“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The Monday Review: Yet More Baloohaha For Your Buck
Declan Hughes’ The Colour of Blood – discuss. “There’s the tortured, embittered, lost, hard-drinking PI in Ed but for many reasons he may teeter on the edge of the cliché, but he never quite tips over,” says Karen Chisholm at Crime Space. “The book roars along at a rapid pace with revelation and resolution overlapping themselves at every twist.” Meanwhile, Marcel Berlins is impressed at The Times: “Corpses pile up so fast in this tale about a severely dysfunctional Irish family that I began to wonder whether anyone would be alive at the end to pay Loy’s bill, but Hughes writes well and he has created a memorable character.” … The Book Bag compares Siobhan Dowd’s The London Eye Mystery to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: “It’s beautifully written in Ted’s inimitable deadpan style, which is both unintentionally funny and tremendously touching. Although it is suited more to slightly younger readers than Curious Incident … [it] should nevertheless while away a few happy hours for all readers, aged eight to eighty-eight. I loved it,” says Jill Murphy … Over at Obscurorama, the Silver Fox is bigging up Gerard Donovan: “Julius Winsome is a short, sharp novel about love, loss, grief, and man’s cruelty to his fellow man. If this sounds boring, ponderous or pretentious, let me point out that Julius Winsome is also a novel about a man who, when his beloved dog is murdered, picks up a rifle and takes his own revenge. This may just be my favourite read of 2007.” And it’s still only June … “Andrew Nugent, who was formerly a missionary in Africa, brings the inhabitants of Little Africa to life in this highly recommended mystery,” says Karen Spengler about Second Burial over at Book Sense … “Bateman writes with sympathy and humour about how people cope with finding themselves stuck in humdrum lives as they slide into middle age,” says Jake Kerridge at The Telegraph, further noting that, “the co-dedicatee of this novel is ‘my Christian name, gone but not forgotten’” … The Irish American magazine doesn’t seem entirely sure of what it wants to say about Patrick McCabe’s Winterwood, to wit: “If McCabe’s plot seems straight out of a B horror movie, the way he unspools this story is a bit more complicated. The chronology is jumbled, even confusing, creating an impressionistic effect, one which seems to mirror Redmond’s befogged mind. Winterwood is not for everyone, but then again, you could say that about McCabe’s entire body of challenging work.” … No such bush-beating for Paige Lovitt of Readers' Views when it comes to Ruth Dudley Edwards’ latest: “Murdering Americans is a fun book to read … In spite of the humour, the plot is also suspenseful. This is the first book that I have read in this series … I enjoyed it so much, I plan on going back to read the other ones in the series.” Insert your own ‘Lovingitt’ punchline here … Back to The Irish American magazine for Benjamin Black’s Christine Falls: “The prose is lush and poetic, and the pacing is excellent, as the book moves from Ireland to the U.S. (Banville fans will recall that several of his earlier literary novels such as The Book of Evidence had many elements of crime or detective stories.)” Banville? Writing crime stories? Tosh and piffle, sir … Meanwhile, Dispatches From Down Under is less impressed: “I loved other Banville works, and like mysteries, so thought I’d check it out. It was good, but I missed the fabulous literary style of his other works. Don’t know that I'll read another Black novel.” Hmmm, a backhanded compliment, wethinks … “KT McCaffrey’s Bishop’s Pawn [is] a traditional mystery novel … the melodramatic, over-the-top writing actually helps to lend the book authenticity and entertainment value,” says The Irish Times … “The characterisation in this work is well done,” says Reviewing the Evidence of Alex Barclay’s The Caller. “The atmosphere evoked is suitably grisly and the worries of both detectives made convincingly real. The motivation driving the killer is perhaps not quite as believable.” Boo, etc. … Marcus Gipps' Books Wot I Have Read previews Andrew Pepper’s The Revenge of Captain Paine, albeit stingily: “I still enjoyed the book overall – and the last pages, as everything comes together, were hard to put down – I just would have liked the whole experience to have been a bit smoother.” Finally, Ken Bruen had a good weekend – The Irish Times wafted some serious smoke up the nether regions of Cross, thusly: “The strength of Bruen’s work lies in the language and the characterisation. This is noir literature at its best. Bruen is an Irish treasure as a thriller writer, and his international reputation is blossoming also – as it should.” Which is beautiful … but then the Aussie Sunday Times went and printed this: “He brings Galway alive in the same sort of way that James Lee Burke immerses us in the bayous and mean back streets of Louisiana … [Taylor] is one of the most engaging and deeply rendered characters to leap from the pages of a crime novel in recent years … Cross is replete with guilt and redemption, and rich in fatally flawed, realistic characters … [It] moves at a cracking pace, daring you to second-guess why seemingly unrelated events unfold as they do. It is one of the most rewarding reads of the year.” Damn it all, that’s our ‘Ne’er a Cross word spoken’ header gone for a Burton.