Adrian McKinty's latest Detective Sean Duffy novel is the sixth in the series set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Although I hadn't read any of the earlier ones, I never felt lost with the character and his history. There may be a few terms or abbreviations to look up, but don't hesitate to jump right in with Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly.
How did Sean Duffy reach the point where masked gunman are forcing him to dig his own grave? Duffy is with the Carrickfergus Criminal Investigation Department, close to Belfast. It's March 1988, and Sean is on a short vacation when he's called to the department's first murder in almost a year. But, it's the second time a drug dealer in Northern Ireland was shot by a crossbow. Sean and his small team would have believed the dead man crossed the paramilitary groups that control drugs, but it turns out both dealers had paid their bribes. When the dead man's wife disappears, the case gets stranger. Sean finds the investigation taking unusual directions. He worries about his girl and his daughter. While he checks under his car for bombs, he isn't prepared to end up held at gunpoint while he prepares to die. For fifteen years, "I've done my best to fight entropy and carve out a little local order in a sea of chaos. I have failed."
Sean Duffy and Northern Ireland during the Troubles are fascinating. Sean is an irreverent detective who has his own methods. He drinks too much, smokes some weed, is out of shape for the annual physical. He lives with a younger woman whose family is wealthy and doesn't approve of him. But, he loves Beth, and he adores their daughter. Despite the fact that he's lippy, or maybe because of that, he works with two loyal officers. Sean is street smart, with that black humor common to cops. He's also well-educated, with a love of classical music, poetry and literature. And, he's a firm believer in Saint Michael, the patron saint of policemen. All he really wants is a safe place to live and work. Is that too much to ask?
The police in Northern Ireland had bombings and murders, the IRA, drugs, religion, and politics to deal with during this time period. All of that plays a part in McKinty's latest Sean Duffy novel. Follow along carefully; do a little research. Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly is a complex, intriguing mystery featuring a detective who is just as complex and intriguing.
Adrian McKinty's website is www.adrianmckinty.com
Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty. Seventh Street Books. 2017. ISBN 9781633882591 (paperback), 320p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review it for a journal.