*Starred Review* Irish novelist McKinty returns to his roots with the first book of the Troubles Trilogy, set in his hometown during the time he grew up. At the height of conflict between the Catholic IRA and Protestant paramilitary factions in 1981, Sean Duffy, a Catholic police sergeant in the Protestant town of Carrickfergus, near Belfast, gets an unusual case. Two gay men have been murdered, their right hands severed (the classic modus for killing an informant) and switched between the two bodies. Duffy initially suspects a serial killer, but when no more gay men are targeted, he comes to believe that the second killing was done simply to cover up the first, in which the head of the IRA’s feared internal security force was the victim. Even after the case is reassigned, Duffy defies orders and keeps digging, coming up against corruption and collusion. Everything in this novel hits all the right notes, from its brilliant evocation of time and place to razor-sharp dialogue to detailed police procedures. McKinty, author of the Forsythe and Lighthouse Trilogies, has another expertly crafted crime trilogy going here, and readers will want to see what he does in the concluding two books. --Michele Leber
Winner of the 2013 Spinetingler Award for best crime novel!
"Everything in this novel hits all the right notes, from its brilliant evocation of time and place to razor-sharp dialogue to detailed police procedures. McKinty... has another expertly crafted crime trilogy going here, and readers will want to see what he [does] in the next two."
--Booklist Starred Review
"[T]he deft mix of noirish melancholy with express-train pacing and blockbuster-ready action enticingly sets the stage for Duffy's future adventures."
"For fans of Stuart Neville's crime novels, a new and harrowing Irish trilogy is underway. At turns violent and labyrinthine, McKinty's fine police procedural is also the ultimate page-turner. I cannot wait for Book Two!"
"McKinty kicks off a trilogy with this 1981 Belfast-set tale that provides a fascinating look at everyday life in Northern Ireland during 'the Troubles.' The protagonist is clever and funny, the interaction of the police and various factions is eye-opening and the mystery is intriguing, with an unexpected twist at the end."
--RT Book Reviews, Four Stars (Compelling Page-turner)
"If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland, The Cold Cold Ground is what he would have written."
--Times of London
"The rage, dissent and blind self-interest of 'the Troubles' are the perfect backdrop for this brutal noir masterpiece.... For all of its brutality, the book is subtle and nuanced.... Duffy [is] the keen observer, the perfect protagonist. A righteous man who unwillingly takes his pursuit of justice into the realm of moral ambiguity."
"McKinty belongs to a crew of much-praised Irish crime novelists that includes John Connolly, Declan Burke and Ken Bruen."
"[A] superb book. In addition to developing likable and complex characters, McKinty does an exceptional job of depicting Northern Ireland in 1981, interweaving real historical events (e.g., the hunger strike and death of Bobby Sands) into the narrative.... McKinty's evocation of the time is perfect; although it is a dark and troubling place, I can't wait to return to the scene once again."
--Reviewing the Evidence