Adrian McKinty Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Adrian McKinty has joined the long line of talented writers to come out of Ireland. In all of his novels, he exposes readers who might know little about Irish history to the long war waged in Ireland between Roman Catholics and Protestants. In particular, McKinty’s fast-paced, intensely violent mystery novels provide insights into a dark period in Irish history known as the Troubles, during which Republican and Loyalist paramilitary organizations in British-ruled Northern Ireland engaged in various forms of violence from the late 1960’s until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. McKinty’s characters—especially his dark, popular protagonist Michael Forsythe, who illegally immigrates to New York City to escape the Troubles in Northern Ireland—are all products of this violent era in Irish history. McKinty, who has been described by crime-fiction specialist Otto Penzler as “the super-talented Irishman,” joins a number of Irish writers who have recently gravitated to crime writing such as John Banville, the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize for The Sea. Irish writer Frank Court, author of Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir (1996), describes McKinty as “a cross between American mystery writer Mickey Spillane and Damon Runyon.”

McKinty’s novels contribute to an emerging genre known as Irish noir, which, scholars suggest, has been created by the collision of the older political and social violence with the newer crime-based violence produced as a result of the prosperous economic era that made Ireland into the Celtic Tiger.

McKinty’s Dead I Well May Be (2003), which was adapted to screen, was short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. His The Dead Yard (2006) was named one of the fifteen best novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Anderson, Patrick. “A Hero and His Heroin.” Review of Hidden River, by Adrian McKinty. The Washington Post, December 20, 2004, p. C04. Describes how aspects of McKinty’s own life in Northern Ireland play a major role in the development of his writing.

Anderson, Patrick. The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks, and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction. New York: Random House, 2007. Provides a short biography of McKinty as well as an anaysis of Dead I Well May Be.

Bruen, Ken, ed. Dublin Noir: The Celtic Tiger Versus the Ugly American. New York: Akashic Books, 2006. Although McKinty is not a featured writer, this volume of nineteen short stories contains stories by a mix of American and Irish writers that present similar characters and noir depictions of Dublin’s violent underworld that will please McKinty’s readers and be relevant to the author’s work.

Kee, Robert. The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism. Long book covering Irish history from the first stirrings of Irish nationalism to the Protestant Plantations, the Great Famine, the beginning of the Fenian Movement, and the Irish Free State. Authoritative and comprehensive, Kee’s book provides a historical framework to better understand the complex history that informs McKinty’s novels.

McCarthy, Jerry. “Literature: The Dark Side of the Boom.” The Sunday Times, June 4, 2006. Literary essay that illustrates how economic prosperity in contemporary Ireland has given rise to the brutal crime and violence inherent in McKinty’s Irish noir novels.

McKinty, Adrian. “Irish Heroin Addict in America.” Interview by Patrick Millikin. Publishers Weekly 251, no. 49 (December 6, 2004): 44. Interesting interview with McKinty that provides biographical information and insights into the author’s novels.

Sennett, Frank. Review of The Bloomsday Dead, by Adrian McKinty. Booklist 103, 7 (December 1, 2006): 28. Favorable review praises the book for its action and characterization, although the reviewer feels Dead I Well May Be is a superior book.