Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Times Weighs In On The Cold Cold Ground

The London Times (still I think the paper of record in the UK) weighed in on The Cold Cold Ground on Saturday. The piece was written by the well read and perspicacious Peter Millar. The first line of the review is funny but its the last line that is the killer: 
Times, The (London, England) - Saturday, January 14, 2012

Author: Peter Millar
The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty 
Serpent's Tail, 352pp £12.99 £11.69 
When I was growing up in Northern Ireland there were two very rare species: Catholic policemen, and people who left as students but came back. In Detective Sergeant Sean Duffy, Ulster-born Adrian McKinty has given us a hero who is traumatised enough by "the troubles" to want to do something to stop the madness of mutual murder by two tribes who have more in common with each other than anyone else. 
But when he is called to deal with what looks like a routine murder of an IRA or UVF informer on a housing estate in Carrickfergus, he finds something else: a corpse that has been ritually sodomised and had the score from a Puccini opera inserted in his rectum. Is he on the trail of Northern Ireland's first serial killer with a sexual rather than a paramilitary motive? In a world wherein which "ordinary criminals" are scarce, the Catholic Church considers divorce and abortion crimes and MI5 muddies the waters, Duffy finds himself in a wilderness of mirrors, scared of his own reflection. 
McKinty himself left Northern Ireland and didn't come back, but perhaps that distance — he now lives in Australia — has helped him to preserve a razor sharp ear for the local dialogue and a feeling for the bleak time and place that was Ulster in the early Eighties, and pair them with a wry wicked wit. 
If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland, The Cold Cold Ground is what he would have written.