I Hear the Sirens in the Street (Sean Duffy 2) by Adrian McKinty

i hear the sirens in the streetA good read but some credibility issues…

🙂 🙂 🙂 😐

This police procedural/thriller is based in 1980s Northern Ireland during the Troubles. When a torso is found in a suitcase, Detective Inspector Sean Duffy has to identify the victim before he can start to work out why he was murdered. The storyline allows the author to look at the divides in NI society and also at US attitudes to the Irish question. The author writes flowingly and the plot is interesting and complicated enough to keep the reader’s interest, though I found it dipped a bit in the middle. Duffy and his colleagues Crabbie and Matty are on the whole likeable characters and their interactions allow for a fair amount of humour amongst the more serious stuff. The book is undoubtedly a page-turner.

Adrian McKinty
Adrian McKinty

However, right from the point at the very beginning where Duffy decides to overlook a security guard firing a shotgun at him because the guard ‘was an old geezer with watery eyes’, I found that the book had serious credibility issues that made it hard for me to believe in these characters or to be convinced that this was an accurate portrayal of NI and the Royal Ulster Constabulary of the time. Duffy is a Catholic working in the mainly Protestant RUC and living in a Protestant community – by choice, apparently. He spends half his time with his .38 stuffed in his belt as if he is in the Wild West rather than the police force. Sometimes he’s preaching about the need for constant caution, such as checking for car bombs each time he gets into a car; then at other times he’s taking ridiculous and unnecessary risks for no reason that I could see except to let the author move the story along. Then, of course, there are the women – he sees every woman he meets as a potential sex object and that’s about as far as their characterisation goes.

A difficult one to rate since, so long as I was able to suspend my disbelief, I did enjoy reading it and will probably try another of the author’s books in the future – so, on that basis, I’m giving this one 3.5 stars and recommending it as a reasonably good read.

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

13 thoughts on “I Hear the Sirens in the Street (Sean Duffy 2) by Adrian McKinty

    • As usual, I’ve bounced in in the middle of the series. I thought this was well-written and certainly a page-turner, but just found the portrayal particularly of the RUC of that period unrealistic.


  1. I tried the first of these and wasn’t particularly impressed. Consequently, I haven’t added McKinty to my list of authors whose works I must read as soon as they are published and so in one sense I’m glad to have that decision endorsed.


    • Oh, Alex, your comment went to Spam! That’s the first time a genuine comment has gone there. I only noticed it because it was written in coherent English 😉

      Yes, I agree – he won’t be on my ‘must read’ list either, though I’d probably read another if I ever get through all the things I’m really enthusiastic about reading.


      • Looking at what I wrote I can see why the spam mistake happened. There are too many of the words in there that I suspect are on the trigger list. I always check my spam because this has happened to a couple of friends in the past. WordPress are very good with spam, but inevitably not quite perfect.


  2. You raise an interesting point about suspension of disbelief. That said though, McGinty writes a good story. I’d be really interested in your opinion of The Cold, Cold Ground if you get a chance to read it.


    • He does indeed. I noticed a few UK reviewers made similar comments about the RUC and NI as I did, so perhaps this series works better for people less steeped in coverage of the Troubles than my generation of Brits were. But The Cold, Cold Ground is on my long, long list…. 😉


    • I’ve only read this one, but despite the credibility issues (for me), I thought he told a good story well. At some point, I’ll read The Cold, Cold Ground – though I believe some of his books are based in America rather than Ireland? That might be a better way for me to go…

      Sorry for the delay in responding – for some reason WordPress is sending half my comments to Spam at the moment. 🙂


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