Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Adrian McKinty's Gun Street Girl

This is the fourth novel in McKinty's Sean Duffy series, and fans will be delighted. It definitely delivers.

In fact it's probably the best. The central crime that Duffy's team attempts to solve is more dramatic, its tentacles spreading far more widely into the social and political spheres that make up the conflict-ridden reality of Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

And Inspector Duffy himself is rather more fleshed out. His usual intelligence and courage are there, but special attention this time is given to his rather dissolute, louche and hopelessly disorganised personal life. (There's also more sex in this one - never a bad thing!)

But his career in the police force is going nowhere. On so many levels the man is a mess, and he needs to make some big decisions. Dulling his restlessness in ever larger gulps of single malt and sniffs of cocaine at all hours of the day and night, rarely sleeping, at least in anything resembling a bed, and never eating much other than toast and chips is not cutting it. He's even worse than Rebus.

An opportunity presents itself to transfer to Intelligence at MI5, but that dissolves in a particular tragedy at the end. 

McKinty has a nice knack of building fascinating sub-plots into his tales, and this novel is no exception. Duffy's given responsibility for mentoring a newly-minted, young detective constable, Lawson, who turns out to be an interesting and likable character. Duffy's natural leadership style is one of honesty and confrontation, and his complete inability to tolerate 'bullshit' is absolutely refreshing.

All the swagger and vitality of McKinty's prose is here in spades, and it's glorious as usual:

We walked back to Chief Inspector Kennedy.
'Well', he said. 'Can we finally get fucking going?'
'If by going, you mean get going back to that ruinous cesspit of incompetence and inadequacy known as Larne RUC, then yes, you can get going, Kennedy, and if you want I'll come down and give you boys a seminar on how to read a fucking map because clearly you morons didn't twig that this property is a good two hundred yards on our side of the jurisdiction line'.
Kennedy's blimpish purple face began to swell up like Violet Beauregarde's.
'Ive got something to say to you Inspector...' he spluttered.
'Well, go ahead and say, then, you big dozy cunt,' I told him.

And constantly peppered with things like this:

Eventually the clock got its sorry arse round to five o'clock.

Any new instalment of Duffy is a must-read. This one is no exception.  

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