GUN STREET GIRL by Adrian McKinty, Book Review: Bonafide page turner

Gun Street Girl is Book 4 in Adrian McKinty’s award-winning Detective Sean Duffy Series and one of our dozen Top Aussie Reads of 2016.

Adrian McKinty Gun Street Girl ReviewGun Street Girl Synopsis

Belfast, 1985. Amid the Troubles, Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, struggles with burnout as he investigates a brutal double murder and suicide. Did Michael Kelly really shoot his parents at point-blank range and then jump off a nearby cliff? A suicide note points to this conclusion, but Duffy suspects even more sinister circumstances. He soon discovers that Kelly was present at a decadent Oxford party where a cabinet minister’s daughter died of a heroin overdose, which may or may not have something to do with Kelly’s subsequent death.

New evidence leads elsewhere: gun runners, arms dealers, the British government, and a rogue American agent with a fake identity. Duffy thinks he’s getting somewhere when agents from MI5 show up at his doorstep and try to recruit him, thus taking him off the investigation.

Duffy is in it up to his neck, doggedly pursuing a case that may finally prove to be his undoing.

Narrated by: Gerard Doyle; Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins


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Adrian McKinty’s 2014 Ned Kelly award-winning title In The Morning I’ll Be Gone sat firmly atop my Best Books of 2015 list, so I’d been looking forward to Gun Street Girl. I was keen to see how our leading man Sean Duffy was faring back during The Troubles of mid-1980s Northern Ireland.

You ever read Thucydides? I’ll boil him down for you into one easy moral: intergenerational civil war is a very bad thing.

While never short of that mordant humour and habit of sticking it to the establishment that we’ve grown to love, in Gun Street Girl we find Sean approaching certain aspects of his life with an endearing glass-half-full attitude. Even if just for the highly entertaining passages involving Sean Duffy at a church hall mixer, beachside inter-agency cooperation, and his field trip to Oxford with new RUC recruit Lawson, this novel is worth every penny.

‘But don’t you want to see how everything turns out?’ he asks, breathlessly.

‘Farce isn’t my cup of tea,’ I tell him, wind the window up and pull out of the car park. The me in the rear-view mirror shakes his head. That was a silly remark. Far out here, on the edge of the dying British Empire, farce is the only mode of narrative discourse that makes any sense at all.

A compelling mystery

But once again McKinty displays his inimitable skill at switching from light-hearted banter to life-altering (and deeply moving) moments — crafting a compelling crime mystery and web of conspiracies that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages….

… or as in my case, listening to this audiobook superbly narrated by Gerard Doyle, into the wee hours. Combine a character of depth and substance (and an accent) with the right narrator and it can take a story to a whole other level. Gun Street Girl is a perfect example of that.

It’s official, I’m hooked on McKinty’s The Troubles series. I am now looking forward to Book 5 Rain Dogs (that has just recently been published in Australia) becoming available in audiobook.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

UPDATE: We have since gone on to read Rain Dogs and Adrian McKinty’s standalone thrillers The Chain  and The Island.

Get your copy of Gun Street Girl (Sean Duffy #4) from:

Booktopia(Aus)Book Depository | Amazon

Genre: Crime-Detective, Mystery, Thriller, Audio

This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2016.

About the Author, Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. He studied law, politics and philosophy at university. In the early 1990’s he moved to New York City where he worked in bars, bookstores and building sites. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

The first Sean Duffy novel The Cold Cold Ground won the 2013 Spinetingler Award, its sequel I Hear The Sirens In The Street was shortlisted for the 2013 Ned Kelly Award, and Sean Duffy Thriller #3, In the Morning I’ll be Gone , won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award and was picked as one of the top 10 crime novels of 2014 by the American Library Association.