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A Catholic cop tracks an IRA master bomber amidst the sectarian violence of the conflict in Northern Ireland The early 1980s. 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....

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* After an unfortunate bit of political tangling (I Hear the Sirens in the Street, 2013), Royal Ulster Constabulary detective Sean Duffy has been demoted, and his superiors are primed to cut him from the force. Duffy's fortune shifts when an IRA breakout from the Maze prison destroys a relatively quiet period in Belfast's urban war. Dermot McCann, an IRA leader, explosives expert, and Sean's childhood friend, is among the escapees. So it's only mildly surprising when MI5 approaches Sean, promising to restore his good favor in the RUC if he can find McCann. When Sean tracks down McCann's ex-wife, he shakes loose the glimmer of a lead. Mary Fitzpatrick, McCann's former mother-in-law, pledges to reveal McCann's location if Sean can solve the locked-room mystery surrounding her youngest daughter's death. She's convinced that Lizzie was murdered, but the evidence leans heavily toward an accident and even Sean's sharp wit and nimble reasoning can't keep the case from stalling. This powerful conclusion to the Troubles trilogy is guaranteed to leave readers wondering what particular brand of authorial sadism motivated McKinty to abbreviate this full-sensory tour of 1980s Belfast with only a trilogy. The Troubles' first two novels were exceptionally smart police procedurals, and McKinty applies the same expertise here, contrasting a classic locked-room puzzle with the gritty, violent Belfast backdrop.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The explosive conclusion to McKinty's Troubles trilogy (after 2013's I Hear Sirens in the Street) combines an IRA thriller with a locked-room mystery. By late 1983, Sean Duffy has fallen on hard times. Drummed out of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, he has a chance at redemption when MI5 literally comes knocking at his door. MI5 offers Sean back his rank of detective inspector if he will find an IRA bomb maker, Dermot McCann, who broke out of prison and then trained in a Libyan camp before disappearing. Dermot's ex-mother-in-law, Mary Fitzpatrick, agrees to reveal Dermot's location if Sean will investigate her daughter Lizzie's death, which the previous investigating officers were certain was an accident, because, after all, Lizzie was alone in a locked pub when she died. Though it's the end of the trilogy, readers will hope that this won't be the last they see of Sean Duffy. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Creative Book Services. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Belfast's DS Sean Duffy must balance his background (Irish Catholic) and his job (he's currently with MI5). Hunting for an IRA bomber requires his immediate attention. Set in the 1980s, this is the concluding volume in a gritty trilogy (after I Hear the Sirens in the Street). (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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