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The Cold Cold Ground (Detective Sean Duffy #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,911 Ratings  ·  810 Reviews
Audio CD is 10 hours and 3 minutes long.

Northern Ireland, spring 1981. Hunger strikes, riots, power cuts, a homophobic serial killer with a penchant for opera, and a young woman's suicide that may yet turn out to be murder: on the surface, the events are unconnected, but then things--and people--aren't always what they seem. Detective Sergeant Duffy is the man tasked with
Audio CD, 11 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2012)
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M De Désastre Since Sean Duffy does not really care about his religion unless it affects him by being called a "fenian" I would not say that the Fact that McKinty…moreSince Sean Duffy does not really care about his religion unless it affects him by being called a "fenian" I would not say that the Fact that McKinty is not Catholic himself really takes away any of the credibility. I also think that McKinty wanted Duffy to be a outsider with a more neutral point of view. He does not really care about politics, he only shares information with the reader, never really taking one side or the other.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adrian McKinty won the 2014 Spinetingler Award for Cold, Cold Ground for best crime novel, and is book one in a series. It’s a gritty heartfelt story set during the uprising and turmoil of Northern Island in the eighties. Sean Duffy, a Catholic detective living among the Protestants, is investigating a bizarre murder while striving to survive during a horrifying time in his country. Duffy’s dry wit lightens the mood of the plot and keeps the story flowing along smoothly. It is noteworthy that th ...more
4.5 stars

“The riot had taken on a beauty of its own now. Arcs of gasoline fire under the crescent moon. Crimson tracer in mystical parabolas. Phosphorescence from the barrels of plastic bullet guns. A distant yelling like that of men below decks in a torpedoed prison ship. The scarlet whoosh of Molotovs intersecting with exacting surfaces. Helicopters everywhere: their spotlights finding one another like lovers in the Afterlife. And all this through a lens of oleaginous Belfast rain.”

Just anot
James Thane
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Cold Cold Ground introduces Sean Duffy, a Catholic police sergeant in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. As a Catholic who joined the mostly Protestant police force, Duffy is essentially under suspicion--and threat--from both sides in the long-running "Troubles" pitting Catholics and Protestants against each other in Northern Ireland.

The story is set at the height of the Troubles, in 1981. IRA prisoners are engaged in a hunger strike in protest to recent actions of the hated British government,
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We had the very good fortune a couple of years ago to meet and visit with a Goodreads friend in Ireland ( My wife's grandmother immigrated from northern Ireland in the late 19th century and since things had calmed down in Ireland we flew over to find her ancestral home. Tony and Linda were extraordinarily helpful in finding the area and Tony provided a walking tour of Belfast and Bellaghy (a town he said he was still a little reluctant to visit given it ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why haven't I discovered Adrian McKinty before 2017!!!!

He nails it in this book
The setting and the whole nine yards.

The reader is transported to the Irish Troubles. To Belfast of 1981. The Librarian told me when I checked this book out that a few of the guys who took this book said that what they lived through in Ireland back the is almost the same atmosphere in the book.

An killer who enjoys listening opera, the classic languages and is killing homosexuals. Homosexuality was a crime in Northern
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this, but I stopped short of thoroughly enjoying it. The depiction of Northern Ireland on the brink of all-out civil war was incredibly well done, as was the 1981 setting. You really got a sense of despair, danger and dissolution. However, while the deeply conservative nature of all sides in the conflict was realistically portrayed, it left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable in the references to the victims of the killings.

The writing itself was somewhat variable. McKinty clearly has re
George K.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Άλλο ένα δυνατό και ενδιαφέρον αστυνομικό θρίλερ της Βρετανικής Σχολής που συναντούσα συνεχώς μπροστά μου σε διάφορες λίστες με τα καλύτερα σύγχρονα αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα, κυκλοφορεί επιτέλους και στα ελληνικά, από τις εκδόσεις Οξύ. Φυσικά δεν άργησα ούτε στιγμή να το αγοράσω, αλλά και να το διαβάσω. Εκτός όλων των άλλων, ήθελα να διαβάσω και μια ιστορία που διαδραματίζεται στην Βόρεια Ιρλανδία της δεκαετίας του '80.

Στο πρώτο αυτό βιβλίο της αστυνομικής σειράς του ΜακΚίντι, γνωρίζουμε τον νεα
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brenda by: Carolyn
Detective Sean Duffy had only been in Carrickfergus near Belfast for around two weeks, and already the hostilities and murders were in his face. It was 1981 and the Troubles were in full swing. Amidst the hunger strikes where already one person had died, the murder of two homosexuals seemed to branch off in a different direction for Duffy and his small team. But their investigation hit a brick wall at every turn.

When a missing girl turned up dead, Duffy wondered if there was any link. The viole
 Li'l Owl
This book is the first in the
Detective Sean Duffy Series And
Book One of The Troubles Trilogy.

First, a bit of history. This is just for those of you who did not do well in high school history class like myself (to say the least). However, I believe that you're never to old to learn, and for that alone I enjoyed this book very much. I definitely got a crash course about the times of Northern Ireland's "Troubles" during 1968-1998. I researched this on Google and found one site that explains it su
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, 2017
We drank our whiskeys. It was the good stuff and it tasted of salt, sea, rain, wind and the Old Testament.

3.5 stars. I've been looking for something to fill in for my Tana French addiction until her next novel, and this book was recommended. I can see why, although there are also a lot of differences. The 80's Ireland setting in TCCG is fascinating, and I loved how this context formed such a big part of the story. I know very little about The Troubles and this was a great introduction. The plot
Susan Johnson
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novel had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat. It was that well written and took that many curves and twists that I never saw the ending coming. It was set in Carrickfergus, just out of Belfast in the 1980's. Northern Ireland was going through the troubles and there were a lot of riots. Prisoners were on hunger strikes, people looked under their cars for bombs and people were divided into Catholic and Protestant camps.

In the middle of this two homosexuals were found murdered. Sean
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a great read this was! I absolutely loved McKinty's evocation of life in the 1980's and how he effortlessly wove in the political and social backdrop of not only Ireland at the time, in the grip of political unrest, the tyrannical actions of Thatcher and a general climate of fear but the little additions like the Yorkshire Ripper trial and the impending nuptials of Charles and Diana. I also liked the guest appearance of one Mr G Adams during Duffy's visit to the Maze! I thought the characte ...more
Hunger strikes in Ireland, Bobby Sands has just died. Princess Di marrying Prince Charles is the rage in England. A young peeler (cop), university educated and bright, is determined to solve what appears to be the murders of two gay men despite "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. McKinty does an excellent job capturing the era. The book's high spot is its contrast of catholic Sean Duffy, trying to do his job, indulging his youthful sexuality, growing seriousness, and dealing with the violence wh ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Dual review with Swedish first and then English!


Kall, kall jord tar oss tillbaka till 80-talets Nordirland. Ett land med stora religiösa motsättningar och där det just nu pågår en hungerstrejk i fängelset i Belfast, där fångarna kräver bättre villkor. Mitt i allt detta hittas en man mördad och det blir upp till kriminalinspektör Sean Duffy att försöka finna ut vem gärningsmannen är. När sedan en annan man hittas mördad med tydliga kopplingar till den första kroppen blir oron att
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: GR friends
Shelves: irish-crime
I enjoyed reading this book and give it a solid 4 stars. Sean Duffy is a Catholic police detective in the Northern Ireland RUC(Royal Ulster Constabulary). The RUC is a mostly Protestant force and the IRA has been known to target Catholic RUC officers. Some of his fellow officers are wary of him because he is a Catholic.
It is against this background that Sean is called to the scene of a grisly murder. The victim has been shot dead and 1 hand has been cut off. The investigation reveals that the vi
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This is quite good. Some really fabulous writing... energy, intense, Duffy is an interesting character - reminds me a little of William Pettersen in To Live and Die in LA, for some reason. Set in Ireland, 1981, in the middle of a war zone... sociopaths abound... Duffy's a catholic homicide detective in an all Proddy police district..., listens to the Ramones, Duffy does...; lots of Irish in the language -- and convincingly -- there's even a short glossary at the back... excellent plot... lots of ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sean Duffy is a cop tasked with solving a serial killer who targets gay men and taunts the police with cryptic messages. Coupled with a seemingly unrelated suicide and heat from above to close the cases (Duffy is yet to solve a murder as we're introduced to him), Duffy is instantly against the odds.

Whilst I'm familiar with author Adrian McKinty's novels, this was my first experience in listening to an audio book and I've got to say I found the experience rather pleasant. Narrator Gerard Doyle is
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this was depressing, but really good. Great view of early 1980's Belfast Ireland. Sad & interesting for what it shows of life at the time. (Paraffin heaters, daily terrorism, gangs, etc.) This really made me feel the pain, too. Duffy is a very believable cop, a Catholic in a Protestant area dealing with several murders & crazy complicated politics. To make things worse, it involves homosexuals in a time & place where they were less than human to most. Told in the first person wit ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sean Duffy is a young catholic police detective living in the midst of protestants in Carrickfergus, near Belfast in 1981 during the civil disturbance known as The Troubles. Tolerated by his neighbours, he does his best to uphold law and order in the midst of a war zone. When two homosexuals are found murdered he believes he has a case for once not related to the IRA and the current problems but it was never going to be that easy in the current climate of unrest and violence.

Adrian McKinty was h
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
I had never heard of this author, but he was recommended to me on one of the discussion boards. I am so glad that I followed the recommendation and read this book. A taut,gripping well written mystery/ thriller.I won't go into the synopsis except to say that there is a lot going on in the book. It is a multi layered story and people and events were not how they appeared.
I loved the references to the 60's music, and I enjoyed the quips/ dialogue of Sean Duffy. I can not imagine living in a time/c
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great setting, characters and extremely well ploted. Definitely continuing this series.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, crime, thriller
Unlicensed to kill...

It's May 1981, and Northern Ireland is on the brink of a complete breakdown of law and order, possibly even civil war. IRA prisoners in the Maze are on hunger strike, and when the first one dies the streets erupt in violent riots. In the midst of this mayhem, a man is found dead with his hand cut off. At first the police assume the victim was an informer, punished by one or other of the bunches of murderous nutters who held sway in NI at that time. However, when a second bod
Scott Miles
I have mixed feelings on this book, but I am a big believer in actions speaking louder than words, so here are two actions that you should know:

1) I had a hard time putting this book down, and read it in about 4 sessions because it is definitely a page-turner and leaves you wanting more.
2) Within a couple of hours of finishing this book, I ordered the next one in the series

That would indicate that I really liked it, so keep that in mind.

I won't go into the plot much or give away any spoilers. Ju
Julian King
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Adrian McKinty is a man who has drunk of the Pierian spring, and wants us to know it. But, as he might put it, doubtless explicitly mentioning Alexander Pope on the way, this writing well exemplifies that poet's adage that a little learning is a dangerous thing, for what learning there is here is worn, shall we say, rather heavily. I wonder are any of his readers as impressed as McKinty is by his range of reference, from ancient Greek mythology - and even orthography!! - via Cicero to Puccini an ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: A beach read.
The first in a trilogy centered around Sean Duffy. I won’t be reading the next two! A very sad and disappointing piece of work. I have read and generally liked McKinty’s prior works. It centers around two different cases. One was back to back murders of two men who were both homosexual. The other involved a woman who was found hanged and who may or may not have killed herself. I really prefer mysteries and thrillers which are good literature as well. Otherwise, they are nothing but a beach read. ...more
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I think McKinty does a masterful job of constructing his mystery and integrating the historical/cultural elements. While I enjoyed Ratlines by Stuart Neville, I thought it wasn't quite as "tight."

Points (big and small) that I liked:

(1) I like that McDuffy (the main detective) appears to have a sense of humor and not be your stereotypical alcoholic loaner detective that you see in so many books/movies

(2)I loved the mention of the use of ordnance survey maps to help solve crimes

(3) The ending/twis
Fred Shaw
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I will try and convey how powerful this novel is as best I can. However, I’m not sure I can transfer the intensity of this story to paper. If you like complex, fast moving narrative, interwoven with historical significance, murder investigations and unbelievable setting and characters, you will like this book.

The Cold, Cold, Ground, Audiobook, by Adrian McKinty, published 2012, Blackstone Audio, Inc., Gerard Doyle, narrator. The author was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, lived there until the
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Northern Ireland, spring 1981. With hunger strikes, riots, power cuts, a homophobic serial killer with a taste for opera. Detective Sergeant Duffy is the man tasked with trying to get to the bottom of it.
Then a young woman's suicide that may turn out to be murder. On the surface, the events are unconnected, but then things--and people--aren't always what they seem.
It's no easy job--especially when it turns out that one of the victims was involved with the IRA but was last seen discussing busin
Todd Simpson
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, I loved it. I could tell by reading the blurb and reviews that I was going to enjoy this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Adrian McKinty has done a marvellous job with this detective thriller. Sean Duffy is a fantastic character, and I quiet enjoyed that he’s a little bit floored, and never gives up. A great story from start to finish.
Detective Sergeant Sean Duffy certainly has a tough job working for the police in Northern Island, and especially since he’s very close to Belfast. Then
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adrian McKinty is one of my go-to writers. He never lets me down and this book is no exception. This is a dark and convoluted story set in a very dark time in Northern Ireland. Great but heart wrenching stuff.
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Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1968 and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 onwards Denver, Colorado where he taught high sch ...more
More about Adrian McKinty

Other books in the series

Detective Sean Duffy (6 books)
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  • In the Morning I'll be Gone (Sean Duffy #3)
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“It's been my experience that only children never learn when to keep their fucking traps shut. An older brother would have beat that out of you.” 16 likes
“Human beings are pattern-seeking animals. It's part of our DNA. That's why conspiracy theories and gods are so popular: we always look for the wider, bigger explanations for things.” 11 likes
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