More of the Same

Publisher’s Weekly has given Adrian McKinty’s new novel HIDDEN RIVER a starred, rave review, describing it as:

… an
outstanding and complex crime novel that should appeal to fans of hard-boiled
Celtic scribes such as Ken Bruen and Ian Rankin.

No wonder, since the hero, Alexander Lawson, shares so many similiarities to Bruen’s Jack Taylor and Rankin’s John Rebus.  Two guesses what Lawson’s story is. He’s  "a
down-and-out ex-cop with a heroin habit,"  booted from the Belfast homicide squad for stealing heroin from an evidence locker.  I bet the police Captain is still out-to-get-him,  and that his personal relationships are a mess… and yet women still are inexplicably drawn to him. Of course, there’s more to this novel than just that…

This is not only an expertly crafted suspense novel but also a revealing
study of addiction.

Of course it is. I haven’t read the book, but I feel like I have already. Many, many times…

4 thoughts on “More of the Same”

  1. I tried Hidden River and found it very slow going. I was disappointed, too, as I loved McKinty’s first book and gave it a rave review.
    This one, though, was dullsville. The plot, what there is of it, isn’t compelling. The characters are flat and uninteresting. “He’s a heroin addict whom women adore!” But how many times can you read about a guy scoring smack and shooting up before you run screaming?
    In McKinty’s first book the writing was much crisper, the plot was terrific, and his style really shone through. It’s hard to tell Hidden River was even written by the same guy.

  2. Second book, David–the first was 1996’s ORANGE RHYMES WITH EVERYTHING. (Normally I wouldn’t be so pedantic, but Scribner really seems to go out of its way to keep people in the dark about this first book. Not sure why–but this bit of info once led to a major reviewer having to correct the error in print, which was amusing…)
    Anyway, I liked HIDDEN RIVER a lot more than David did–that’s why I still have it up as a Pick on the blog. As with Bruen’s work, I thought McKinty’s style and voice trumped whatever cliches may have been present–and since the main character’s actually quite young (25, IIRC) he’s not *really* in the same league as Rebus and Jack Taylor…
    But though I liked the book, I think it would have worked better with about 100 pages cut and the pulp aspects played up far more. There was a lot of meandering.

  3. I read it, too, and completely agree with Sarah. I really enjoyed the novel but found myself wanting to get my creative writing teacher’s hat on to cut passages for the sense of flow and drama I wanted, but that’s not to say I didn’t quite enjoy it, because I did. I just wanted to enjoy it more.

  4. Right, I did know that he’d written one before. And you’re correct that the publisher tried to hush that up. Seems like they may even have used the word debut in publicity materials. (Maybe it was “mystery debut” or something like that.)
    Although I didn’t care for the book, it definitely seems to have a different vibe from Bruen’s stuff.


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