Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Irish Audio: "Gun Street Girl" by Adrian McKinty

Irish Audio: Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty, 2015, download from Wisconsin Digital Library.

I enjoyed this quote a bit. The narrator's American accents were pretty awful though. Accents so awful that I enjoyed them.

I just read my notes from reading McKinty's The Cold, Cold Ground and that novel set me on the same path as this novel. I started reading rereading about The Troubles and all the craziness of of 20+ years of simmering civil war. I had forgotten something McKinty covered in that novel which is that the head of IRA's squad to find, torture, and murder informants (The Nutting Squad) was himself an informant for the English.

Sean Duffy is the 2nd ranking cop at the Carrickfergus police station in Northern Ireland. He has some privilege with his rank but is called out by a colleague to help out with a murder. There is a dispute over jurisdiction and after Duffy sorts that issue he gets involved with the investigation of a murdered married couple and their now missing adult son. The son turns up dead as a cliff diving suicide and a note claiming responsibility for the murder. Duffy and Co. are still suspicious.

More things happen and Duffy and Co. visit England to investigate the son's background. The run into stonewalling and screw-ups. They find Son had a background in weapons. They run into Special Branch. They run into Short Brothers of Northern Ireland which is the last remaining manufacturer of any note in NI. Short Brothers is a weapons manufacturer. Short Brothers is missing Javelin missiles (a super fancy and high tech anti-tank missile).

OK. That's all good and fine. McKinty puts all this standard police procedural stuff together with skill. Secrets are revealed. Danger is threatened. Mysterious people appear. The fun stuff is that McKinty is taking real events and shaping those into the story.

We get the IRA goons. The Ulster Defense goons. The Ulster Volunteer Force goons. The British government goons. The true believers. The con men posing as true believers. The patriots that are nothing but goons and con men.

All of the above includes a look at 1985 NI and England. Thatcher wields all the power and the recession is grinding most people. Short Brothers stays open only by the grace of the government's support and contracts. NI is over a decade into the active war of The Troubles and the English seem perfectly happen to let the blood flow. As one character says, the 25% of the IRA's men are informants or otherwise compromised by the English. The English know most of what is going on with the other side but also participate in keeping it going.

Really great stuff and after a some good guy losses the bad guys pay a price. Of course, the bad guys at the top never really get in trouble.

1. An Oliver North appearance in a character named Connelly. In real life: North traveled to Iran under a Irish passport. McKinty ties in Reagan's arms dealing with Iran. During the same time period there were arrests over missile technology being sold to embargoed South Africa.
2. Short Brothers in N.I. had a simulator stolen in the '80s and Javelin and Blowpipe parts went missing. The novel has Javelin missile system missing-but-actually-stolen for resale to embargoed countries that would then reverse engineer the systems.
3.  The fact that 25% of the IRA were informants or compromised one some way. That the English had turned high ranking IRA men. Never mind all the state sanctioned murders by English soldiers and policemen who moonlighted with terrorist groups.
4. The IRA was no better and would claim the murders of people like Jean McCanville were justified killings of spies during wartime - McCannville who was the 38-year-old widow of 10 children - and then cry foul when armed IRA men would be shot down during IRA attacks instead of being arrested. 5. Claims of national security to hide misdeeds.
6. Of course Reagan knew what was going on with Iran Contra. Don't be fucking dense.
7. Duffy's personal car is a BMW. He checks the undercarriage for bombs every time he needs to drive.
8. Glock love.
9. Pharmaceutical cocaine love.

No comments: