Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
|Education||University of Warwick, University of Oxford|
|Genre||Crime fiction, young adult fiction|
|Literary movement||Celtic New Wave in Crime Fiction|
|Notable works||The Chain; The Cold Cold Ground (Sean Duffy series)|
|Notable awards||Edgar Award, Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award|
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,and the Sean Duffy novels set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. 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.
McKinty was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1968. The fourth of five children, he grew up on the Victoria Council Estate in 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.
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.In 2000, he relocated to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher.
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.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.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".
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.
He also began working as a writer and reviewer for a number of publications including The Guardian ,The Sydney Morning Herald, The Washington Post, The Independent, The Australian, The Irish Times and Harpers.
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.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. Salerno loaned the author ("advance on the advance") $10,000 to help him survive financially during the process.
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.The Chain was published in 37 countries.
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.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. 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. Some reviewers have criticised the explicit use of violence in his novels. However, in reviewing McKinty's Fifty Grand in The Guardian, John O'Connor called him a "master craftsman of violence and redemption, up there with the likes of Dennis Lehane."
His novel The Dead Yard was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 12 Best Novels of 2006Audible selected Falling Glass as the Best Mystery or Thriller of 2011. In the Morning I'll Be Gone was named as one of the 10 best crime novels of 2014 by the American Library Association.
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.
Two more Sean Duffy novels to be published by Blackstone Publishing
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