“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Monday Review: Because No One Puts Baby In The Corner

You say po-tah-to, etc. “As Poe-esque a dog’s breakfast of a novel as one could imagine. A good part – if not quite three-fifths – is sheer fudge. That is to say, it is sensational, campy, and somewhat absurd genre trash … And yet, despite having a trash factor score that even Poe might have envied, this is an oddly compelling novel,” says Good Reports of Michael Collins’ The Secret Life of E. Robert Pendleton. But Cathy Staincliffe at Tangled Web leans towards po-tay-to: “A wicked parody of the campus novel and a great debunker of the study of literature and the hallowed halls of academia, this is also a satisfying and very funny whodunit.” Meanwhile, Bob the Wordless likes John Connolly’s latest: “If you like a little bit of horror with your noir, read any of his books. Dark, suspenseful, disturbing, lyrical, emotional. That’s all you need to know about his latest Charlie Parker book, The Unquiet.” Gene Kerrigan’s The Midnight Choir gets the hup-ya from Mostly Fiction: “Dark and sad in its vision of humanity, even with the bleak humour that is scattered throughout, this dramatic and tense novel questions the relationship between freedom and responsibility, between order and justice, and between principles and expediency,” says Mary Whipple. Over at the Irish Voice, they’ve been perusing Running Mates: “[Garbhan] Downey has a talent for writing vivid dialogue in the Irish vernacular that makes this outrageous caper work on its own terms,” says Cahir O’Doherty. We humbly concur … “It may sound odd to suggest that a murder novel could be ‘charming’ but this second book by a remarkable Irish author has a warm humanity about it that goes with the nature of the writer … The denouement is extraordinary, but little more can be said … except to hope that Andrew Nugent will continue to produce such splendid and memorable books,” says Tangled Web of Second Burial, while Mary Fister at Mystery Scene Magazine chips in with, “The book is funny, fast-moving, generous and touching, offering convincing evidence that evil respects no borders, but seeking justice can be a multicultural effort.” Very nice indeed … The Sunday Trib likes Brian McGilloway’s Borderlands: “Some great dialogue and a convincing portrait of small town claustrophobia,” say they … Tangled Web has a belated review of Ken Bruen’s Priest: “Bruen eloquently articulates an outsider’s view of his own country, and channels the anger of a nation betrayed by its church. There’s sharp, black, humour here too and moments of heartbreak. A dark and bitter read – perfect for those who like their crime noir.” No arguments here … Over at Euro Polar, Claire Gorrara casts the glad eye over Cormac Millar’s The Grounds: “Comedy and tragedy are kept in a delicate balance … it will be a pleasure to see where next Millar points the spotlight on Irish society,” while Euro Crime’s Maxine Clarke is flippily-floppily impressed by Paul Carson’s Betrayal: “A rattling good read if you are prepared to suspend belief. It is also a quick one: it will take only an hour or two. But don’t expect depth or reflection: what you’ll get is escapist, lightweight action that does not bear too much scrutiny.” Damned with faint praise? Try Literary Illusions on Benjamin Black’s opus: “Christine Falls is not your traditional thriller novel, though it does have plot twists that will surprise and perhaps even shock you. However, the most disturbing part of the book is the lack of empathy that is felt for Quirke … By the end, I felt a supreme sense of loathing for him, and I am sure I am not alone.” Crumbs! No such reservations for Declan Hughes’s debut, The Wrong Kind of Blood, at Detectives Beyond Borders: “The Hughes [series] looks as if it will be a convincing take on the private-eye noir, complete with a randy femme fatale, a missing relative, money, lawyers, and a wisecrack now and then … wryer and darker than the usual run of the species …” says Peter Rozovsky. Which is nice …

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