Adrian McKinty

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Adrian McKinty
Adrian McKinty.jpg
Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
EducationUniversity of Warwick, University of Oxford
GenreCrime fiction, young adult fiction
Literary movementCeltic New Wave in Crime Fiction
Notable worksThe Chain; The Cold Cold Ground (Sean Duffy series)
Notable awardsEdgar Award, Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award
ChildrenArwynn, Sophie

Adrian McKinty is a Northern Irish writer of crime and mystery novels and young adult fiction, best known for his 2020 award-winning thriller, The Chain,[1] and the Sean Duffy novels set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.[2] He is a winner of the Edgar Award, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, the Macavity Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Barry Award, the Audie Award, the Anthony Award and the International Thriller Writers Award. He has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière.


Early life[edit]

McKinty was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1968. The fourth of five children, he grew up in the Victoria area of Carrickfergus, County Antrim. His father was a welder and boilermaker at the Harland and Wolff shipyard before becoming a merchant seaman. He grew up reading science fiction and crime novels by the likes of Ursula Le Guin, J G Ballard and Jim Thompson. He studied law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford.[3][4]

After graduating from Oxford in 1993, McKinty moved to New York and found work in a number of occupations: security guard, barman, bookstore clerk, rugby coach, door to door salesman and librarian for the Columbia University Library. In 1999, while his wife studied for a Fulbright in Israel, McKinty played loose head prop forward for the Jerusalem Lions Rugby Club.[5] In 2000, he relocated to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher.[3]

Writing career[edit]

After writing several short stories, a novella and book reviews, his debut crime novel Dead I Well May Be was published by Scribner in 2003.[3] The book was followed by two sequels in what would become to be known as the Michael Forsythe Trilogy. Alongside these, McKinty wrote the three books in his Lighthouse Trilogy, a series of science fiction young adult novels set in New York City, his native Ireland, and the fictional planet Altair.

In 2008 McKinty moved with his family to Melbourne, Australia, to become a full-time writer.[6] He found his greatest success and critical acclaim with the Sean Duffy series, following the eponymous Royal Ulster Constabulary Sergeant during The Troubles, beginning with 2012's The Cold Cold Ground.

In 2019, the author made this comment about that novel: "It didn’t sell very well, but it ended up getting the best reviews of my career. I got shortlisted for an Edgar, won a couple of awards, and so then that set me on that path for the next six years of reluctantly, kind of being dragged into writing about Northern Ireland in the 1980s".[7]

The third Duffy book, In the Morning I'll Be Gone, won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award for Best Novel. McKinty has been an especially astute observer of class in fiction.[8]

He also began working as a writer and reviewer for a number of publications including The Guardian,[9] The Sydney Morning Herald,[10] The Washington Post,[11] The Independent,[12] The Australian,[13] The Irish Times[14] and Harpers.[15]

Quitting Writing and The Chain[edit]

McKinty quit writing in 2017 after being evicted from his rented house, citing a lack of income from his novels, and instead took work as an Uber driver and a bartender.[16] Upon hearing of his situation, fellow crime author Don Winslow passed some of his books to his agent, the screenwriter and producer Shane Salerno. In a late-night phone call, Salerno persuaded McKinty to write what would become The Chain.[17] Salerno loaned the author ("advance on the advance") $10,000 to help him survive financially during the process.[18]

The stand-alone thriller was inspired by the chain letters of his youth and contemporary reports of hostage exchanges. McKinty returned to writing after the book landed him a six-figure English-language book deal, and was optioned for a film adaptation by Paramount Pictures. In an interview on CBS McKinty talked about never giving up and took the interviewer, Jeff Glor, to Plum Island, Massachusetts where The Chain is set.[19] The Chain was published in 37 countries.[18]


Patrick Anderson of the Washington Post has praised McKinty as a leading light of the "new wave" of Irish crime novelists along with Ken Bruen, Declan Hughes and John Connolly.[20] He often uses the classic noir tropes of revenge and betrayal to explore his characters' existential quest for meaning in a bleak but lyrically intense universe.[21] Steve Dougherty writing in The Wall Street Journal praised McKinty's use of irony and humour as a counterpoint to the violent world inhabited by McKinty's Sean Duffy character. Liam McIlvanney, writing in the Irish Times, singled out McKinty's lyrical prose style as the defining characteristic of the Duffy series.[22] Some reviewers have criticised the explicit use of violence in his novels.[23] However, in reviewing McKinty's Fifty Grand in The Guardian,[24] John O'Connor called him a "master craftsman of violence and redemption, up there with the likes of Dennis Lehane."[25]

His novel The Dead Yard was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 12 Best Novels of 2006[26] Audible selected Falling Glass as the Best Mystery or Thriller of 2011.[27] In the Morning I'll Be Gone was named as one of the 10 best crime novels of 2014 by the American Library Association.[28]

In 2016, The Guardian included book 5 of the Sean Duffy series, Rain Dogs, about the investigation of a death at Carrickfergus Castle, in their "The best recent thrillers" coverage.[29]

Awards and honours[edit]


Michael Forsythe Trilogy[edit]

  1. Dead I Well May Be (Scribner) 2003
  2. The Dead Yard (Scribner) 2006
  3. The Bloomsday Dead (Scribner) 2007[69]

The Lighthouse Trilogy[edit]

  1. The Lighthouse Land (Abrams) 2006
  2. The Lighthouse War (Abrams) 2007
  3. The Lighthouse Keepers (Abrams) 2008

The Sean Duffy series[edit]

  1. The Cold Cold Ground (Serpents Tail) 2012 ISBN 978-1616147167
  2. I Hear the Sirens in the Street (Serpents Tail) 2013 ISBN 978-1616147877
  3. In the Morning I'll Be Gone (Serpents Tail) 2014 ISBN 978-1616148775
  4. Gun Street Girl (Serpents Tail) 2015 ISBN 978-1633880009
  5. Rain Dogs (Serpents Tail) 2016 ISBN 978-1633881303
  6. Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly (Serpents Tail) 2017 ISBN 1781256926
  7. The Detective Up Late (Blackstone) 2022
  8. Hang On St Christopher" (Blackstone) TBD
  9. The Ghosts Of Saturday Night TBD

Two more Sean Duffy novels to be published by Blackstone Publishing[70][71]

On a blog post dated July 15. 2021 on his oficcial site, McKinty explains that the 7th Sean Duffy novel (The Detective Up Late) may be out in late 2022. He states that The Detective Up Late is in fact finished and Book 8 (Hang On St Christopher) is pretty much done, and that early versions of these two novels have already appeared in German language editions.[72] The Detective Up Late was published in Germany with the new title "Cold Water" in 2019, and Hang On St Christopher the following year under the title Alter Hund, neue Tricks (Old Dog, New Tricks) [73]

Standalone books[edit]

  • Orange Rhymes With Everything (novella) (Morrow) 1998
  • Hidden River (Scribner) 2005
  • Fifty Grand (Holt) 2009
  • Falling Glass (Serpents Tail) 2011
  • Deviant (Abrams) 2011
  • The Sun Is God (Serpents Tail in the UK/Seventh Street Books in the US) 2014
  • The Chain (Orion) 2019
  • The Island (Little, Brown and Company) 2022

As editor[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Janet Maslin, "Here's an Existential Thriller:Pass It On." New York Times 10 July 2919.C6.
  2. ^ Shortall, Eithne (23 June 2019). "Author Adrian McKinty strikes it rich with The Chain reaction". The Times. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Class, Race and the Case for Genre Fiction in the Canon". 27 September 2017.
  4. ^ Doyle, Martin (2 October 2017). "Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty is October's Irish Times Book Club pick". The Irish Times. Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Interview with Malcolm Hillgartner". Archived from the original on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  6. ^ Rowbotham, Jill (23 January 2015). "Adrian McKinty, writer, 46". The Australian. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  7. ^ Myers, Scott (9 July 2019). "Go into The Story Interview: Adrian McKinty". Medium.
  8. ^ Lisa Levy, "Adrian McKinty: Working-Class Hero of Irish Crime Fiction." Lit Hub, 17 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Adrian McKinty". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  10. ^ McKinty, Review by Adrian (28 February 2014). "If the hotel walls had ears, this would be their story". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 13 November 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Five-minute memoir: Adrian McKinty recalls a scary school run during". The Independent. 30 June 2012. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Ice-cold killers run rampant". The Australian. 2 October 2009.
  14. ^ McKinty, Adrian. "Aged 16, I vowed never to read another novel". The Irish Times.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Flood, Alison "From Uber driving to a huge book deal: Adrian McKinty's life-changing phone call" The Guardian, 9 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019
  17. ^ McKinty, Adrian "I gave up writing and found work in a bar... a year and a half later my book was sold to 36 countries" Belfast Telegraph, 13 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019
  18. ^ a b "New Thriller 'The Chain' Has An Origin Almost As Exciting As Its Plot".
  19. ^ Adrian McKinty interviewed by Jeff Glor on CBS This Morning, "The Author behind The Chain." 3 August 2019.
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Anderson, Patrick (2007). The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks, and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction. ISBN 978-0345481238.
  22. ^ "Troubles fiction too urgent and topical to be historical".
  23. ^ "Review - Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty".
  24. ^ O'Connell, John (7 August 2009). "Fifty grand by Adrian McKinty | Book review".
  25. ^ Dougherty, Steve (23 May 2013). "Adrian McKinty's Hard-Boiled Belfast Trilogy".
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Download Audiobooks with".
  28. ^ than 200, Booklist Online: More; Librarians, 000 Book Reviews for; Groups, Book; Association, book lovers-from the trusted experts at the American Library. Year's Best Crime Novels: 2014, by Bill Ott | Booklist Online.
  29. ^ "The best recent thrillers – reviews roundup". The Guardian. 8 January 2016.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ "Le tueur se meurt de James Sallis: meilleur polar de l'année 2013". 29 November 2013.
  37. ^ "This page has moved".
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ "Barry Awards".
  40. ^ "Grand Prix de Littérature Policière 2014 la sélection". 8 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ "Carrick author Adrian McKinty scoops literary accolade for Troubles thriller". Belfasttelegraph.
  43. ^ "20th Annual Audie® finalists announced in thirty categories. Winners announced at the Audie Awards Gala in New York City on May 28th hosted by award winning author Jack Gantos" (PDF). Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  44. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  45. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  46. ^ "The best books of 2015". The Boston Globe.
  47. ^ Burke, Declan. "Irish Times".
  48. ^ "Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce the Nominees for the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Awards" (PDF). Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  49. ^ "Boucercon Nominees". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012.
  50. ^ Adrian McKinty [@adrianmckinty] (9 February 2016). "bloody delighted to be shortlisted for best mystery audiobook! #audies #underdog #blackstoneaudio #mystery" (Tweet) – via Twitter./photo/1
  51. ^ "Best books of 2016". The Boston Globe.
  52. ^ Burke, Declan; Hughes, Declan. "The best crime fiction of 2016". The Irish Times.
  53. ^ "Rowling's Galbraith makes book shortlist". 31 May 2016.
  54. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  55. ^ Rudolph, Janet (20 May 2016). "Mystery Fanfare: CWA Dagger Award Longlists".
  56. ^ "Edgar Award Nominees".
  57. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  58. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  59. ^ Steger, Jason (1 September 2017). "Crime writers Jane Harper and Adrian McKinty win Ned Kelly Award for best novel". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  60. ^ Onatade, Ayo (19 May 2017). "Shotsmag Confidential: CWA Dagger Longlists".
  61. ^ "Archived copy". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  62. ^ "2019 Thriller Awards – International Thriller Writers".
  63. ^ "'The Chain' Is One of the 100 Must-Read Books of 2019". Time.
  64. ^ "Belfast author Adrian McKinty wins major crime fiction prize".
  65. ^ Onatade, Ayo (5 June 2020). "Shotsmag Confidential: CWA Dagger Awards 2020 Longlists Announced".
  66. ^ "2022 Thriller Awards – International Thriller Writers".
  67. ^ "Ned Kelly Awards — Australian Crime Writers Association". Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  68. ^ Macavity Award Winners 2020
  69. ^ Anderson, Patrick (26 March 2007). "Going great guns in Belfast". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  70. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 March 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  71. ^ "New Adrian McKinty — Sean Duffy Novel Out in Fall of 2021 – Deadly Pleasures".
  72. ^ Janet Maslin. "the psychopathology of everyday life - Adrian McKinty's blog". Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  73. ^ "Alter Hund, neue Tricks. Buch von Adrian McKinty (Suhrkamp Verlag)". Retrieved 15 June 2022.

External links[edit]