Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Sydney Morning Herald reviews GSG

First of all I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has reviewed me on amazon, good reads, audible etc. As usual my reviews from ordinary readers have been kind, insightful and well written...And speaking of well written:
The well read, learned and extremely wise Sue Turnbull reviewed GSG for Fairfax Media last Saturday (The SMH, The Melbourne
Age & The Brisbane Times). I especially like it when a reviewer gets the black humour in the Duffy series. Too many books, articles and films about Ireland during the Troubles are utterly humourless but that's not the way I remember it at all....People used a very dour black Belfast humour as a coping mechanism and I've always tried to put that in the books. Anyway Ms Turnbull's review below:

Crime Fiction
Serpent's Tail, $29.99

Inspector Sean Duffy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary is back on duty in Carrickfergus. It's 1985, Thatcher, Reagan and Gorbachev are in charge and the state of the current pop charts is causing Duffy, with his taste for American soul music and Haydn, considerable grief. Music means a lot to Duffy as it has to many other fictional detectives before him. Gun Street Girl should come with a soundtrack. 

Also causing Duffy grief is the debacle of a joint forces operation unravelling in the middle of the night on a beach near Derry. Officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Gardai, the FBI, MI5 and Interpol are beating time in the sand dunes awaiting the arrival of a boatload of American gun-runners: "The policeman wait. The spooks wait. The men on the boat wait. All of us tumbling into the future together." McKinty has never been more poetic than he is here, in this the fourth outing for the intelligent but self-sabotaging Duffy.

After the calamity of the gun-runners, there's a call from his new boss, who needs help dealing with a celebrity cocaine crisis in an upmarket brothel. With half the confiscated cocaine stashed in his garden shed for personal consumption, a vodka gimlet in hand, and Sam "The Man" Cooke on the stereo, Duffy is not expecting call number three.

This time it's a territorial dispute over who should handle the case of a wealthy couple murdered in their faux castle on the cliffs. Suspicion immediately falls on the missing 22-year-old son. Duffy thinks it looks like a professional hit, but he wants his detective sergeant to handle the case. Duffy just wants his bed.

McKinty's observation of people and place is astute and very funny. His prose, at times telegraphic, at times lyrical, demands to be read out loud, preferably in a Carrickfergus accent. As McKinty has revealed, Duffy lives on the very council estate where he himself once lived: on a street where a neighbour did indeed walk his toothless lioness at night.

McKinty draws on vivid childhood memories, real historical events (remember Oliver North?), and the fictional gem that is Sean Duffy to produce a story about crime that is both funny and just a bit tragic. As Duffy wryly observes: "Out here, on the edge of the dying British Empire, farce is the only mode of narrative discourse that makes any sense at all."Gun Street Girl revels in the farce that was the past to deliver a stellar crime novel for the present. 

Simply outstanding. 

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