Review: Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, 2017 (Sean Duffy #6) by Adrian McKinty


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Serpent’s Tail, 2017 Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 1244 KB. Print Length: 353 pages. eISBN: 978 1 78283 279 9. ASIN: B01KAHXTRS.

9781781256923Synopsis: Belfast 1988: a man has been shot in the back with an arrow. It ain’t Injuns and it isn’t Robin Hood. But uncovering exactly who has done it will take Detective Inspector Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on the high bog where three masked gunmen will force Duffy to dig his own grave. Hunted by forces unknown, threatened by Internal Affairs and with his relationship on the rocks, Duffy will need all his wits to get out of this investigation in one piece.

My take: After an introduction where the reader will be left concerned about Sean Duffy’s slim chances of escaping alive, the story itself begins some days before. At the time, Sean and his girlfriend Beth are visiting Sean’s parents in their cottage near Glencolumblike in Donegal, together with their baby daughter Emma. Sean has agreed to his father’s request to accompany him in a pilgrimage to Lough Derg, even though, truth be told, neither of them both wants to go. Fortunately for Sean, a phone call from Carrickfergus provides him with the perfect excuse to get back to work ahead of schedule. Someone has killed a drug dealer. In itself this is nothing far from extraordinary, except for the fact that he was shot in the back with an arrow. Moreover this has been the second drug dealer who was shot in the back with an arrow in many a days. In both cases the firing was made by a crossbow, though the first man has managed to come out alive of this. As the story unfolds, Duffy will have to tackle countless problems. He’ll be closely investigated by Internal Affairs, his girlfriend wants to take a break to reflect on their relationship, his physical form is in bad shape and he’s unable to pass the fitness test but, most serious of all, his own life is going to run a serious danger and he will go to great lengths to solve a case that, at first, is of no interest to anyone. 

As a general rule McKinty produces wonderfully written stories wherein historical facts and fiction are very well mix and thus provides an overall picture of the times in which the action takes place. Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly is an excellent addition to an already exceptional series. The story can easily be read as a standalone, but it would be better to start the series from the beginning since this book may have possible spoilers from the previous ones. Besides all the books in the series are well worth reading, The action takes place in 1988, during the period referred to as ‘The Troubles’, a conflict that lasted over three decades and that is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday “Belfast” Agreement of 1998. The story has references to real events and I still have memories alive of some terrible facts recounted in this story, like for example:  Corporals Wood and Howes killed by IRA 1988. But, besides being an excellent documentary of historical events, Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly has an extremely interesting and perfectly crafted plot. Moreover the characters are very well-developed. The book title is taken from a song by Tom Waits entitled Cold Water. In my view Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly ticks all the right boxes.

It was 1968. That Wunderjahr … After fifty years of discrimination over jobs and housing, Catholics had taken a leaf out of Martin Luther King’s playbook and begun demonstrating for equal treatment in the state of Northern Ireland. Demonstration had led to riots and counter-demonstrations from the likes of Ian Paisley and his rabble. Violence descended like a black cloak over Ulster and twenty years later it was still here. In 1968 one of those little acts of violence was the shooting of a couple who had rammed a police checkpoint.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

About the author: Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. He studied law at Warwick University and politics and philosophy at Oxford University. He moved to New York City in the early 1990’s where he worked in bars, bookstores and building sites. In 2000 he moved to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher and in 2008 he moved to Melbourne, Australia. His debut crime novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Dagger Award. His first Sean Duffy novel, The Cold Cold Ground, won the 2013 Spinetingler Award and was picked as one of the best crime novels of the year by The TimesI Hear The Sirens In The Street (Sean Duffy #2), won the 2014 Barry Award for best paperback original crime novel. In The Morning I’ll Be Gone (Sean Duffy #3) won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award for best novel and was picked as one of the top 10 crime novels of 2014 by the American Library Association, The Daily Mail & The Toronto Star. Gun Street Girl (Duffy #4) was shortlisted for the 2016 Edgar Award, the 2015 Ned Kelly Award, The 2016 Anthony Award and was picked as one of the best books of 2015 by The Boston Globe and by The Irish Times. Sean Duffy #5, Rain Dogs, was shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2016, shortlisted for the Edgar Award 2017 and longlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2016.

Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly has been reviewed at Shotsmag, Crime Fiction Lover, and Detectives Beyond Borders, among others.

Adrian McKinty Website

Adrian McKinty’s blog: The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Serpent’s Tail Publishers publicity page

Seventh Street Books publicity page

Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly (Policias en la comisaria y no parecen amigables) de Adrian McKinty

Sinopsis: Belfast 1988: un hombre recibe un disparo de una flecha por la espalda. No es un indio ni es Robin Hood. Pero descubrir exactamente quién lo ha hecho precipiatará al inspector de la policía Sean Duffy por una senda muy peligrosa, un camino que conduce hasta un solitario claro en lo alto de una zona pantanosa en donde tres pistoleros enmascarados obligarán a Duffy a cavar su propia tumba. Perseguido por fuerzas desconocidas, amenazado por Asunto Internos y con su relación sentimental a punto de desmoronarse, Duffy necesitará de todo su ingenio para poder escapar con vida de este caso.

Mi opinión: Después de una introducción donde el lector se quedará preocupado por las escasas posibilidades de Sean Duffy de escapar con vida, la historia propiamente dicha comienza unos días antes. En ese momento, Sean y su novia Beth están visitando a los padres de Sean en su casa de campo cerca de Glencolumblike en Donegal, junto con su hija Emma. Sean aceptó la propuesta de su padre para acompañarlo en una peregrinación a Lough Derg, aunque, a decir verdad, ninguno de los dos quiere ir. Afortunadamente para Sean, una llamada telefónica de Carrickfergus le proporciona la excusa perfecta para volver a trabajar antes de lo previsto. Alguien ha matado a un traficante de drogas. En sí mismo no es nada extraordinario, excepto por el hecho de que le dispararon por la espalda con una flecha. Además, este ha sido el segundo traficante de drogas que recibió un disparo por la espalda con una flecha desde hace mucho tiempo. En ambos casos el disparo fue hecho por una ballesta, aunque el primer hombre ha logrado salir vivo de esto. A medida que la historia se desarrolla, Duffy tendrá que hacer frente a innumerables problemas. Él será investigado de cerca por Asuntos Internos, su novia quiere tomarse un descanso para reflexionar sobre su relación, su forma física está en mal estado y no puede pasar la prueba de aptitud física pero, lo más grave de todo, su propia vida va a correr un serio peligro, aunque hará todo lo posible por resolver un caso que, en un primer momento, no le interesa a nadie.

Por regla general, McKinty produce historias maravillosamente escritas en las que los hechos históricos y la ficción están muy bien entremezclados y, por lo tanto, proporcionan un panorama general de los tiempos en los que tiene lugar la acción. Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly es una excelente incorporación a una serie ya por si excepcional. La historia se puede leer fácilmente como un libro  independiente, pero sería mejor comenzar la serie desde el principio ya que este libro puede tener posibles spoilers de los anteriores. Además, todos los libros de la serie merecen ser leídos. La acción tiene lugar en 1988, durante el período denominado “The Troubles“, un conflicto que duró más de tres décadas y que generalmente se considera que terminó con el Acuerdo de Belfast del Viernes Santo de 1998. La historia tiene referencias a acontecimientos reales y todavía tengo recuerdos vivos de algunos hechos terribles relatados en esta historia, como por ejemplo: Corporals Wood and Howes killed by IRA 1988. Pero además de ser un excelente documental de sucesos históricos, Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly tiene una trama extremadamente interesante y perfectamente elaborada. Además los personajes están muy bien desarrollados. El título del libro está tomado de una canción de Tom Waits titulada Cold Water. En mi opinión Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly sobresale en todas las categorías.

Fue en 1968. Ese Wunderjahr … Después de cincuenta años de discriminación en el empleo y en la vivienda, los católicos habían adoptado algo de la mentalidad de Martin Luther King y comenzaron a manifestarse por la igualdad de trato en el estado de Irlanda del Norte. La protesta había provocado disturbios y contra-manifestaciones de gente como Ian Paisley y su gentuza. La violencia descendió como una capa negra sobre el Ulster y veinte años más tarde todavía estaba aquí. En 1968 uno de esos pequeños actos de violencia fue el tiroteo de una pareja que se había empotrado contra un puesto de control de la policía.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Sobre el autor: Adrian McKinty nació en Carrickfergus, Irlanda del Norte en 1968. Estudió derecho en la Universidad de Warwick y política y filosofía en la Universidad de Oxford. Emigró a Nueva York en 1993, vivió en Harlem durante 7 años trabajando en bares, librerías, como guardia de seguridad… En el año 2000 se trasladó a Denver, Colorado y comenzó a trabajar como profesor y a escribir. En 2008 emigró a St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia con su esposa y sus hijos. Su serie de libros protagonizados por Sean Duffy incluye los siguientes títulos: Cold, Cold Ground (The Cold, Cold Ground, 2012), Oigo sirenas en la calle (I Hear the Sirens in the Street, 2013), Por la mañana me habré ido (In the Morning I’ll be Gone, 2014), Gun Street Girl, 2015, Rain Dogs, 2016 y Police at The Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, 2017. (Fuente: Mis detectives favorit@s).

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9 thoughts on “Review: Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, 2017 (Sean Duffy #6) by Adrian McKinty

  1. Finished reading this a couple of days ago and thought it was marvellous, it might even be my favourite from the series. I wonder is this the last one or will there be more Sean Duffy? McKinty seems to leave the door open for at least another instalment. Part of me wants more Duffy, while another part of me is just happy that SPOILER:

    he got away at the end and hopefully will be able to live in peace from now on, as boring as that might sound 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment ravenking. I’m certainly looking forward to more instalments in the series too, And I’m not all that sure that Duffy will be able to live in preace from now on.

  2. I adore Sean Duffy! I’ve recently got this, but I’m reading Rain Dogs – although I expect I’ll have to set it aside as I’ve lots of blog tours coming up. I’ll get back to it asap, then I’ll get onto this one….look forward to it; I think this is the first review I’ve read, and it’s great.

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