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In the Morning I'll Be Gone: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel (The Troubles Trilogy) Paperback – March 4, 2014
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*Starred Review* After an unfortunate bit of political tangling (I Hear the Sirens in the Street, 2013), Royal Ulster Constabulary detective Sean Duffy has been demoted, and his superiors are primed to cut him from the force. Duffy’s fortune shifts when an IRA breakout from the Maze prison destroys a relatively quiet period in Belfast’s urban war. Dermot McCann, an IRA leader, explosives expert, and Sean’s childhood friend, is among the escapees. So it’s only mildly surprising when MI5 approaches Sean, promising to restore his good favor in the RUC if he can find McCann. When Sean tracks down McCann’s ex-wife, he shakes loose the glimmer of a lead. Mary Fitzpatrick, McCann’s former mother-in-law, pledges to reveal McCann’s location if Sean can solve the locked-room mystery surrounding her youngest daughter’s death. She’s convinced that Lizzie was murdered, but the evidence leans heavily toward an accident and even Sean’s sharp wit and nimble reasoning can’t keep the case from stalling. This powerful conclusion to the Troubles trilogy is guaranteed to leave readers wondering what particular brand of authorial sadism motivated McKinty to abbreviate this full-sensory tour of 1980s Belfast with only a trilogy. The Troubles’ first two novels were exceptionally smart police procedurals, and McKinty applies the same expertise here, contrasting a classic locked-room puzzle with the gritty, violent Belfast backdrop. --Christine Tran
WINNER! 2014 Ned Kelly Award - Best Fiction
Praise for the Detective Sean Duffy novels:
“The best crime novel that I've read in a long time. . . . [McKinty is] a great writer. “
–NANCY PEARL, NPR, on The Cold Cold Ground
“A dark-humored shamus in the Phillip Marlowe tradition, [Sean Duffy] is . . . 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
“A razor-sharp thriller set against the backdrop of a country in chaos, told with style, courage, and dark-as-night wit. . . . An utterly brilliant novel with its own unique voice.”
–STUART NEVILLE, author of Ratlines, on The Cold Cold Ground
Praise for In the Morning I’ll Be Gone:
“This is the third in the series and, for me, the best, for it contains a locked room mystery at the heart of a drama about a major terrorist escape from the Maze prison, Belfast in 1983. Written in spare, razor-sharp prose, and leading up to a denouement that creeps up on you and then explodes like a terrorist bomb, it places McKinty firmly in the front rank of modern crime writers.”
–THE DAILY MAIL, London
“Driven by McKinty's brand of lyrical, hard-boiled prose, leavened by a fatalistic strain of the blackest humour, In the Morning I'll Be Gone is a hugely satisfying historical thriller.”
–THE IRISH TIMES
“Powerful. . . . The Troubles’ first two novels were exceptionally smart police procedurals, and McKinty applies the same expertise here, contrasting a classic locked-room puzzle with the gritty, violent Belfast backdrop.”
–BOOKLIST STARRED REVIEW
“A locked room mystery within a manhunt killer [is] a clever and gripping set-up that helps makes Duffy's third outing easily his best so far.”
–THE SUNDAY TIMES, London
Top customer reviews
In what we pray won't be the last of Northern Ireland detective Sean Duffy, author Adrian McKinty ends his Troubles trilogy with characters who will once again make you laugh out loud and a plot that will thrill you with a Poe-esque locked-room mystery within a mystery.
The trilogy takes place in the early 1980s as Catholic rebels continue to plot attacks against the British. Duffy is a rare animal in the bleak, bombed-out urban landscape of Belfast and its environs: a Catholic cop on a police force dominated by uptight Protestants.
As In the Morning I'll Be Gone opens, Duffy's demoted. If you feared the worst at the end of I Hear the Sirens in the Street (the second novel), you'll be happy to know our boy may be down, but he's not out.
Half the fun is discovering how he'll claw his way back on his terms. The other half comes from the sly one-liners of Duffy's nosy neighbors, sardonic suspects and dour co-workers. Their humor sneaks up on you even as Duffy confronts his past and struggles with the boredom and fear of ongoing sectarian violence.
McKinty's locked-room mystery becomes the perfect metaphor for a claustrophobic and murderous Northern Ireland, where Duffy feels trapped with no way out.
Readers, however, won't want to put the book down or the ride to end. McKinty has been able to do that rare thing: create characters that are like old friends and a plot that clicks along as fast as a gun is reloaded.
If you haven't had the joy of reading his trilogy, start with The Cold, Cold Ground. You're in for a real treat: Grab a whiskey and a McKinty and any day can be St. Paddy's Day.
Updated: Our author, Ladies and Gentlemen, has announced on his blog that Duffy won't let him go and will return for Book 4. Prayer answered.
Duffy gets lucky. It turns out that a barmaid and aspiring lawyer, who is close to McCann’s family, was found dead a few years ago in a bar that was locked up solid. The nature of her death is a mystery, but Duffy now has access to the family in this cold case investigation. It is interesting to watch Duffy reassess previous investigations and evidence, imagining different interpretations. In addition, there is the ever constant navigation of the Irish-British conflict – the constant checking for IEDs under his car.
This installment of the Duffy series is interesting, well-plotted, and well-paced –the best so far. There is a rousing conclusion that seems quite plausible given the situation in N. Ireland in the middle 80s.
Adding to his lyrical descriptions of Ireland, a land he left for good in real life to emigrate first to the United States and then to Australia, in this third and final book in the Detective Sean Duffy series, we have the classic "locked room" mysery. Someone dies in a room that is seemingy impregnable ("Murders in the Rue Morgue" comes to mind). How did it happen? Sean manages to make the solution of the mystery both difficult to predict and satisfying as the conclusion of the Sean Duffy series----if only loyal readers were satisfied to see "the end" writ large on such an entertaining and well-written collection.
Called "the best of the new Irish novelists" (or other such superlatives), McKinty has the rare gift of being able to mix plot with humor and, in this book, I was pleasantly surprised to have one brief sex scene, which was a first to the best of my recollection. I'll be following McKinty's path as he continues to turn out first-rate thrillers with great characters, wonderful detail and---most importantly---a sense of humor. (For a lengthier review, you can always check out my blog, WeeklyWilson.com, where I'll be holding forth on this 3rd-in-the-series finish in the near future.
You go, Guy! Great work!