Review: I Hear the Sirens in the Street, by Adrian McKinty

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Serpent’s Tail, 2013. Kindle edition. 2156 KB. eISBN: 978-1-84765-929-3. ASIN: B00AI0QTRK.

This is the second instalment in McKinty’s trilogy The Troubles, featuring Detective Sean Duffy.  The first, The Cold Cold Ground, was published last year; my review is HERE.  The third book in the series, In The Morning I’ll Be Gone,will be published in 2014. In I Hear the Sirens of the Street the action takes place in 1982 Belfast ‘the fourteenth year of the low-level civil war, emphatically known as The Troubles’, shortly after the events narrated in the first book. Detective Sergeant Sean Duffy has been promoted to Detective Inspector. Argentina has invaded and occupied the Falklands. The British Government has sent the army to retake the islands. And John DeLorean has built a plant for manufacturing sports cars in Northern Ireland with substantial financial support from the Government.

The story opens with the discovery of a man’s naked torso, headless and limbless, in a suitcase dumped in an abandoned factory. His age and a tattoo on the back of his body suggests that the victim could have been a U.S. veteran of the II WW. Forensic analysis has determined that the body was frozen for an undetermined period of time. The head and limbs were removed post mortem. No one can say how long it was frozen. But his death was caused ingesting an extremely rare poison, voluntarily or by force, that had never been used before in any murder case anywhere in the British Isles. Although DI Duffy and his colleagues are determined to pursue with the case, the U.S. authorities do not shown much interest and, soon, the investigation will be shelved for lack of evidence. But then Duffy receives a mysterious message and becomes determined to follow the investigation despite its consequences.

McKinty is able to bring to life the era in which the story unfolds and knows how to combine real facts with fiction, as he has shown in his previous book. What I enjoyed most in this novel were his dialogues, but the plot, though interesting at times, has failed to convince me. I do not understand Duffy’s stubbornness to continue investigating the case and the behaviour of some characters is far from clear. In a nutshell I found that the argument is a bit forced and, at times, it does not run smoothly. There is also a scene at the end more appropriate for a western novel, in my view. But overall I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the third instalment.

My rating: 4/5.

I Hear the Sirens in the Street has been reviewed by Rob at The View from the Blue House and Robin Leggett at The Bookbag, among others.

Serpent’s Tail


He oído sirenas en la calle, de Adrian McKinty

Esta es la segunda entrega de la trilogía de McKinty, The Troubles, protagonizada por el detective Sean Duffy. La primera, The Cold Cold Ground, fue publicada el año pasado, mi reseña la pueden ver AQUÍ. El tercer libro de la serie, In The Morning I’ll Be Gone, será publicado en el 2014. En I Hear the Sirens of the Street la acción se desarrolla en Belfast en el 1982, “el décimocuarto año de una guerra civil de baja intensidad, conocida enfáticamente como The Troubles“, poco después de los acontecimientos narrados en el primer libro. El sargento Sean Duffy ha sido ascendido a inspector. Argentina ha invadido y ocupado las Malvinas. El Gobierno británico ha enviado al ejército para recuperar las islas. Y John DeLorean ha construido una planta para la fabricación de coches deportivos en Irlanda del Norte con un importante apoyo financiero del Gobierno.

La trama comienza con el descubrimiento del torso desnudo de un hombre, sin cabeza y sin miembros, dentro de una maleta arrojada en una fábrica abandonada. Su edad y un tatuaje en la parte posterior del cuerpo sugiere que la víctima podría haber sido un veterano de EE.UU. de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El análisis forense ha determinado que el cuerpo estuvo congelado durante un período indeterminado de tiempo. La cabeza y las extremidades fueron arrancadas post mortem. No se puede decir cuánto tiempo estuvo congelado. Pero su muerte fue causada haber ingerido un veneno extremadamente raro, de manera voluntaria o forzosa, que nunca se había utilizado antes en ningún caso de asesinato en ningún lugar de las Islas Británicas. Aunque el inspector Duffy y sus compañeros están decididos a continuar con el caso, las autoridades estadounidenses no se muestran muy interesadas y, en breve, va a ser archivado por falta de pruebas. Pero entonces Duffy recibe un enigmático mensaje y decide continuar investigando sin importarle las consecuencias.

McKinty es capaz de dar vida a la época en la que se desarrolla la historia y sabe cómo combinar los hechos reales con la ficción, como lo ha demostrado en su libro anterior. Lo que más disfruté en esta novela fueron sus diálogos, pero la trama, aunque interesante a veces, no me ha logrado convencerme. No entiendo la obstinación de Duffy para continuar investigando el caso y el comportamiento de algunos personajes no está nada claro. En pocas palabras, me pareció que el argumento es un poco forzado y, a veces, no es flúido. También hay una escena al final más apropiada de una novela del oeste, en mi opinión. Pero en general, me gustó este libro y estoy esperando con interés la tercera entrega.

Mi valoración: 4/5.

Tengo entendido que su primera novela saldrá traducida en castellano en febrero de 2013 titulada Cold cold ground. En mi opinión es muy recomendable.

Film Review: Zero Dark Thirty (2012), directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Zero Dark Thirty is a 2012 American film directed and co-produced by Kathryn Bigelow with screenplay by Mark Boal and starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, and Édgar Ramírez. The title, as Bigelow has explained, ‘is a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade-long mission.’

Zero Dark Thirty is a fascinating film; the portrait of an obsession to hunt and kill OBL. It would have been pretty close to perfection with a shorter duration, and it lacks pace sometimes. But still it is superbly directed by Kathryn Bigelow and with a stunning interpretation by Jessica Chastain and the rest of the cast. In my view, it doesn’t judge, it just shows the facts. It may remain in one’s memory for quite some time and it makes you think. It was released in Spanish theatres the 4th of January. Begoña and I went to see Zero Dark Thirty last Thursday, 17 January. 

My rating: 8/10.

Zero Dark Thirty at Wikipedia.

Zero Dark Thirty Official Website

Bcnegra 2013

A new edition, the eight, of BCNegra crime fiction festival will take place in Barcelona this year from the 4th to the 9th of February. During the festival the Carvalho Award will be handed to Swedish crime writer Maj Sjöwall who, alongside his husband Per Wahlöö, penned The Story of a Crime: The Martin Beck series. Among the participants there is an interesting group of Nordic authors: Anne Holt, Antti Toumainen, Unni Lindell and Kristina Ohlsson. (

Teresa Solana

I received yesterday a belated birthday present: L’Hora Zen (Edicions 62, 2011) by Teresa Solana. The English translation, The Sound of One Hand Killing (Bitter Lemon Press) will be released next 7 February, 2013. The Spanish-Castilian version is not available yet. I hope my Catalan is good enough to fully appreciate it. Stay tuned.

On a separate issue I just realised that a short story “Still Life No. 41” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Teresa Solana (Dell Magazines), has been nominated for the 2013 Edgar® Awards. Congratulations Teresa.

2013-01-19 10.26.08

Jakob Arjouni in Memoriam

Jakob Arjouni, born in Frankfurt on the Main in 1964, author of the Kemal Kayankaya-mysteries (published in English by No Exit and Melville House) died in Berlin Wednesday, after a long battle against pancreatic cancer. (Booktrade).  He was only 48 and has published novels, short stories, theatre and radio plays. His first “Kayankaya” novel Happy Birthday, Turk! was made into a film in 1991, directed by Doris Dörrie. Jakob Arjouni received the “German Crime Fiction Prize” in 1992 for One Man, One Murder. His publication Idiots: Five Fairy Tales was on the bestseller list for months. His most recent publication was Cherryman Hunts Mister White. (Words Without Borders). See also Jakob Arjouni entry at Fantastic Fiction and New Books in German.