A mindless sectarian psychopath or a loyalist folk hero who took the war to the IRA's front door? The name Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair is synonymous with a killing spree by loyalist terrorists that took Northern Ireland to the brink of civil war. From humble beginnings as a rioter and glue-sniffer on Belfast's Shankill Road, Adair rose through the ranks of the outlawed Ulster Freedom Fighters to head its merciless killing machine, "C Company". Surrounded by a group of trusted friends, his reign of terror in the early 1990s claimed the lives of up to 40 Catholics, picked out at random as Adair's hitmen roamed Belfast. Determined to lead from the front, his men even fired a rocket at Sinn Fein's headquarters, writing themselves into loyalist mythology and embarrassing the IRA in its republican heartland. Its desperate attempts to kill Adair culminated in October 1993, when a bomb on the Shankill Road, intended for the loyalist godfather, claimed the lives of nine Protestant civilians. "Mad Dog" describes in graphic detail Adair's criminal empire and an egomaniac's bloody war against Catholics and anybody else who got in his way.
Adair's friends and enemies talk for the first time about the murders he ordered, his sordid personal life, and his attempts - ultimately disastrous - to become Northern Ireland's supreme loyalist figurehead. Using sensational new material, the authors expose the mass murderers who did Adair's bidding and provide new insights into some of the biggest secrets of the Troubles, including the controversial murder of Patrick Finucane, the Catholic solicitor. With Adair back in jail until 2005, the final chapter of this story has yet to be written. One thing, however, is certain: we have not heard the last from a man who is unlikely to live out the rest of his life in obscurity.
Hugh Jordan has been Ireland correspondent for THE TIMES since October 2001 and is based in Belfast. He was previously a reporter for the newspaper in London before spending two years as its correspondent in Brussels. Hugh Jordan is a reporter for the Sunday World in Belfast specialising in crime. He is the author of the bestselling MILESTONES IN MURDER and has reported on Northern Ireland for more than ten years..