Monday, March 7, 2016

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

Today is the American launch of Rain Dogs, and if by some good fortune you happen to be in Manhattan this evening, you can actually go to a reading by the author at the Kinokuniya Bookstore. Details HERE.Yes, it's a little weird that a Northern Irish crime writer is doing a reading at a Japanese bookstore, but weird in a cool way. 

I say American launch because the British version of Rain Dogs actually came out a couple of months ago, and like so many of his fans, I couldn't be bothered to wait for the U.S. edition, so read it awhile ago. I don't see any huge harm in starting with this book, but the fact is that this is a series, and if possible, you should start with The Cold, Cold Ground and work your way forward. Although the books are dense with all sorts of allusions, half of which go right over my head, they are actually very fast reads, so it won't take you long. 

The series follows the adventures of Sean Duffy, Catholic police detective on a largely Protestant Northern Irish police force, through the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. Rain Dogs brings us up to 1987. I'll save talking about the opening till last, but Duffy's personal life is yet again on the downspin, as Beth, the girl who's recently moved in with him, is very decisively moving out. Duffy, who can be morose at the best of times, isn't taking this too well. Although I won't say that he doesn't have time to worry about that, because, being Duffy, he manages to find some, most of it is quickly taken up with two cases--an irritating theft in a local hotel, which unfortunately involves some badly needed international investors, and a much more consequential death at Carrickfergus Castle (which may be more familiar to you in its alternate incarnation in the television production of The Game of Thrones). And it isn't long before the maddening possibility emerges that this may be a locked room mystery murder.

Maddening, because Duffy has already solved another locked room mystery during a previous case in In the Morning I'll Be Gone. And what are the odds that he'd run across another in his lifetime? Luckily for him, his junior partner, Alex Lawson (who McKinty completists will already know from the standalone Hidden River) has the math on that.

I happen to have read the opening of this book several times, because McKinty put up the beginning chapter and then chapters on his blog, and of course, I then started over when I read the book. In it Duffy once again manages to find himself in the presence of a celebrity of that time. In an alternate universe, it might actually have happened...

Here is McKinty reading that opening scene from the first chapter:


  1. MANY thanks for the review, Seana, it is much appreciated. If it werent for bloggers like thee and, er, me, this series wd have died a death after the first book because it got zero newspaper reviews or any other press in the US for reasons I still can't quite fathom.

    I'm glad you liked this one. I think despite the dark subject matter this is perhaps the lightest in tone of the books, mostly because Duffy is more comfortable in his skin, comfortable with his neighbours and - some - of his colleagues.

    Anyway it was fun for me at least to traipse round the old haunts in this fictional realm.

  2. Thanks for dropping by. I meant to link to this with an Amazon review but for some reason couldn't get in yet.

    I'm glad you finally made use of that castle.

    And of course, this one has a very interesting ending, which is all I'll say about it.