff said.
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on 9 April 2011
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.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 December 2012
Originally from Belfast, forty-year-old Killian has tried to remake his life, having emigrated to New York City after spending his first twenty-three years in The Life in Belfast. A tinker, or Pavee, sometimes even referred to as a gypsy, Killian was involved in crimes of many varieties, including drugs, extortion, and even murder there, but he managed to get out of that life, learn to read, go to college, study history and the arts, and live a more "normal" life. He still adheres to his aboriginal values, however.

Author Adrian McKinty, who grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland before emigrating to New York City and eventually Australia, endows both New York and Ireland with life as he creates a sometimes likeable, though often violent main character, a man unable to abide by the rules set by governments for society, a man who, instead, lives by his own inner code and a more vengeful sense of honor and justice. Unfortunately for Killian, he himself has been involved in a real estate investment in Belfast which has gone bad with the economic downturn, and he is now seriously in debt. When he is contacted in New York by an old "mate" from Belfast, now relocated to Boston, to collect a debt from someone in New Hampshire, he sees this as a chance to get out of his own debt. Afterward, he is off to Kowloon to meet with Richard Coulter, an extremely wealthy and influential Irishman who wants to hire him to find his ex-wife Rachel and daughters, ages five and seven, missing or hiding somewhere in Northern Ireland.

Coulter's need to find Rachel is greatly in excess of what one would normally expect in an ordinary custody dispute, though the author draws out the suspense for almost half the book, hinting early about a laptop but not revealing why it is so important. The plot, however, remains squarely on the level of Killian's job, the search for Rachel and the girls. As Killian searches, he is often tailed by a man from Volvograd named Markov, also called Starshyna, a violent man responsible for eight or nine gruesome murders of Mexicans, along the US/Mexico border. These nauseating murders are described, I suppose, to give a sense of just how debased and pathologically vicious Markov is, but they were so unsettling and so gratuitous that I came very close to giving up on this book. Markov has been hired for the "real job," after Killian finds Rachel and the girls, and he is willing to do anything to ensure that he himself can finish the job, finding the mysterious laptop which Killian knows nothing about.

The battle of wits between Killian and Markov keeps the action moving quickly. As points of view change between Killian, Rachel, and Markov, the author provides information about post cease-fire Ireland - "drugs, new houses, and McDonald's" - and further describes the social conditions. Ultimately, McKinty writes a dramatic and often shockingly dark thriller which casts new light on Northern Ireland in the aftermath of the years-long war against their counterparts to the south. The author's inclusion of an Epilogue brings all the loose ends together and provides insights into the universal themes which the author includes in the narrative, a narrative of the real world as seen in the Pavees' Dreaming.
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on 4 December 2016
Richard Coulter a very prosperous Irish businessman and owner of a budget airline who wants his first wife, a drug addict, located and the children she looks after returned to him. To locate her he hires, through an intermediary, a man called Killian. Killian makes a hard living collecting debts, dealing out threats and finding people who do not want to be found and he impresses Coulter with his suave confidence in describing his abilities and his general 'gift of the gab'. Killian wants to retire and do a less onerous career but he decides to take on this one last big job for a very tempting fee.

Coulter decides, later, that he needs his first wife silenced forever and he knows Killian is not a murderer, so he imports a Russian hitman to keep tabs on Killian and move in for the kill when the missing wife and children are located. There is a lot of violence in this book, which is not designed for the squeamish reader. There is also quite a lot of humour and romance which is something I very much enjoy in his writing.

The story moves on with a very fluid style until you just can't put it down until it finishes in a very unexpected way. The author who originated from Northern Ireland has written five previous books and I have had the pleasure of reading "The Bloomsday Dead" and his previous one "Fifty Grand" (which won the 2010 Spinetingler award). His style of writing is unlike any other British author that I've ever experienced, but this is to be expected as he has lived all over the world, and currently lives in Australia, but this book is focused on Northern Ireland. It is a magnificent, witty, almost noir style of entertainment that I was very reluctant too finish, but it had to end. The author has a great skill in creating a believable background with the insertion of some Tinker dialogue and showing with particular references to unusual locations that he has made a lot of detailed research in the writing of this book and this is to be appreciated. If you have not read any books by this gifted author you should sample this one as I'm sure you won't be disappointed and I look forward to discovering in his next book, which country will form the background
Complimentary copy provided by netgalley.com for honest review.
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on 27 March 2011
It's funny that the Good Reads summary of the book starts with Richard Coulter as a main figure, as there are several other characters much more central to the plot. Although Coulter's ex-wife and another heavy have their own compelling story arcs, it is really Killian's that drives the tale.

Crime fiction readers who do not know McKinty's work have been missing out, but this is an excellent place to start. Although Michael Forsythe, the much loved anti-hero of McKinty's Dead trilogy, is never far off stage, he is off stage for most of this book. Which is fine with me, as it leaves the arena free for a new kind of hero.

I'm not going to give away much of the plot on this one--suffice it to say that in typical McKinty fashion, the author puts all his characters through a lot of moves before the whole thing is over. Although not a puzzle novel in the traditional mystery sense, I always have the feeling that McKinty enjoys working out how both cat and mouse will make their next move in some realistic if not exactly common sense. Plot, like a fast moving river, will carry you swiftly and pleasurably along through this book.

But don't get too swept away. Beneath the narrative drive, there is a more reflective awareness, and Killian as a tinker, the Irish equivalent of a gypsy, is the perfect hero to embody the question that must haunt a great many of us right now. After the boom, the bust, and what now?

Killian, who has tried to make a better life for himself after years of being a petty and not so petty criminal, finds that his fortunes are collapsing right along with Ireland's--and the rest of the West. He thinks that going back and doing one last (?)job will bolster his sagging fortunes, but ultimately he is taken back to an even deeper source of his life, and one which frankly left me thinking a lot about my own goals and values.

One word of warning. I often find in McKinty's crime fiction one scene that is a bit too much for me, and that is the case here with an early one in Mexico. It's not gratuitous, and certainly, sadly, not unrealistic. But I would urge more squeamish readers like myself to not give up at such moments, as there is a good deal more to be had if you continue.
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on 12 May 2012
The real strength of an Adrian McKinty book is the quality of the writing. His prose and dialogue are excellent and the stories are well told. Falling Glass is a straight thriller, with a relatively uncomplicated plot lacking in major twists or turns, and a small group of core characters. Killian, Rachel, Coulter and Markov are all interesting characters, but for me they were lacking a little in depth. In contrast, the two young daughters were more `alive' and resonant. The start is excellent and the story is engaging, with some very good scenes in places, but I had difficulty believing both the first escape scene and the final confrontations. Whilst the story is entertaining, to this reader it was not quite as good as his other books I've read. I guess this is the problem if you set the bar so damn high. Still good stuff mind, just not quite flying at the same altitude as Dead I May Well Be or Fifty Grand. Overall, a straight up and down thriller, with some very nice prose, that's an entertaining read.
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