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I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian…

I Hear the Sirens in the Street (2013)

by Adrian McKinty

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2052280,988 (4.1)24
  1. 00
    The Twelve by Stuart Neville (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Same setting, same dark tone, same violence (and if you get it in audiobook, same narrator). McKinty's is a bit more "true to life" and Neville's a bit more, err, "extreme", but otherwise, very similar novels.

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Having barely survived his troubles with The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Sean Duffy could not know that the torso found in an old suitcase is just the beginning of a whole new set of troubles.

This is the second book in the series and in it we can see more of Duffy’s character emerging. Duffy has a very dry sense of humour and it often comes out when it perhaps shouldn’t especially when conversing with superiors.

Duffy despairs about the music of the eighties, the recurring theme is a valiant attempt to find an appropriate sound track to accompany his trials and tribulations.

"I made a vodka gimlet in a pint glass, stuck on a random tin of soup and with infinitely more care picked out a selection of records that would get me through the evening: “Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division, “Bryter Layter” by Nick Drake and Neil Young’s “After The Goldrush”. Yeah, I was in that kind of mood."

A tangential lead in the mystery torso case has Duffy caught up in the botched investigation of a local Ulster Defence Regiment officer, assassinated by the IRA. Duffy is attracted to the young widow and the cases become intrinsically intertwined.

The book is built around the The Troubles in Northern Ireland and they become a character in their own right forming a basis for much of what motivates every character. Duffy’s ritual every morning is to kneel and check under the car for any mercury bombs that may have been placed there overnight.

“Army helicopters flew low over the lough, sirens wailed in County Down, a distant thump-thump was the sound of mortars or explosions. The city was under a shroud of chimney smoke and the cinematographer, as always, was shooting it in 8mm black and white. This was Belfast in the fourteenth year of the low-level civil war euphemistically known as The Troubles.”

“We stood there looking at north Belfast three miles away over the water. The sky a kind of septic brown, the buildings rain-smudged rectangles on the grim horizon. Belfast was not beautiful. It had been built on mudflats and without rock foundations nothing soared. Its architecture had been Victorian red-brick utilitarian and sixties brutalism before both of those tropes had crashed headlong into the Troubles. A thousand car bombs later and what was left was surrounded by concrete walls, barbed wire and a steel security fence to keep the bombers out.

Here in the north Belfast suburbs we only got sporadic terrorist attacks, but economic degradation and war had frozen the architecture in outmoded utilitarian schools whose chief purpose seemed to be the disheartening of the human soul. Optimistic colonial officials were always planting trees and sponsoring graffiti clearance schemes but the trees never lasted long and it was the brave man who dared clean paramilitary graffiti off his own house never mind in communal areas of the town.”

McKinty brings Northern Ireland alive and all his characters, main and minor, ring true. The plot is full of twists and turns. Highly recommended. ( )
  Robert3167 | Apr 25, 2018 |
Also, in the second book of the Sean Duffy series, the hero steps from one fat nap into the other. He is repeatedly violated, but his stubbornness to solve a case, no bans on high up can stop. Everything begins with a torso, which is found in a suitcase. Soon it is clear who the murdered man was. This is the beginning of the run of the runner, since various secret services of England and the USA are involved. Duffy's ways lead to a remote place in Northern Ireland, where no one wants to have anything to do with the police. There he encounters a young widow who does not necessarily support him. In spite of all the prohibitions of his superiors, he is determined further and is exposed to great dangers, but he gets closer and closer to the solution.
Also this book was very exciting to read. Duffy and his team have grown to me. ( )
  Ameise1 | Sep 26, 2017 |
This book is the second in the Sean Duffy series. Detective Inspector Sean Duffy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) discovers a human torso in a suitcase. He and his team then try to work out who the body is, who killed him, and where. After a slow start, the action heats up, then slows again as they run out of leads and they are told to leave the case alone. But Duffy is determined to solve the case, resulting in conflicts all around. I found that I couldn't put the book down once I'd got past halfway. Apart from a few minor plot errors, I thought this was a great read, and it made me want to find out what happened to Duffy after this story. I give it 4 stars out of 5. I might have been tempted to mark it higher if not for the errors.


At the start of chapter 14, Duffy drives his BMW to Dougherty's house. But in the last para of the chapter, he drives a Land Rover onto the ferry. And in chapter 15, he is back in the BMW.

At the end of chapter 26, Duffy booked a flight to Boston from Heathrow. But at the beginning of chapter 28, he flies out of Shannon via Dublin.

In chapter 29, a doctor tells Duffy he has three cracked ribs. But two paras later, a consular official says he has nothing broken. ( )
  Bruce_McNair | Jul 24, 2017 |

This my second Adrian McKinty book and the guy definitely has a way with words and an ear for dialogue.

One of the joys of reading is discovering insights," social commentary or sometimes comments on the human condition that hum in your mind, and linger with you long after the main plot of the book is forgotten. This is one of those books that stays with you after having finished it.

The usual debate between realism and naturalism is quite obvious here, but realism is at its center. I don't understand someone, who wants to read a book that's too real. That would be life, and we read, in part, as an escape from the mundane. What makes a writer like McKinty special is his ability to place realistic characters--people we feel like we know--into extraordinary situations and see how they react and are affected by them.

One of the best thing about "I Hear Sirens in the Street" is its depth. It rises above the dualities to show the greater complicity, and to show that the psychopaths on one side are pretty much like the psychopaths on the other side.

I like comfort reads too, but the best noir being written now will have us look into the abyss and the book will then become a mirror as the abyss looks back.

If I wanted to read formulaic plots, I'd go to the supermarket, drugstore or airport book shelves or (alas) to the library's best-seller section." ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
A solid second entry in this mystery series set in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. Sean Duffy brings a dark humor to his role of Catholic cop in a mostly Protestant police force. ( )
  Gingermama | Aug 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
McKinty varies radically from other Irish crime novelists in one significant stylistic department. The difference is mostly a matter of humour. McKinty’s central figure, Detective Inspector Sean Duffy, offers the quota of laughs we’ve been made accustomed to in Ireland’s crime literature, but unlike the rest of the country’s sleuths, there’s nothing mordant about the Duffy brand of funny stuff. The DI might even be described as optimistic. This is remarkable considering that events in the highly readable new book take place in 1982 when the Troubles meant that explosions, assassinations and spilled blood were daily routines.

Duffy is from the north, a cop working out of a station in a town next door to Belfast. Since he’s also a Catholic, he gets it from all sides, under siege from both the IRA and the Ulster Defence Regiment. His sense of irony helps him through most crises. Cool and nervy, Duffy drinks his vodka gimlets, watches The Rockford Files on television, and goes about his investigating business with a style that’s mostly unflappable.

Duffy’s latest case begins with the discovery of the dismembered body of an American tourist. The coppers, led by Duffy, chase the clues on a trail that leads our man into dangerous places in Ireland’s political and industrial worlds. If it begins to look as if the country’s unhinged violence is at last going to crush Duffy, we readers remain certain his valour and wit will guarantee survival in the end
added by VivienneR | editToronto Star, Jack Batten (Jun 13, 2013)
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MARTY McFLY: Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine . . . out of a DeLorean?

DR. EMMET BROWN: The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?

— Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale, Back to the Future (1985)
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The abandoned factory was a movie trailer from an entropic future when all the world would look li this.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Krimi-Kritik: “Die Sirenen von Belfast” von ADRIAN MCKINTY
Von Marcus Müntefering
Wer gelegentlich den lohnenswerten Blog von Adrian McKinty liest, der weiß: Der meinungsstarke Mann mag es nicht, wenn die Dinge sich zu oft wiederholen. Seien es Krimibuchreihen oder TV-Serien. Vielleicht deshalb bevorzugt er die Form der Trilogie. In drei Bänden kann man tatsächlich in der Regel alles erzählen, was es über eine Figur zu erzählen gibt (auch wenn Proust mir hier wohl widersprechen würde).
Nach der herrlich wüsten „Dead“-Trilogie um den Aufstieg des Gangsters (wider Willen?) Michael Forsythe, geht er es mit seinem aktuellen Dreierschlag etwas ruhiger an.

Die Geschichten spielen in den frühen Achtzigern in Nordirland, Held ist Sean Duffy, ein nordirischer Polizist, und per Definition ein Außenseiter: Katholik unter Protestanten, Kiffer, mit Sinn für Literatur, Musik und Kleidung ausgestattet. Wer die Serie „Life on Mars“ kennt (das britische Original ist unbedingt zu empfehlen), in der ein Cop aus heutiger Zeit nach einem Unfall in den Achtzigern strandet, weiß, dass Bildung und Stil damals bei der Polizei nicht besonders gefragt waren.

Doch Duffy ist ein guter Cop (wenn auch ziemlich eigensinnig und nicht absolut gesetzestreu) und somit bei seinen Kollegen wohlgelitten. Am Ende des ersten Bandes „Der katholische Bulle“ wurde er sogar mit einem Orden geehrt. In „Die Sirenen von Belfast“ weiß Duffy bis zum Showdown eigentlich nicht, wo die Reise hingeht: In einem Koffer wird der Torso eines Amerikaners gefunden, die Spur führt auf einen heruntergekommenen Bauernhof. Dort lebt die junge und attraktive Witwe eines Soldaten, der hier angeblich von der IRA erschossen wurde. Duffy kommt das alles nicht ganz koscher vor, er ermittelt gegen die Witwe – kann sich allerdings ihren weiblichen Reizen nicht entziehen. Eine zweite Spur führt zu dem amerikanischen Autounternehmer John DeLorean, der in Dunmurry einen nach ihm benannten Sportwagen (der Flügeltürflitzer aus „Zurück in die Zukunft!) produzieren lässt, dabei aber unter genauer Beobachtung von FBI und IRA steht.

Es macht Spaß, gemeinsam mit Duffy lange im Dunkeln zu tappen und dabei viele, auch popkulturelle Umwege zu gehen. Im Radio läuft bedeutungsschwanger „A Town Called Malice“ (Die boshafte Stadt) von The Jam und viel Blondie, McKinty nimmt sich viel Zeit, Duffy ins Pub zu schicken oder abends zu Hause bei einem Pint (!) Gimlet (kleine Chandler-Reminiszenz) über Gott und die Welt und die Situation in Nordirland zu sinnieren. McKinty geht es nicht um Nostalgieproduktion, er will die Zeit, wie sie war, wieder erstehen lassen. Und so bilden der beginnende Falkland-Krieg und immer neue Anschläge der IRA (aber auch der Tod von Philip K. Dick) nicht etwa den Hintergrund für einen spannenden Kriminalfall. Eher ist es andersherum: McKinty nutzt die Form des Kriminalromans, um eine faszinierende, aber auch erschreckende Zeit zu evozieren.

Und das klingt dann so:
„Eine kleine Menschenmenge vor der Fabrik in Dunmurry fordert: ,Wir wollen Jobs! Wir wollen Jobs!’, immer und immer wieder, für die Kameras; doch am Ende werden auch sie verscheucht von dem bitterkalten Regen einer breiten Sturmfront, die auf ihrem unaufhaltsamen Weg nach Osten in Stocken geraten ist und nun für lange, lange Zeit über Belfast hängen wird.“

Auch wenn McKinty sicherlich kein radikaler Stilist ist wie David Peace, dessen Roman „GB 84“ (hier meine Rezension bei Spiegel Online) die Verfehlungen und Verwerfungen der Achtzigerjahre schmerzhaft intensiv spürbar machte: „Die Sirenen von Belfast“ gehört zu den interessantesten Krimi-Neuheiten dieses Jahres. Auf Englisch ist übrigens beinahe zeitgleich der Abschluss der Trilogie erschienen, mit dem schönen, erneut bei Tom Waits entlehnten Titel „In the Morning I’ll be gone“.

Adrian McKinty
Die Sirenen von Belfast
387 Seiten
19,95 Euro
Gewohnt gut übersetzt von Peter Torberg
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Detective Sean Duffy investigates the death of an American military veteran in 1982 Ireland and quickly finds himself combatting his romantic instincts, professional misconduct, and powerful men.

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