Duffy [is] smart, clever, and doesn’t let a question go unanswered. He’s also got enough attitude to ensure he never leaves a smile on a supervisors face. He is a complex and flawed character whose unorthodox methods have left him with a number of answers but just as many problems. He’s got friends and enemies – sometimes the same people – in the station house, the RUC, the IRA and even MI-5.
But what makes the journey so enjoyable is experiencing this world through Sean’s eyes. The relentless rain & a population weary of sectarian violence lends the story a dark, moody atmosphere that is well balanced by Sean’s frequently amusing asides & observations regarding Irish culture … He’s a smart, affable guy who employs the restorative powers of Guinness & his treasured record collection to keep the realities of life at bay. He’s not the RUC’s most popular detective thanks to his irreverence for the rules. The political machinations & warnings from higher-ups only make him dig his heels in harder as he fights to bring those responsible to account.
I just love the single minded, strongly motivated and methodical approach of Duffy. He is happy to be self-aware and declare he might not be the greatest or even a good detective but he is determined and will never give up on a case, regardless of self-interest, friendship or personal gain. He is your worst nightmare and keeps coming for you and eventually through his dogged persistence results will follow and the truth uncovered.
I often find myself laughing aloud at Sean’s sarcasm, and this book was no exception… [If] McKinty moves on from here, if I never see Sean Duffy again, I can accept this ending and smile. I guess. Oh, who am I kidding? Please, Mr. McKinty, give me one more Sean Duffy book.
First and foremost, Sean Duffy is one of the great characters in crime fiction today. Right above Rebus in my opinion.
Duffy is a fascinating character – cynical and wry, his career in the RUC has hit a glass ceiling thanks in part to his Catholicism but also because of his refusal to play the political game and because none of his investigations have, to date, landed a conviction.
No loss of form here for the sharp and sardonic Detective Sean Duffy, one of the finest creations in modern detective fiction. How the pieces all fit is as gripping a tale as ever, bringing Sean into contact with old friends, new acquaintances and facts that are beyond belief. Except that this is Norn Iron, and the impossible is sometimes easier to believe in than a non-existent normality.