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The Crack Magazine

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The Island by Adrian McKinty

Northern Irish writer Adrian McKinty made his name writing a series of novels featuring detective Sean Duffy – a detective and Catholic living in a Protestant-dominated area. Set during The Troubles, the books saw McKinty nominated for a clutch of awards and win a devoted following. Problem was, that devoted following wasn’t big enough to allow him to make a living so he jacked it all in to become a bartender and Uber driver. But, with the help of a small advance, he decided to roll the dice one more time and pen a standalone novel, ‘The Chain’, which went on to become an international best-seller. Success! In truth ‘The Chain’, while compulsive, is pretty daft. (The Chain in question is like a chain-letter, but with telephone calls. It involves kidnapped kids and murdering strangers; the kind of thing that crops up in high-concept thrillers but nowhere else.) ‘The Island’ is better. Again, it’s a standalone work and it’s a lovely slice of Aussie Outback noir. It concerns Heather who marries Tom, a widowed doctor who has a young son and a teenage daughter from a previous marriage. They live in the US but when Tom has to fly to Australia for a work conference, they all decide to go – make a holiday of it. But while they’re out in their 4x4 one day, they spot a remote island, which is usually off limits. After talking their way onto a ferry, they get the chance to explore the island. When they get there however, the locals don’t appear as friendly as they first thought. What follows is a tight, well-paced thriller, that keeps the shocks coming. RM