Waffles Reviews, the Cold, Cold, Ground by Adrian Mckinty

Waffles Reviews, the Cold, Cold, Ground by Adrian Mckinty

I've been meaning to do a review of this book for a while now. The Cold Cold Ground is the first in a noir series about detective Sean Duffy. The book is set in 1981 during the troubles in Northern Ireland. The series stars detective Sean Duffy, who is in rather unfortunate situation where he is a Catholic police officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The book literally opens a week after the death of bobby sands and the day of the riots after the death of Francis Hughes. The book is both a murder mystery and a tale of what it was like in Northern Ireland during those times. The writer Adrian Mckinty grew up in Northern Ireland during the troubles and the fact that he is a protestant doesn't give a huge impact to how he views the situation, the book is written in first person from the perspective of a catholic officer. It opens with the lines

“The riot had taken on a beauty of its own now. Arcs of gasoline fire under the crescent moon. Crimson tracer in mystical parabolas. Phosphorescence from the barrels of plastic bullet guns. A distant yelling like that of men below decks in a torpedoed prison ship. The scarlet whoosh of Molotovs intersecting with exacting surfaces. Helicopters everywhere: their spotlights finding one another like lovers in the Afterlife.

And all this through a lens of oleaginous Belfast rain.”

When two gay men are murdered northern Ireland appears to have its first proper serial killer. His boss may or may not be right when he says he doesn't believe that it may not be a serial killer.

One of the things that this book really shows is that the milkman came, the post office still ran, people went to barbers, kids went to school, people drank at pubs and they went to the movie theater. (literally the protagonist ponders going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark) people try to live their life like everything is normal.

Waffles Reviews, the Cold, Cold, Ground by Adrian Mckinty

Then something like this happens, a bomb goes off at a restaurant that a major character had eaten at and you realize that, nothing about this is normal, unemployment is through the roof. The protagonist doesn't just carry his revolver but he has a sterling submachine gun on his kitchen table for a large chunk of the novel, bombs go off frequently, people get murdered in the streets by paramilitaries. That despite everything that people are doing, nothing about this situation is normal. One thing that some people in the book are thinking is who cares about this case, homosexuality is illegal, the response of the RUC is this

Keeping pigeons without a licence is illegal as well, but we can’t have people going round shooting pigeon-keepers, can we? It is the job of the RUC to enforce the law in Northern Ireland, not paramilitary groups, not vigilantes, not ‘concerned citizens’, it’s our responsibility and ours alone,”

What you get is a sense of despair from the novel unemployment was sky high, the only reason it wasn't higher was because people left for either the U.S or Australia. Bombs go off daily. You get the sense that people are tired of violence but on some level it won't stop.

I loved this book and if you like noir or murder mysteries, or just history, you should check it out.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I should really check this book out.

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    • You should and what I liked was the fact that all sides of the conflict get a fair shake with the exception of Thatcher and her Tories, because growing up in northern Ireland when she fucked them over a long with the unions and northern England, sales and Scotland

    • Like the protagonist says that after bloody Sunday he tried to join the IRA, he got turned down and the reason he joined the RUC was that when he was going to the campus pub after a date a bomb went off inside and killed a bunch of people inside and he was in front of the door. Both republican and loyalist paramilitaries claimed it was theirs and it made him realize jusr how insane this was and he wanted it to stop. However he also says that the British are also one of the prime reasons it happens and he is the victim of bigotry by people on his side becaudr he is a catholic or as the bigots call him, a Fenian

Most Helpful Guy

  • I think I might try and get hold of this, thanks for the review.

    When I first went to Belfast, it felt like it was a throwback to the 1970s. The city centre was still filled with small independent retailers because the big retailers on the mainland didn't want to go into Northern Ireland. It had a very different feel to it.

    These days, the city centre is much the same as any other British city. You need to go into the estates to see the differences.

    In the end, people DID get tired of the violence, and there was a consensus that it should stop. The problem is is all it takes is one nostalgic, talking to a bunch of kids who never lived through it, and that could be the spark that starts it all again. I hope not.

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What Girls Said 2

  • Sounds like a great read :)

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  • When I saw the preview of the title I thought it was going to be Waffles Reviews the Cold Cold Weather XD

    This looks like a SUPER cool book though!! Ty for sharing it with us!

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