A few years ago a book popped up on the Guardian Best Reads list called "Fifty Grand". Written by a Northern Irish writer called Adrian McKinty, it's about a Cuban police woman determined to get to the US and find the man that killed her father. It sounded great in the review. I devoured it in a day and immediately sort out his earlier work. I'd found one of those special writers that you tell people about in the pub, and when you see that person again they have brought up everything they've written too. His prose is tough, his ear for dialogue is pitch perfect and the books have more twists and turns than a Blackpool big dipper.
Mckinty's new novel "The Cold, Cold Ground", doesn't disappoint, in fact it's probably his best to date. Set in 1981 in Carrickfergus at the height of "the troubles" we follow D.S. Sean Duffy as he tries to hunt down a serial killer whose motives seem to be sexual rather than political - the victims are all gay men with segments of music scores inserted into their person. A Catholic in a predominantly Protestants area, Duffy is an outsider who will stop at nothing to bring peace and find the killer. It's a shocking story that moves at breakneck speed about a time and place that most writers have ignored.
Mckinty is a rare presence in the crime genre, he writes with a wit, lyricism and intelligence that the majority of British and Irish crime writers lack - he reminds me more of Daniel Woodrell than Ian Rankin. His heroes are canny scrappers on the edge of their worlds, trying to right the wrongs they have been confronted with. And like Ellroy and Peace he has a purpose other than to entertain ( although he does that fantastically) he uses history to tell his truth about political corruption, the abuse of women and children or just the plain wrongness of society.
So get on amazon , order the "The Cold, Cold Ground" and then get down the pub and tell everyone about your secret, cause I suspect he won't be a secret for very much longer.