Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
In 1967, Adrian McKinty was born in Carrickfergus, County Down, a town five miles outside Belfast in British Northern Ireland. Soon after his birth, Northern Ireland entered a violent period known as the Troubles, centered on the clash between the Unionist government in Ulster and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which sought, through militant means, to reunite the six counties in Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland in the southern part of the island. The Troubles, which could at any moment have escalated into a full-scale civil war, seriously affected the daily lives of everyone living in Northern Ireland at that time and no doubt shaped the people’s political and social perspectives. In 1972, when McKinty was only five years old, twenty-six protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland, were shot by members of the British Parachute Regiment. This incident, known as Bloody Sunday, dramatically intensified the violence and caused an increase in enlistment in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was campaigning for Northern Ireland’s independence from Britain. McKinty’s youth was thus shrouded in scenes of horrific violence. The author once described his hometown Carrickfergus, as “old school—no cars, much drunkenness, wives in their place and many, many fights.” Hardly surprising then, that his background in Northern Ireland provides much of the material for his highly suspenseful, brutally violent novels.
McKinty attended Oxford University, where he studied politics and trained as an attorney before immigrating illegally in the 1990’s to New York City, where for five years he worked at various odd jobs, including security guard, teacher, construction worker, mail carrier, bartender, salesman, and rugby coach. At one time, he sold books at the Barnes and Noble on Eighty-second Street and Broadway in New York City. McKinty lived in Harlem in New York City and traveled for a time to India before eventually returning to the United States, where he took a job as a schoolteacher and settled in Denver. As is true with many successful writers, his various jobs and his sojourns in various geographic locales provided McKinty with myriad experiences from which to create interesting settings and unusual, dynamic, bigger-than-life characters.