Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Cold Cold Ground (Detective Sean Duffy…

The Cold Cold Ground (Detective Sean Duffy 1) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Adrian McKinty

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1861863,528 (3.94)23
Title:The Cold Cold Ground (Detective Sean Duffy 1)
Authors:Adrian McKinty
Info:Serpent's Tail (2012), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read in 2012, Ireland

Work details

The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (2012)

Recently added bySmiler69, private library, danigoose1, MrAndrew, scipio, TheRavenking, pitjrw, AnnieMod, AntT



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 23 mentions

English (16)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Okay... I got this series mixed up with Stuart Neville's... at first I thought it might have been only because they are both set in Ireland but... I think the main characters are similar as well, and the books have a noir tone to them.

That being said, this is an interesting and engaging series, even though it is a bit thick with Irish politics and the "Troubles" which are foreign to someone of my age and nationality. I am vaguely aware of the circumstances of Ireland in the 80s, but never lived them, so the stage set for this story was not at all familiar to me.

So, while some reviewers had a little rant about the veracity of some of the author's settings, I didn't read this book for historical accuracy and am okay not knowing any better. And I have no idea why some readers found the author's writing style or language choices to be pretentious... maybe they were reading it as a literary exploration of Ireland during the 80s and saw things in it that weren't really there?

Fortunately, I read it hoping it was a noir detective story... and that's exactly what it is. It is dark and violent and a bit confusing as to what motivated people to behave the way they did, but that's what makes it worth reading - to figure it out. I bought the rest of the series as soon as I finished this one. ( )
1 vote crazybatcow | Mar 18, 2015 |
Adrian McKinty is a man who has drunk of the Pierian spring, and wants us to know it. But, as he might put it, doubtless explicitly mentioning Alexander Pope on the way, this writing well exemplifies that poet's adage that a little learning is a dangerous thing, for what learning there is here is worn, shall we say, rather heavily. I wonder are any of his readers as impressed as McKinty is by his range of reference, from ancient Greek mythology - and even orthography!! - via Cicero to Puccini and the Ramones? After all, who could fail to admire a Catholic 'peeler' in the RUC who refers to the works of Mozart by K number? But then again, who could believe in such a man?

If he sticks with it, the reader does get past the clumsy explications for our stateside friends, the inconsistent Americanisms in diction, the self-consciously aggressive, macho prose, the obligatory, unconvincing sex scene, the unnecessarily heavy-handed dollops of domestic detail, tying the events so very precisely to time and place, the equally unnecessary, and thus all the more irritating literary licence (or perhaps just mistakes) with similar reference to those same times and places; maybe McKinty doesn't remember Belfast in 1981 as well as he thinks he does.

And this is the problem: if McKinty himself could just get out of the way, this might make quite a good thriller - the last third or quarter really does get page-turningly unputdownable, although the denouement has rather the desperate and unsatisfying feel of the 'and then I woke up; it had all been a dream!' variety.

And none of this is helped by the frankly appalling copy-editing: someone at Serpent's Tale should be kneecapped.

So: Must try harder, Mr McKinty - or maybe not so hard? ( )
1 vote jtck121166 | Jan 3, 2015 |
Brilliantly evocative of Northern Ireland and Belfast in the troubled early 1980s. Sean Duffy is a Catholic sergeant in the largely Protestant RUC, difficult enough on its own without having an inquisitive self-destruct streak. In this first story of a series Sean investigates what appears to be a homosexual killing but is unconvinced that there are deeper, sectarian motives at play. Despite the dark setting the story is enlivened by strongly drawn characters and witty dialogue written by someone with direct knowledge of the authentic places and times depicted. I particularly enjoyed an imagined exchange between Sean Duffy and Gerry Adams in the Maze prison. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote edwardsgt | Dec 22, 2014 |
A hard-boiled mystery from Northern Ireland that takes place during the "troubles". This audio version was ruined by a very poor narrator, Gerard Doyle. He may be of Irish origins, but tried so very hard to do a Belfast accent that it ended up monotone. The tough cop sounded feminine. Ridiculous analogies such as "Belfast was spread out before me like a great slab of meat in a butcher's yard" stood out with magnified importance. I may read more by the author but for now I'm done with McKinty. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Dec 8, 2014 |
This is Belfast in 1981 when the prisoners on hunger strike in The Maze fuelled nightly sectarian clashes between the IRA, UVF & police. Imagine living in a place where plumes of black smoke, burning buses, army check points & military helicopters are parts of daily life. And if you're a cop, our day also includes checking under your car each morning for a bomb.
Especially if you're Catholic like DS Sean Duffy. He lives among the prods in Carrickfergus & taking him out would be a coup for either side. He's smart, well educated & witty and mostly accepted by the old guard at the station. He's only been there a few weeks & is about to be tested.
Amid the general chaos, they catch an odd murder case. A UVF man is found shot in a burned out car with his hand cut off. Usually that indicates the victim was an informer, the lowest of the low but there are also decidedly homosexual undertones to his death.
The same night, a young woman thought to have run away months earlier is found hanging in the woods. Her ex-husband is one of the hunger strikers & it looks like suicide. When a second gay man is found dead, Sean is certain they have a psycho serial killer on their hands & it's almost a relief to investigate something not related to The Troubles.
With colleagues Matty & Crabbie, Sean begins to dig into the lives of all 3 people. It's not easy. The prod & catholic rebels are more interested in bombs & riots as they fight Thatcher's army. And every time one of the strikers dies, all hell breaks loose as another martyr is born.
I was struck by a couple of things as soon as I began reading. One is the atmosphere. You immediately feel the claustrophobic tension & fear of what is essentially a police state. The prose is evocative & flows with realistic descriptions of the city & its' colourful residents. These are resilient people who are just trying to survive while friends & family are killed and the city burns around them.
I also really enjoyed the dialogue. It's sharp, witty & suitable for the time. Colloquial terms are used throughout but easy to understand in context. Sean in particular has many of the best lines from laugh out loud personal observations to dryly sarcastic comments to colleagues. The humour provides the perfect foil to the unrelenting drama surrounding the investigations & the inclusions of real life characters such as Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley & Mrs. Thatcher add a genuine sense of place.
Two minor quibbles. First, Sean is apparently a chick magnet which is understandable due to his personality but I thought his relationship with a lovely pathologist would have been enough. A brief fling with a colleague was unnecessary (perhaps being in constant danger gives people an excuse to act out their frisky fantasies).
Second, the investigation of the murders was convoluted enough with all the secrets, hidden agendas & alliances but toward the end, all of a sudden an outside intelligences agency is added to the mix. It was superfluous to the plot & is used by the author as a deus ex machina. Sean's reaction & subsequent actions seemed out of character & led to a rather abrupt ending that telegraphs big changes to come in the next instalment.
Still, I really enjoyed this due to the setting & well developed characters. it's the first of a trilogy & I look forward to the next two. ( )
1 vote RowingRabbit | Sep 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Ahora los disturbios habían adquirido su propia belleza particular.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

In a 1981 Northern Ireland rife with sectarian violence, Catholic detective Sean Duffy investigates a serial killer who is targeting gay men--a series of murders that may have political implications as well.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
19 wanted5 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.94)
2 2
2.5 1
3 15
3.5 4
4 27
4.5 5
5 16


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,571,249 books! | Top bar: Always visible