“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 17, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty

Take Parker. Put him in a Cormac McCarthy novel and give him a sense of humour. Okay, now you have the basics of Michael Forsythe, a young Belfast lad knocking around the lower levels of an Irish mob in New York during the early ’90s. Cynical, smart, funny, ambitious and ruthless, Michael has what it takes to rise to the top, although it’s that kind of charisma that finds him taking liberties with the girlfriend of the boss and sent on a drug deal to Mexico, there to be double-crossed, framed and left for dead. Sketched out like that, Dead I Well May Be sounds like a throwback / homage to the B-movie noirs of the ’40s and ’50s, but what makes it one of the most invigorating novels of the last decade is Michael’s distinctive voice as he effortlessly blends poetry, Greek philosophy, quantum physics, social observation, pop music lyrics and a whole lot more in a deadpan delivery that is the narrative equivalent of a Lee Marvin stare. Beautifully detailed, grittily realistic and infused with an intoxicating sense of imminent apocalypse throughout, the first instalment in the ‘Dead’ trilogy (The Dead Yard and The Bloomsday Dead complete the triptych) is the kind of novel to restore your faith in the power of storytelling. Because McKinty doesn’t just tell a great story, which is a skill in itself; he’s a great storyteller, and that’s a rare gift. - Declan Burke

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