In The Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty, Review: Stirring humanity

In The Morning I’ll Be Gone is the third novel in Adrian McKinty’s award-winning Detective Sean Duffy Series which I highly recommend in audiobook.

Adrian McKinty In The Morning I'll Be Gone ReviewIn The Morning I’ll Be Gone Synopsis

It’s the early 1980s in Belfast. Sean Duffy, a conflicted Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is recruited by MI5 to hunt down Dermot McCann, an IRA master bomber who has made a daring escape from the notorious Maze prison. In the course of his investigations, Sean discovers a woman who may hold the key to Dermot’s whereabouts; she herself wants justice for her daughter, who died in mysterious circumstances in a pub locked from the inside. Sean knows that if he can crack the “locked room mystery”, the bigger mystery of Dermot’s whereabouts might be revealed to him as a reward.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down to the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton in 1984, where Mrs. Thatcher is due to give a keynote speech.

Narrated by: Gerard Doyle, Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins 

Genre: Crime-Detective, Mystery, Thriller, Audio

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I have looked forward to reading Adrian McKinty’s work, and particularly In The Morning I’ll Be Gone, ever since attending the 2014 Ned Kelly Awards Ceremony where it was awarded Best Fiction.

And my choice of the audiobook format narrated by Gerard Doyle? I am a sucker for the Irish accent (who isn’t?) so this was a no-brainer.

Much can be said for book awards and where they’ve gone wrong over the years, but in this instance, I am pleased to now say from personal experience that the 2014 Ned Kelly Awards judging panel got this one very right. My expectations were high – and I was diving into the Sean Duffy Series at Book 3 – but In The Morning I’ll Be Gone exceeded them.

Complex mystery and humour

A complex and intriguing mystery* coupled with McKinty’s skilful use of humour and irony in his depiction of The Troubles has yielded something touching and memorable. The judging panel captured it perfectly, noting

There’s a fine line between social commentary and compelling mystery and not many writers, crime or literary, can do both.

Through his appealing protagonist Sean Duffy, a cultured yet marginalised scrapper with principles, he draws out the myriad of influences at play and ultimately the very human face of all sides of the conflict.

He was a cadaverous, jaundice wee sh*te with thin lips and beady black eyes. His greasy hair was combed to the right in a style that Hitler had made fashionable, and on his left shoulder there was a tame white rat. There was a certain jumpy magnetism about him, and I could tell that he was no dummy. He’d been the sort of boy who would know exactly who he could f#&k with and who he couldn’t, and I’d bet he never missed a payment to the local IRA and INLA chieftains who provided him with area protection.

Audiobook narration

Gerard Doyle’s narration is first class, bringing Sean Duffy to life with his Irish brogue and deadpan irony, making this an addictive listening experience (listen to an audio sample).

Within In The Morning I’ll Be Gone Adrian McKinty achieves the seemingly impossible, credibly balancing frank acknowledgement of the futility of the situation in Ireland at that time with a stirring case for human spirit and endeavour in the face of it all.

I could use more superlatives but that would not do this work justice. I cannot recommend this novel, and the audio format, more highly.

* Note the ‘locked-room’ mystery spawns much earnest discussion amongst the characters about classic examples of the form in popular literature – an added delight and subtle nod to McKinty’s audience.

BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5

Since this review was first published we have also listened to Book 4 Gun Street Girl and Book 5 Rain Dogs in this fantastic series, and Adrian McKinty’s standalone thrillers The Chain  and The Island.

Get your copy of In The Morning I’ll Be Gone (Sean Duffy #3) from:

Amazon Book Depository Booktopia AU
OR listen to the audiobook FREE with Audible’s Trial (check eligibility)

About the Author, Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. After studying philosophy at Oxford University he emigrated to New York City where he lived in Harlem for seven years working in bars, bookstores, building sites and finally the basement stacks of the Columbia University Medical School Library in Washington Heights. In 2000 he moved to Denver, Colorado where he taught high school English and started writing fiction in earnest. His first full-length novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and was picked by Booklist as one of the 10 best crime novels of the year. In mid-2008 he moved to St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia with his wife and kids.

Check out Adrian’s website and connect with him on Twitter.

This review counts towards my participation in the 2015 Aussie Author Challenge and the 2015 Audiobook Challenge.