The Cold Cold GroundThe Cold Cold Ground
Book 1 of The Troubles Trilogy
Author: Adrian McKinty
Narrator: Gerard Doyle
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
10 hours — Unabridged

For a cop (or “peeler”) in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the early 1980s, the regular challenges of policing are just the beginning. It’s the height of The Troubles, and Detective Sean Duffy is living and working in what verges on a war zone. Bobby Sands and the other IRA hunger strikers are having their day, paramilitary groups on both sides of the Protestant-Catholic divide are on a hair trigger for violence in the streets, and Duffy tries to remember to check his car for bombs every time he gets in it. Enriching the potential for mayhem is the fact that Duffy is a Catholic on a Protestant-majority police force, in a place and time where your religious upbringing ensures your being singled out — by somebody, sometime — as a target.

So death is just a part of the everyday routine in Belfast, and what might stand out as a headline-grabbing murder in another city is simply further fruit of the violence all around. But when a pair of bodies turn up bearing what looks like the signature of a serial killer, that gets Duffy’s and his mates on the squad’s attention. Following this lead takes Duffy down a path he never dreamed of, uncovering darkness to surprise even a hardened Ulsterman.

Whether you remember The Troubles well, or it’s a part of history that you don’t know much about, Adrian McKinty draws you into Sean Duffy’s world and delivers a top-notch crime drama in a setting well removed from the run-of-the-mill cop story. Gerard Doyle does a capital job telling the story in the lilting Irish cadence that is his birthright, with a clarity and sense of pacing that pulls the reader around every turn. So give it a listen already! You may find yourself, like this reviewer, panting for Books 2 and 3 of The Troubles Trilogy.