While The Cold Cold Ground is a crime novel it's also an attempt to capture a culture that will be completely unknown to readers who didn't grow up in Northern Ireland in the 70's and 80's. You might think you know about N. Ireland in that period but you don't. With on or two important exceptions the stuff you've read or seen has all been lies, half truths and propaganda. As far as I know this is the first book ever to look at extraordinary situation of a Catholic policeman in the RUC in the 1980's and to explore the unbelievable pressures he would have been under. No copper anywhere ever had as tough a job as that of policing Belfast in the spring and summer of 1981. (Detroit? The South Bronx? Picnics. At least once you were home you were safe.) And if you were a smart, sensitive and lippy peeler you just might have ended up like Sean Duffy in The Cold Cold Ground. If you haven't got the book yet there's nothing more that I can say to convince you, but here are representative views of some of the British and Irish press:
"If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland, The Cold Cold Ground is what he would have written." --Peter Millar, The Times
"Adrian McKinty is fast gaining a reputation as the finest of the new generation of Irish crime writers, and it's easy to see why on the evidence of this novel, the first in a projected trilogy of police procedurals." --Doug Johnstone, The Glasgow Herald
"He manages to catch the brooding atmosphere of the 1980s and to tell a ripping yarn at the same time. There will be many readers waiting for the next adventure of the dashing and intrepid Sergeant Duffy." --Maurice Hays, The Irish Independent
"What makes McKinty a cut above the rest is the quality of his prose. His driven, spat-out sentences are more accessible than James Ellroy's edge-of-reason staccato, and he can be lyric. The sound of a riot is "the distant yelling like that of men below decks in a torpedoed prison ship".
The names of David Peace and Ellroy are evoked too often in relation to young crime writers, but McKinty shares their method of using the past as a template for the present. The stories and textures may belong to a different period, but the power of technique and intent makes of them the here and now.
There's food for thought in McKinty's writing, but he is careful not to lose the force of his narrative in introspection. The Cold Cold Ground is a crime novel, fast-paced, intricate and genre to the core." --Eoin McNamee, The Guardian.
The Cold Cold Ground will be published in Australia next week. At the Fair Dinkum Crime Blog, Bernadette gave the book four stars, while Jon Page at Bite the Book said: "No exaggeration, this is one of the best crime novels I have ever read. McKinty’s last book, FALLING GLASS, was superb but THE COLD, COLD GROUND blew me utterly away. It is easily his best book to date."
So that's the pitch. I know many of you reading this haven't bought the book. Well if you like what I do on this blog I can only suggest that you'll really like what I do in Cold Cold. I'm a professional novelist and I save the good stuff for the books. That after all is how I make my living.
If you do get The Cold Cold Ground in print, e book or audio form I'd appreciate a review if you can spare the time.
Finally I'm heading out of town for the long weekend so I wont be able to respond to comments until Monday night, but I will read all comments when I get back.
Slainte. Go raibh míle maith agaibh as bhur gcúnamh.