A pint of the black stuff…

The Sean Duffy series became a favourite long before this sixth instalment, but this could be the best yet. Now a firm calendar highlight, the release of a new Duffy book guarantees a darkly funny, gripping ride with a cast of characters that I now find indispensable.

For me personally, Adrian McKinty is a close to literary royalty as it gets, and he consistently delivers the kind of prose, plots, twists and dialogue that have me in awe every single time. Whenever I am asked for my list of authors who inspire me, his is the first name out every time.

I took Police At The Station And They Don’t Look Friendly with me on a little trip away to Copenhagen with my wife – our first just the two of us since our first daughter was born seven years ago. I don’t think my wife got more than two words out of me on the flight over, and I think they were ‘coffee, please’ (she’s a good ‘un, she really is). Entranced is the word.

I finished it sometime in the wee hours of our second night there – and was immediately gutted it was over. Duffy now in his late 30s, wrestling with fatherhood and his career, not to mention all the parties whose feathers he has ruffled in the previous five books, is a stone cold hero of modern crime literature – an ace, layered, caustic, witty protagonist that you’d just love a pint of the black stuff with. I can’t wait to see Duffy shell-suited to the max in the nineties, tackling banking corruption and financial collapse in the noughties and doing, well, who in the merry hell knows what with Brexit and Trump when he eventually gets to this decade.

If you haven’t found McKinty and the Duffy books yet, please get your act together sharpish. You will not be disappointed.

Having a beano at the minute as I race through two great series, alternating between the two. 

Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch series has fast become like a comfort blanket. The themes and settings are all ones I find innately interesting, and don’t remotely struggle to get lost in from the outset. They are no nonsense, and zip along great. If anything I’m getting through them too quickly.

Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series has easily blasted through into my all time favourites. I’m just in awe and more than a bit jealous of these books. The central character of Duffy is an inspired creation, multi-layered in all different shades, always flirting with the cusp of legality, but never once not making you root for him. There is a wonderful bite to these books, from the dialogue to the settings and everything in between, that forces you to sit up and take serious notice. I also learn something every time from these books, in terms of history and geography, and I adore how McKinty brings his fictional world and its characters into very true real world events, creating almost an alternate reality in which his creations have run amok. I just love it. A new Sean Duffy book will become a yearly event for me, unshakeably locked in the calendar.