Having read and enjoyed all of McKinty's previous crime novels, and based on the description of this one, I was pretty confident that it would be discretionary entertainment dollars well spent. However, no author I have read, no matter how much I have enjoyed their past work gets a free pass. In fact, with each novel, the stakes and expectations are raised and as soon as I feel they are relying on old tricks or mining tired, predictable and clichéd themes, I'll move on. This was billed as a police procedural and I'm not really a fan of that genre, so a level playing field was set.
What I experienced was a fearless, hard-hitting, and dare I say, important and perhaps groundbreaking novel. It also enlightened me as to what my aversion of the procedural genre stemmed from. The story takes place in 1981 where the cops for the most part, relied on detective work and instinct, rather than technology. This is a world before cell phones, DNA, and all the other crutches that are so commonplace in modern crime fiction. Sean Duffy is a great character and if you took the best qualities of John Thaw's Inspector Morse and The Sweeney's John Regan, added a jigger of cool, and a splash of very entertaining wit, you'll get an idea of what he is all about.
The first person narrative was done superbly and I felt like I was side-by-side with Duffy and his excellent supporting cast of characters- in the Land Rover, on the streets, at the station, and all the other locations the story took me to.
I am well-versed in the "Troubles" or at least as much as you can be from reading numerous non-fiction and historical fiction regarding the subject, but the superb writing, excellent story, and McKinty's intimate first-hand knowledge and experience, enabled The Cold, Cold Ground to take me to a time and place, like none of that reading possibly could.
A great read and I was pleasantly suprised to find the first chapter of the next "Duffy" installment was included in my kindle version. And what a opener it was!"