Third degree: Adrian McKinty

Matthew McConaughey in True Detective

Adrian McKinty is one of the most acclaimed new crime writers from across the Irish Sea, routinely mentioned alongside Ken Bruen, Declan Hughes and John Connolly. His series of edgy thrillers about Catholic detective Sean Duffy and the character’s exploits while working in the none-too-comfortable surroundings of the RUC during the Troubles, and later MI5, are developing a big following and have been hugely praised by reviewers. These include The Cold Cold GroundIn the Morning I’ll Be Gone and his latest, Gun Street Girl. Here, he reveals his favourite TV shows, characters and authors…

Adrian McKinty

Your favourite British crime series or thriller on TV?
Can I cheat and have a tie between two? Well I’m going to anyway: I really enjoyed The Fall, even though I had real reservations about the denouement of season 2! It was nice to see an ordinary crime drama set in Belfast, with brilliant acting and a tight economical script. My other favourite is Broadchurch. What a terrific bit of writing that was – unpacking the threads from an entire society with great little subplots and an ending that – although I saw coming (and which strangely involved zero detective work) – was very powerful none the less. Great stuff (and I LOVED the creepy psychic).

Favourite US crime series or thriller on TV?
True Detective. I so didn’t want to watch this when I heard it involved an alleged conspiracy of satanists, which is a pretty hacky premise. But then I watched the pilot and was blown away by its audacity: three timelines, the philosophy of pessimism and entropy, extraordinary acting and cinematography… And then the series only got darker, deeper and better. Wow.

Do you have a favourite Irish TV crime series?
I’ll throw The Fall in there too.

Top TV cop?
Gotta be Columbo. Outwitting the rich and famous with the power of his mind alone.

Which unfilmed book/character should be made into a TV drama?
I’m shocked that they haven’t made Ellroy’s Underworld trilogy into anything…

If one of your novels were filmed, who would you cast to be the hero? 
Fassbender would be a great Sean Duffy.

What’s your guilty pleasure on TV? 
I don’t believe in the concept of guilty pleasures to be honest. I like what I like and I don’t feel any shame or guilt. One thing I like that no one else seems to like in my family is the programme Mighty Ships? Heard of that? Didn’t think so. Could just be a niche interest there.

Least favourite cop show/thriller? 
Not a fan of British nostalgia mystery shows set in the 1950s or 40s when there were no black people and poor people knew their place…

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Do you prefer The Wire orThe Sopranos
Haven’t seen The Wire and I – gasp – think The Sopranosis over rated. All those tedious scenes with Carmela and the priest or the annoying kids… I’ll say Breaking Bad.

Marple/Poirot or Sherlock Holmes? 
Marple. Despite the answer I gave two questions ago. I love cops who solve things with that big gray muscle between their ears and Miss M does that in spades…

Wallander – BBC or the Swedish version?
Gotta go with Ken Branagh. Love him.

US or British or Euro television crime dramas?
They are quite different animals but nothing I’ve seen recently on Brit or Euro TV can compete with True Detective and Breaking Bad…

Your favourite crime/thriller writers?
Rankin, Ellroy, Peace, Neville, McGilloway, Woodrell.

Have you read a crime novel that’s really knocked you out lately?
I’m reading a sci-fi crime novel called Great North Road that I’m very much enjoying, set in a future Newcastle…

Favourite non-crime/thriller author?
Adrian McKinty, Gun Street GirlJG Ballard or Angela Carter.

Favourite crime movie or thriller?
Miller’s Crossing.

You’ve been framed for murder. Which fictional detective/sleuth would you want to call up?
I’d want Marple. I think she has the best brain of all of them.

• Adrian’s latest Sean Duffy novel, Gun Street Girl, is available from Amazon. His blog is also an interesting and enjoyable read, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

See also CrimeTimePreview’s Q&A with Ian Rankin

Prisoners of War, Radio 4’s Bookclub, The Killing novel, Lewis to end?

Prisoners of War, the acclaimed Israeli series on which C4’s Homeland was based, has started on Sky Arts (Thursdays, 9.30pm). It’s a nifty bit of scheduling by the channel, capitalising on the huge success of the Damian Lewis/Claire Danes thriller. What’s the original like? It’s subtitled, and, like watching Swedish/Danish series, has the freshness of seeing a drama from a totally alien television/national culture. But it is also tense, the opener focusing on the joy and dismay that the return of two Israeli soldiers, imprisoned in Lebanon for 17 years, causes their loved ones. Uri’s girlfriend, Nurit, has married his brother, and Nimrod’s two children have grown up. And there is, of course, subtle ambivalence about how close the soldiers got to their captors…

• I’ve interviewed British author David Hewson over on the Huffington Post UK about his new novelisation of The Killing. It’s a big book, intricate, with a new twist to the story’s end. ‘This was not a standard TV tie-in,’ he told me. ‘It is different in significant ways.’ The book will be launched at CrimeFest in Bristol later this month. Read all about it here.

• Radio 4’s Bookclub website has a terrific online archive of interviews with writers, including some great crime novelists talking about their big books. If you’re in the UK, check out the likes of Elmore Leonard (on Rum Punch), John Le Carré (Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; Smiley’s People), Donna Leon (Death at La Fenice) and James Ellroy (The Black Dahlia).

• My fave website at the moment is The Psychopathology of Everyday Life by author Adrian McKinty – who’s got a terrific new book out at present called The Cold Cold Ground. His views are provocative and he covers everything from Game of Thrones to crime writers to beer. Well worth exploring.

• Personally, I think Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. Norman Mailer in Oswald’s Tale made a convincing psychological case for lone psycho-loser making one last throw of the dice to be noticed by the world. The conspiracy fever around Mafia-Cubans-Military-Industrial-Complex-Russians-CIA-Lyndon-Johnson-Little-Green-Men assassins really belongs in The X Files. A new, fascinating little guide to the grisly history of political/religious murders, The Classic Guide to Famous Assassinations (the first of a Classic Guide series), offers a balanced assessment, recalling that tests showed it was possible to hit a moving target at 200m in 5.6 seconds with a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle etc. And did you know that when Julius Caesar was asked what kind of death was the best, he said, ‘Let it come swiftly and unexpectedly.’ He was stabbed 23 times the next day. Now that is spooky.

• So is this the end for Lewis? While the new sixth series starts next Wednesday (16 May, 8pm), ITV1 has been prodded to say it ‘is committed to Lewis’ after the show’s creator told Radio Times that it could be coming to an end. Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse stories from which Lewis was spun, said ITV would probably do one more series and did not think Lewis the character ‘can go on much longer’. And Kevin Whately, who has been in the role for 26 years, said recently he thought it might not last much longer as he is now reaching police retirement age.

So what do you think? Should they carry on making Lewis?

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