While Ireland’s economic fate seems to shift annually, its consistent output of quality crime fiction has been a reliable genre staple throughout the last decade. And among the cream of the Irish crop is Adrian McKinty – a remarkably gifted writer of relentlessly paced tales that explore some of the darkest terrain of the human soul. McKinty’s signature is a polished prose style that shifts from furious action to lyrical description (or, occasionally, philosophical musing) and back without missing a beat. Falling Glass, McKinty’s latest from the UK’s Serpent’s Tale, lives up to his reputation.
McKinty’s ability to keep a story moving and the reader turning pages seems to grow with each new title. 50 Grand proved that his gift for breathing life into his settings extends beyond the sopping Belfast and gritty New York streets he normally writes about. So I was a little apprehensive to hear that Glass would mark McKinty’s hasty return to familiar sod. Grand left no doubt that McKinty’s range as an artist was growing – so why the step back? McKinty effectively answers that question in Falling Glass’ hilarious intro…
We take a seat at the bar with our new McKinty protag – an Irish tinker and semi-retired gun-for-hire named Killian – and listen as he attempts (in vain) to shame an aloof barkeep at a phony Irish pub for floating four-leaf clovers in his Guinness and calling them shamrocks. This is what I know, the scene seems to say. You want Irish? I’ll show you Irish.
That opener is another reminder of what makes McKinty’s books so much fun to read. On top of the violent antics and seething badassery, there’s a merrily wicked sense of humor that subtly pokes fun at characters without detracting from the suspense. As for the rest of the book – I won’t outline the plot. Rest assured it involves a tense game of cat and mouse, a clash of bad-and-badder men, deftly drawn characters and some of the most tightly choreographed violence you’ll ever read.
In short, everything we’ve grown to expect from Adrian McKinty – a name that should be at the top of any crime lover’s must-read list.