Adrian McKinty

Rules, what rules?

There are no rules.

Writing=no rules.

Maybe “best practices.”

Maybe “clear, strong suggestions.”

Maybe “start here if you don’t know how else to write.”

Adrian McKinty breaks a thick book full of rules in “Fifty Grand.”

The style is blunt like this.

A quick, six-line sample:

“Roll after roll.

He starts to fight and buck.

Another loop over his mouth.

I close the trunk.

Muffled screams.

I don’t feel good about this.”

Good energy in those written punches, but McKinty uses it with atmospheric stuff too.

The opening and closing scenes on the lake are memorable.


Minor quibble: both drag on a bit too long.

But even when it’s not action, McKinty will often build a list.

Take my word for it.

Sights and sounds.

The first three chapters of “Fifty Grand” positively crackle.

Then a relatively flat middle sequence: the investigation.

Fifty GrandGetting Detective Mercado (a terrific female lead character, an undercover Cuban) into Colorado is gripping and the end packs a wallop.

A cold, wet wallop.

The middle sagged.

The setting for this is fictional Fairview, Colorado.

Fairview felt like noview.

(I wonder why McKinty didn’t choose a real town? He lived in Colorado for ten years…)

I sort of pictured Fairview as Steamboat, I sort of pictured Telluride but the town was fairly close to Wyoming so, well, Steamboat without the Hollywood stars.

(Another complaint: The extremely corrupt cops were also just a bit too one-note, too far gone.)

But that punchy, no-rules style.

It keeps you going.

Major theme of “Fifty Grand:” Power makes everyone a tyrant.

Good theme.

Neat style.

“Fifty Grand” could have been more.

Gotta read McKinty’s earlier one now.

Who can resist a title like that? “Dead I Well May Be.”

What grammar teacher didn’t square McKinty up straight?

The answer: probably nobody.

Overall, a good thing.

3 responses to “Adrian McKinty

  1. Mark

    Dont know how I missed this back in August, thanks for the review brother, I appreciate it.

    I think the reason I didnt just pick Telluride was a libel worry especially in the UK where the defamation law is much weaker. The chief of police was based on a couple of real people is all I’m willing to say here…


  2. I can see the pickle you might be in, Adrian. Thanks for the compelling and memorable book.

  3. Pingback: Adrian McKinty, “The Island” | Don't Need A Diagram

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