News & Competitions

Sean Duffy #5, Rain Dogs, has been shortlisted for Best Original Paperback at the Edgar Awards 2017!

This is the second shortlisting for Adrian’s Sean Duffy series — let’s hope it’s second time lucky.

The other books on the shortlist were:

  • Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott
  • Come Twilight by Tyler Dilts
  • The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni
  • Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty
  • A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum
  • Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin

#6 in the Sean Duffy series of novels, Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly, is out now!

#6 in the Sean Duffy series of novels, Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly, is out now!

‘An unforgettable title … perfectly sums up the paranoid atmosphere at Carrickfergus CID in the late 1980s. McKinty moves seamlessly between action and reflection, and his sardonic tone is a delight.’ Sunday Times

This time, help isn’t coming. This time, Duffy has to save himself.

Belfast 1988: a man has been shot in the back with an arrow. It ain’t Injuns and it isn’t Robin Hood. But uncovering exactly who has done it will take Detective Inspector Sean Duffy down his most dangerous road yet, a road that leads to a lonely clearing on the 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.

You can read an extract of Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly here, and buy here.

Adrian McKinty shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award

We’re thrilled that Rain Dogs has made it onto the shortlist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. Also on the list are Lee Child, Mick Herron, Don Winslow and Daniel Silva.

They say:

Post-Troubles Northern Irish crime fiction is one of the most intriguing new sub-genres and McKinty is a star of it. Rain Dogs powerfully reflects a sense of the contemporary crisis of authority in the establishment, rendered darkly enjoyable through the author’s sharp wit. The well-realised protagonist Sean Duffy shines amidst a conspiracy that is not only believable but nastily authentic.

'I met Savile and Ali in real life' - Q&A with Adrian McKinty

We interviewed Adrian after his Theakston’s shortlisting to see what he’s up to – and where Sean Duffy is going next. Needless to say, his answers are enlightening as always. Enjoy, please share with fellow crime fans and get in touch over at Facebook or Twitter.

Hi, Adrian! First of all – congratulations on Rain Dogs being shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year. You were in incredible company with Robert Galbraith, Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid all on the longlist. Have you met any of your fellow shortlisted authors out on the crime writer circuit?

I’ve met Ann and Val and I saw Val interview Jo Rowling at Harrogate. I wanted to hate Jo Rowling because of, you know, the success, the talent, the good looks, the Scrooge McDuck-like swimming through the gold coins in her vault amount of money, but she seemed like a super nice lady too so that plan was thwarted.

You’re based in Melbourne, Australia, and recently lived in New York for a few months. How do you get into the mind-set to write about 1980s Northern Ireland – with its ‘apocalyptic, cold, cleansing rain from the Irish Sea’ – when you’re in these lively, exciting, modern cities?

This can actually be a problem in Melbourne in the summer when it’s fucking roasting. It’s hard to think of Belfast in the rainy cold miserable dank 1980s when its 46 degrees Celsius outside. Sometimes I close the curtains, crank up the air-conditioning and find a YouTube video that plays rain falling on a tin roof or something and that helps.

In Rain Dogs, Duffy ventured to Finland to ask awkward questions of grumpy businessmen. Have you got plans for him to travel elsewhere? What inspires you when you choose settings outside Ireland?

I only have Duffy go to places I’ve actually been to. So I’d actually been to that crazy island in northern Finland for reasons I don’t want to get into here. I noticed also that Nordic Noir books sell really well. Ken Bruen had this idea of having a Swedish detective come to Ireland and he got a TV series out of it, which is annoying because he’s already got a TV series. My idea of having a Northern Irish detective go to Finland clearly was not as brilliant as his idea because my phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook except for people calling from ‘Microsoft’ who tell me that my ‘computer is infected with a virus’ but who then mysteriously hang up when I tell them I have a Mac.

Duffy has encountered a colourful cast of real-life characters – in Rain Dogs this included Muhammad Ali and Jimmy Savile. Why do you choose to have him interact with real people in this way? Is it hard to capture their voices?

I met Savile and Ali in real life (at different times) and both meetings made a big impression on me and I decided to use those meetings in the book. Savile I met at a Radio 1 Roadshow in Carrickfergus when I was about 11. I thought he was incredibly creepy even back then. One little girl burst into tears when he shook her hand which sounds about right. Muhammad Ali I met in Blackwells in Oxford in 1992 and he was an amazing presence even then when he was clearly suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

I read in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that you’d planned to kill Sean Duffy off at the end of book three, In the Morning I’ll be Gone. What made you keep him alive?

Rebecca Gray, my editor, talked me out of it. She said, “You’re finally starting to sell some books after 10 years in this racket and you want to kill your lead character in the Brighton Bombing? Is that really a good idea?”

Finally, we hear that there’s a new Sean Duffy in the works – Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly. What do we have to look forward to? No spoilers, please!

Bit of a change of pace. It’s an adult colouring book. I hear those are quite the thing now too.

A routine murder investigation sucks Duffy into the most dangerous operation of his entire career and this time there is really a question mark whether he will survive with pretty much every faction in Northern Ireland out to kill him.


Adrian McKinty shortlisted for the 2016 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year

The shortlist for one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the UK has been announced, and Adrian McKinty is nominated for his latest Sean Duffy thriller, Rain Dogs.

He’s in fine company: also on the list are JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, Clare Mackintosh, Mark Billingham, Renee Knight and Eva Dolan.

Find out more about the 2016 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year shortlist and let us know who you’re rooting for on Twitter.

Adrian McKinty's Rain Dogs longlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger at the CWA

The Crime Writers’ Association Daggers have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over fifty years. Rain Dogs is on the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger longlist along with Lee Child’s Make Me and Don Winslow’s The Cartel.

Ian Fleming said there was one essential criterion for a good thriller – that “one simply has to turn the pages”; this is one of the main characteristics that the judges will be looking for.

Read the full longlist 

Gun Street Girl shortlisted for an Anthony Award

The fourth book in Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series, Gun Street Girl, has been shortlisted for an Anthony Award in the category for Best Paperback Original.

The World Mystery Convention is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization which holds an annual convention in honor of Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor and author. It is the world’s premier event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community, and is commonly referred to as Bouchercon.

Visit the Bouchercon Facebook page

Read an excerpt from Rain Dogs, the latest in the Sean Duffy series

It’s just the same things over and again for Sean Duffy. Riot duty. Heartbreak. Cases he can solve but never get to court. But what detective gets two locked room mysteries in one career? When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. But there are just a few things that bother Duffy enough to keep the case file open. Which is how he finds out that she was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond. And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?

Discover the rest of the Sean Duffy series

Join @adrianmckinty on Twitter #RainDogs

Gun Street Girl nominated for a 2016 Edgar Award

Adrian McKinty’s brilliant fourth Sean Duffy novel, Gun Street Girl, has been nominated for the 2016 Edgar Award for Best Paperback.

The prestigious Edgar Awards, which celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allen Poe, honour the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television. The winners will be announced on April 28, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City

See the full list of Edgar nominees

Sean Duffy’s Christmas list, 1987

1. Some way of erasing the last decade in rock and pop music.

2. An 1988 BMW 325i (black) speed derestricted

3. A bottle of 16 year old Bowmore single malt.

4. A bottle of 18 year old Islay single malt.

5. The new Karel Goeyvaerts album: Aanloop en kreet (Run and Cry), for symphony, orchestra and chorus.

6. A bottle of 12 year old Jura single malt.

7. The new Ciaran Carson book.

8. DM boots.

9. Gun oil.

10. Oh yeah, peace on Earth.


Adrian McKinty on BBC's Decimate...

…in a sense! Adrian appeared alongside David Peace and Derek Raymond as possible answers to a question. The contestant chose him as the answer – but, unfortunately, was incorrect.


Ned Kelly Awards 2015 - Gun Street Girl shortlisted!

The 2015 Ned Kelly Awards shortlists have been announced and we’re delighted that the latest Sean Duffy, Gun Street Girl, is nominated for Best Novel.

The judges said it was the best Sean Duffy yet. Winners will be announcedat the Melbourne Writers Festival on Saturday August 22.

Find out more about Gun Street Girl and the Sean Duffy series

Click #GunStreetGirl on Twitter to find out more

Adrian McKinty at Harrogate Crime Festival

Adrian McKinty was a guest of honour at Theakstons Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate last week, taking part in a brilliant Irish Noir event with fellow Irish writers  Eoin McNamee, Stuart Neville, Steve Cavanagh and Brian McGilloway. They discussed the growth of the genre and the problems with writing about the Troubles – Adrian spoke of how he’d been trolled on social media, and found the best way to deal with animosity was to ignore it (after initially trying to enter into debate, in true McKinty style!). The panellists also discussed the conspicuous lack of female crime writers from Northern Ireland. If you know of any, do tweet us at @serpentstail to carry on the conversation! IMG_2095 Wearing our Gun Street Girl t-shirts, with a selection of McKinty goodies in hand, we spread the McKinty word through the town. On Friday night we hosted drinks with Adrian at a local pub that aptly served TWO different types of Guinness!

IMG_2075    IMG_2118    IMG_2123

Read the first chapter of Gun Street Girl at Adrian’s website. Check out some of the amazing reader reviews Adrian has received recently, including this one below, which we love. “I am 76 years old and this is the first time I have ever written to an author. I have just finished Gun Street Girl. PLEASE never stop writing novels – your work is so amazing. My long-dead father always said that you learn more history and more about life from the best novels than you ever do from history books. This is certainly the case with your books. They lift my spirit – while I despair of the world. Thank you do much for the pleasure you give me. I think these books should be compulsory reading for high school students.” Jean Crowther, via

Listen to a Sean Duffy-themed playlist!

Hear some top 80s tunes in this Sean Duffy playlist compiled by Adrian McKinty.

Two new Adrian McKinty videos

Want to know more about the latest book in the Sean Duffy series? Ever wondered whether an author picks the title or writes the story first? Allow Adrian McKinty to enlighten you. In the first of these short videos, Adrian tells us a bit about his new book, Gun Street Girl. In the second, he reveals whether he chooses his titles or the story first – and reveals which book he wrote backwards.

Watch the videos below, originally posted on Crime Fiction Lover blog.

Sean Duffy’s New Year's Resolutions, 1985

In 1985 I will:

– Check underneath my car every morning for mercury tilt switch bombs.
– Try to cut on the cigarettes. Or at least switch to filtered ciggies.
– Take only one bottle of whisky per week and only 1 pint glass of vodka tonic per day.
– Limit my intake of the old Peruvian Marching Powder to BREAKFAST ONLY.
– Stop being insubordinate to superior officers.
– Go to mass and confession at least once a month.

In 1985 I will not:

– Listen to anything by those fuckers U2.
– Buy a CD. The format is doomed and vinyl will last forever.
– Go on a date with a nice girl and screw it up.
– Kill anyone.


Gun Street Girl - out now & win!

Exciting news – Gun Street Girl is out now and available to buy in bookshops and online! Reviews are coming in already: it’s been called ‘the best book in an exceptional series so far’ (Jon Page, Bite the Book) and ‘as cool, controlled and enjoyable a piece of crime fiction as you’ll read all year’ (What Are You Reading For blog).


To celebrate, we’re giving away three copies of this dangerously addictive thriller. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this question: what’s Sean Duffy’s favourite drink?

The answer can be found on this site…

Tweet us with your answer @serpentstail or email it to

Good luck! 

Entries open until Friday 23rd January. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by Thursday 29th January. Competition is UK only.

Adrian McKinty wins Barry Award for I Hear the Sirens in the Street

Congratulations Adrian! I Hear the Sirens in the Street, the second in the Sean Duffy series, has won the 2014 Barry Award for Best Paperback Original.

Booklist calls I Hear the Sirens in the Street “crime fiction at its best” – and its clear the Barry Award judges agree.

See the full list of winners

Read an extract from I Hear the Sirens in the Street

New Sean Duffy book announced!


It’s official – there will be a fourth book in Adrian McKinty’s highly-acclaimed Sean Duffy series.

The fourth book, Gun Street Girl, will be published in the UK in January 2015, and will see Sean Duffy grudgingly taking on a murder case of a wealthy couple. The case soon gets complicated and, tied up in conspiracy theories, Duffy finds himself caught up in the biggest political scandal of the decade.

We’ll be posting more information about Gun Street Girl here soon. In the meantime, visit Adrian’s blog to see what he’s up to at the moment…

Adrian McKinty wins Ned Kelly Award 2014

Adrian McKinty has won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award for Best Fiction with In the Morning I’ll Be Gone! The judges said: “In his use of humour with the grim realities of Belfast in 1984 coupled with a wonderful constructed locked in mystery, McKinty has produced something quite extraordinary. There’s a fine line between social commentary and compelling mystery and not many writers, crime or literary, can do both.”

Read Adrian McKinty’s blog post on  winning the 2014 Ned Kelly Award.

Read an extract from In the Morning I’ll Be Gone

Adrian nominated for le PRIX SNCF DU POLAR

We’re delighted that our French friends love Adrian McKinty too – The Cold, Cold Ground (Une terre si froide) has been nominated for a prestigious French crime writing award, the prix SNCF du polar. Each book on the prize list is chosen by a committee of literary experts.

Félicitations Adrian!

Sean’s favourite whiskeys

Sean Duffy’s favourite whiskeys

Free night this weekend? Host a whiskey party, with a list of drinks recommended by Sean Duffy.

Here are his top 10 whiskeys:

1 Lagavulin

2 Bowmore

3 Ardbeg

4 Bruichladdich

5 Laphroaig

6 Macallan

7 Port Ellen

8 Talisker

9 Isle of Jura

10 Oban

Don’t forget to listen to the Sean Duffy playlist  while sampling your drinks!

Find out more about the most renegade cop on the force