“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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Thick Plottens: Yep, ’Tis Yet Another Mid-Week Mash-Up, To Be Sure

Has crime fiction lost Pauline McLynn to the perfumed Babylon of civilised scribbling forever? Even the title of her latest, Bright Lights and Promises, suggests as much … to say nothing of the cover. Was it something we said, Pauline? Something we didn’t say? How come you talk more to the Sunday Trib people than you talk to us these days? Don’t give up on us, baby – we can still come through, etc. … Staying with last Sunday’s Turbine, where Eoin McNamee cut to the heart of the matter about the appeal of 12:33: A Parisian Summer, his ‘factional’ account of the death of the Princess of Wails: “I started to find this Graham Greene noir-ish story line emerging from it. What’s interesting about it is I was very surprised no one else had picked up on it as a possibility for fiction because it has such great texture to it.” Texture? Never mind the width, feel the quality … Meanwhile, there’s a rare negative review for Ruth Dudley Edwards’ Murdering Americans over at Contra Costa Times (nope, we neither): “Although there’s quite a bit of humour here, the targets are painted so broadly that what should be rapier thrusts of wit become cannonballs launched at a flimsy wall.” There’s always one, and the exception proves the rule, we guess … Worth repeating is last February’s Time Out Chicago header for their review of Gerard Donovan’s Julius Winsome (‘The Hunter Is A Lonely Heart’), the review itself winding up thusly: “Donovan has a remarkable austerity in his prose, a beauty that is as entrancing as Winsome’s grief is contagious. The only trouble we had with the book was that we didn’t read it earlier. Out in October, but on our desk in January, if we had got to it around the time of its release, we surely would have included it when compiling our best reads of 2006.” Mmmm, lovely … Cora Harrison gets a big-up from the Globe and Mail for her historical crime novel, My Lady Judge: “This is a terrific debut of a historical series that promises something completely different. If the test of a good historical is a solid plot with an intricate setting, My Lady Judge is the real thing. I know nothing about the area of Ireland known as the Burren, or the ancient set of Irish laws known as Brehon, but Harrison seems to have brought it all vividly to life.” Finally, it’s three’s-a-charm for Ingrid Black, who releases the third in the Saxon series, The Judas Heart, with the former FBI agent back on the mean streets of Dublin investigating the brutal murder of an actress and the disappearance of her ol’ buddy, Leon Kaminski. Expect ‘Atmosphere, pace and tension,’ if the Sunday Times is to be believed …

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