“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, July 29, 2007

The Monday Review: Yet More Hup-Ya Baloohaha From The World Wide Interweb

Another Monday, yet more raves for Ken Bruen, to wit: “Bruen’s [American Skin] is a visceral, visionary masterwork; underneath all the graphic bloodshed and drug-induced chaos, however, are deeply profound, darkly poetic themes that will surely affect everyone who reads this extraordinary and truly unforgettable book. An instant noir cult classic,” says the Barnes and Noble editor’s review. On the same link, you’ll find the Publishers’ Weekly big-up running thusly: “Noir master Bruen effortlessly moves his story line back and forth in time, all his trademark pop culture references in place, the banshee of existential agony wailing loud,” while Kirkus Reviews won’t be found wanting for hyperbole: “Bruen’s fans will know that monsters lie in wait. There are the usual rewards in terms of style, pace and, yes, flashes of mordant wit, but be warned: this is Bruen beyond noir into full-out stygian.” Meanwhile, over at Crime Scene Scotland, Russel McLean reviews Cross: “So it goes in the world of author Bruen, where noir is not just a word but a way of life … With writing like Bruen’s, of course – punchy, rhythmic, dark and affecting – we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Lovely stuff … On to Declan Hughes, with Karen Chisholm reviewing The Colour of Blood over at Euro Crime: “The book roars along at a rapid pace with revelation and resolution overlapping themselves at every twist. There’s also a great sense of irony, of gentle humour and the cast of characters certainly help with that … None of these humorous touches are overdone but they balance the brutality of many of the other aspects of the novel.” … The author of Black Order, James Rollins, seems to like Pat Mullan’s The Root of All Evil, to wit: “A razor blade down the spine. So fast-paced, expect whiplash. This is Irish noir with a hero whom you’ll want at your back in any gunfight. Grab a copy and clear your schedule!” Mmmm, nice … Yet more big-ups for Tana French’s In The Woods, courtesy of Powell’s Books: “[French] sets a vivid scene for her complex characters, who seem entirely capable of doing the unexpected,” says the New York Times. “A mystery?” queries Book Reporter. “Yes. But In The Woods is much more than that … It is as exquisitely told as it is wondrously plotted. Why does one read? To experience novels like this. Not to be missed.” Finally, a happy punter does the decent thing and posts a review: “What most of the reviews neglect is that at the gravitational centre of In The Woods is one of the most disturbing characters in recent fiction, a study in psychopathology. That’s in addition to the extraordinary power of French’s writing, the intricacy of her plot, the convincing reality of her characters, the assured command of forensic procedures, and more. Definitely five stars,” asserts ‘Threefab’. Erm, we presume that’s five stars out of five, yes? … Love Reading likes Alex Barclay’s The Caller: “This is packed with characters nursing physical and psychological scars, each carrying around guilty secrets, but who is guilty of what? Barclay keeps you guessing until the final pages. Gruesome, gripping and fast paced. A great thriller writer to keep an eye on.” … And what of Benny Blanco’s Christine Falls? “What Banville has done is write a comforting novel – not comforting in the sense of warm fuzzies, but in the sense of living up to expectations. The paradox of Banville’s experiment is that it is not experimental,” claims The Little Professor Onward with the obligatory John Connolly hup-ya: “The Unquiet, an oddly intriguing amalgamation of crime novel and horror thriller, makes a fine summer read not for the beach, but for an isolated lake cabin on a stormy night … The only downside to The Unquiet is a somewhat predictable solution to the mystery, but getting there is creepily entertaining,” says Kathy Kerr at the Montreal Gazette. Pat Austin broadly agrees over at Euro Crime: “It’s well written and contains Connolly’s usual gamut of interesting characters, some of whom we have met before … I wouldn’t recommend this book as a jumping on point for the series, as it does refer a lot to previous books, but taken as a whole this does add considerably to the momentum of the series, moving Parker along in interesting ways.” Finally, what’s a Monday Review without Eoin Colfer? “What follows is complex and convoluted and enormous fun. Lyrics from the opera Norma sneak into a demon’s monologue, kids make neutrino jokes, and readers have a great time. This is the kind of book kids take to bed with a flashlight. It kept me up till two,” says Children’s Literature of Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony via the Barnes and Noble site, while Voya reckons that it’s “Fast-paced, funny, and wholly enjoyable … an action-packed thrill ride through fantastic worlds and a must-have for every library collection.” The last word we’ll leave to 14-year-old Ariel, to wit: “Colfer is witty, inventive and articulate, and his prose rolls along, with cliff-hanger chapter endings. Although the book has some time-worn clichés, most of the book is superbly surprising. The ending was sweet and leaves you begging for another book! I can’t wait for the next one!” Eoin? Your public awaits. Do the decent thing, man …

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