Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly (Det. Sean Duffy)
by Adrian Mckinty
Cover Artist: Images: Silas Manhood Photography
Review by Mel Jacob
Seventh Street Books Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781633882591
Date: 07 March 2017
Shawn Duffy, a talented Catholic cop in 1980s Northern Ireland, cannot gain promotion because of his religion. That does not stop him from solving a murder and looking into the disappearance of the victim's wife. In the process he falls afoul of the IRA and even his own Chief, which endangers his family and threatens his life.
Police at the Station, a police procedural, is filled with gritty details of the trials and difficulties of a Catholic cop trying to do his job when his supervisors just want the crossbow murder of a drug dealer attributed to the IRA. Duffy and his small loyal crew look for motives beyond a simple drug killing, especially after the Romanian wife of the victim disappears. Duffy is convinced she was a courier carrying drugs from her homeland for her husband.
Clues to the murder and the wife's disappearance are few. A car was seen shortly before the murder, but the owner, an IRA member, was in the hospital. Despite an oblique newspaper article that implies an IRA associated group might have killed the victim, Duffy remains unconvinced.
Meanwhile, his Protestant girlfriend, the mother of their child, wants to leave the neighborhood where they live. Her wealthy father has offered them a home in a new development. Duffy at first rejects the idea, but after an attack on their home he begins to reconsider. Meanwhile, she returns to her family home to think over their relationship and takes their child with her.
With his loyal crew, his best friend and a young go-getter, they sift through the evidence. A crossbow is an unusual murder weapon. Eventually Duffy's continued probing puts his life in danger and makes him an IRA target. Worse, the IRA may have a mole in the police force.
This is the sixth book about Shawn Duffy and the troubles in Northern Ireland by Adrian McKinty. The erudite police detective has a surprising breath of knowledge and a well honed sense of irony. The characters are well drawn and the narrative compelling as Duffy and his crew investigate a murder that has roots in the past. Witty dialogue and frank language abound.