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Showing posts by: Adrian McKinty click to see Adrian McKinty's profile
Mar 9 2017 1:00pm

Alternative Ulster Fry: The Dangers of Writing About Northern Ireland in the 1980s

A few weeks ago, I did a book reading at Mt Waverley in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. About twenty-five people came out—which was a reasonable number for me—and, as is usual with these events (or for anybody not named Rowling), the crowd skewed to an older demographic. I talked about my latest mystery novel and the Sean Duffy series itself, which takes place in Belfast in the 1980s. After the talk came the Q&A portion, and, as is also pretty usual for me, about a third of the audience was made up of Irish diaspora.

When the event was over, I signed a few books for people and had a chat with anyone who wanted to talk. An older lady who sounded like she had just stepped off the boat told me she had emigrated to Melbourne from West Belfast in the 1950s. She said that she loved my Sean Duffy novels, and, as a wee thank you, she had baked me a batch of potato bread. She explained that I was always talking in my books and on my blog about how impossible it was to get a decent breakfast outside of Ulster because nobody knew how to make Irish potato farls, the key ingredient to an Ulster fry. I thanked her profusely and said it was really too kind. When the event was over, I took the bus back to St Kilda. I put the potato bread in the fridge and went to bed.

Next morning, I got up early and demanded of my clan: “So who wants a real breakfast, today?”

[I could go for a proper breakfast...]

Mar 2 2017 10:00am

Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly: New Excerpt

Adrian McKinty

Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty is the 6th Detective Sean Duffy novel (available March 7, 2017).

Belfast 1988: A man is found dead, killed with a bolt from a crossbow in front of his house. This is no hunting accident. But uncovering who is responsible for the murder will take Detective Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on a 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.


Blue dark, red dark, yellow dark.

Snow glinting in the hollows. The Great Bear and the Pole Star visible between zoetroping tree limbs.

The wood is an ancient one, a relic of the vast Holocene forest that once covered all of Ireland but which now has almost completely gone. Huge oaks half a millennium old; tangled, many-limbed hawthorns; red-barked horse chestnuts.

[Read the full excerpt from Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly...]

Mar 24 2016 1:30pm

Murder Ballads: Adrian McKinty and Lisa Levy Talk Music and Detective Sean Duffy

Confession time: I had Adrian McKinty in mind when I conceived of doing this column. I basically harassed his publishers about it, when I found out he would be spending some time in New York City, where I live. Of course, when you are interviewing an Irish crime writer whose series is set during “The Troubles” and whose protagonist, detective Sean Duffy, is both a major music fan and a hard-living guy, you expect your author to jump at the chance of meeting at a pub.

But McKinty is not Duffy: he had childcare obligations and work to do, so we met at an airy restaurant and drank fancy coffee instead of pints. But otherwise, McKinty is just as I wanted him to be: smart and funny, with wide-ranging interests (so many that this Q&A is pieced together from a couple of hours of chatting).

So, get ready for an unexpected analysis of 1970s Fleetwood Mac, a couple of  avant-garde composers, nitpicking about U2, a requiem for bootleg culture, Adele versus Dusty Springfield, comparisons of Leonard Cohen covers, and a little Tom Waits. McKinty’s latest Duffy book is the excellent Rain Dogs.

[Read the exclusive interview with Adrian McKinty...]

Mar 1 2016 1:00pm

Don’t Write What You Know: Why the BBC Told Me to Forget Northern Ireland

In 2004, I was given an opportunity to pitch a TV show to the BBC. My first novel, Dead I Well May Be, had just come out, and although the book hadn’t sold well, it had been well reviewed, and this had attracted the attention of the Beeb.

Partly autobiographical, Dead I Well May Be was about a Northern Irish born, illegal immigrant living in New York in the early 1990s, but for my pitch, I wanted to suggest a show that drew on my roots growing up in the Belfast of the 70s and 80s. I thought that the 70s might be on the verge of a comeback, so I came up with the idea of a cop show set in 1977 during the darkest days of the Irish “Troubles.”

[Another cop show that never was...]