RAIN DOGS by Adrian McKinty, Book Review: A powerful journey

Detective Sean Duffy returns in Rain Dogs, Book 5 in Adrian McKinty’s award-winning The Troubles series.

Rain Dogs Adrian McKintyRain Dogs Synopsis

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. Yet there are a few things that bother Duffy just enough to keep the case file open, which is how he finds out that Bigelow 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?

Audiobook: Narrated by Gerard Doyle, Blackstone Audio, Inc. 


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I joined Adrian McKinty’s award-winning Sean Duffy series at Book 3, In The Morning I’ll Be Gone and knew right away this cultured yet marginalised scrapper with principles was a protagonist I’d follow to the end. That novel and the one that followed, Gun Street Girl, featured in my 2015 and 2016 best books lists.

While all titles in this series set during The Troubles feature McKinty’s skilful melding of historical fact and fiction, in Rain Dogs this is overt and extremely powerful. It came as no surprise to me to read in an interview with Serpents Tail (his UK publisher) that he only has Duffy go to places he himself has actually been to. And of the notable cameos, he explained ‘I met Savile and Ali in real life (at different times) and both made a big impression me’. That’s Jimmy and Muhammad, and in very different ways.

The criminal investigation within Rain Dogs involves several missteps and tangential lines of enquiry – some more compelling than others.


It is the strength of Duffy’s character, and those few of his colleagues he respects, and their wry take on the most dire of situations that elevate this novel. McKinty tackles some very sobering subject matter. Indeed the highlight of this novel for me was Duffy’s personal journey.

If ever there was a series to remind of us of the fragility of life and the ripple effect of an individual’s actions, for better or worse, it is this one.

As with the previous Duffy novels, I was lucky enough to experience Rain Dogs in audiobook format, incomparably narrated by the Audie Award-winning Gerard Doyle (listen to a sample). His differentiation between the many dialects involved is impressive. But it is the dry and impeccably timed delivery of Duffy’s internal monologues that makes these ‘must listen to’ titles.

While Book 6, Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly is already available in ebook, I’ll look forward to the release of Doyle’s audiobook narration.

* We have since also read and reviewed Adrian McKinty’s standalone thrillers The Chain and The Island.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5  — Overall 4.25

Get your copy of Rain Dogs (Sean Duffy #5) from:

Book Depository | Amazon/Audible | Booktopia(Aus)

Genre: Audio, Thriller, Mystery, Crime-Detective

This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2017.

About the Author, Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, and grew up at the height of the Troubles. He studied law, politics and philosophy at university. In the early 1990s 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.

Connect with Adrian at his website or on Twitter.