“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, August 12, 2007
The Monday Review: Yet More Hup-Ya Frippery From The Interweb Margins
Good vibes for Eoin McNamee’s 12:23 this week, to wit: “Although McNamee’s in-between of fact and fiction is blurred – with some characters from real life, some fiction and others hard to tell – its blend is part of its skill, and the novel is more than just an entertainment using the princess’s death as a point of commercial departure. In keeping with McNamee’s previous explorations of the unaccountable worlds of secret intelligence, it offers a serious meditation on the nature of conspiracy,” says Chris Petit at The Guardian … They’re inclined to agree at Reading Matters: “Despite the roller-coaster of emotions that this book delivers, this is not an easy read. It’s written in the cold, emotionally distant manner of a spy thriller, employing language that is clipped, dry and very sparse … But McNamee has a way with words and is able, through just a handful of phrases, to evoke all manner of dark emotion.” Meanwhile, Tom Adair of The Scotsman comes over all historical: “The text of his story is flawlessly polished, you can’t see the join between documentary and invention, though some of the spooks are reminiscent of Graham Greene’s finest early creations.” Lovely stuff … “I am not the first to remark on the importance of plot in Glenn Meade’s books, and The Devil’s Disciple could not carry on at the speed and length it does if was not tightly plotted, and if every character did not have surprising secret or at least was capable of being suspected of having some surprising secret,” reckons LJ Hurst at Shotsmag … But stay! T’would appear Critical Mick has allowed a shaft of sunlight into his deep, dark dungeon of Critical Mickism, to wit: “[Andrew] Nugent’s narrative was told in a good-humoured, hopeful, and sincere voice that gradually charmed even my cranky heart. By its conclusion, The Four Courts Murder had won me over, snakes and bell-ropes and all. How could I, of all people, forget: the one rule is that there are no rules, it is whatever an author can make work.” From the monk to the priest: Publisher’s Weekly is impressed with Andrew M. Greeley’s latest Blackie Ryan outing, The Bishop at the Lake: “A few chapters … jar, but strong character development, snappy dialogue and a multilayered plot make this one of the better entries in the series,” quibble they via Amazon US … The Library Journal of Review likes Gerard Donovan’s Julius Winsome: “This novel of great emotional impact is enthusiastically recommended,” they say rather tersely via Powell’s Books, where you’ll also find Mr and Mrs Kirkus offering a glowing report thusly: “Donovan’s command of language is astonishingly precise, eerily reflecting Julius’s disarmingly mild-mannered pathology as it ascribes no more importance to the cold-blooded shooting of a hunter than to going into town for groceries. Finely tooled outsider fiction, as chilling as it is ultimately humane.” Which is nice … “The New Heroes must remain the superhero series of choice for the sophisticated young reader, bringing many disparate and literary elements to the much-maligned and often ill-served genre,” says Write Away of Michael Carroll’s latest, Absolute Power … Love Reading loved reading Declan Hughes’ The Wrong Kind of Blood, to wit: “A great new voice in the thriller genre, gripping and authentic, and even when you get close to figuring out ‘who’ you have to read to the end to understand ‘why’. Ed Loy is the central character and we can’t wait for the next in the series – make sure you don’t miss out.” Message received and understood, folks … “His most visceral, satisfying effort yet …[Adrian] McKinty writes masterful action scenes and he whips up a frenzy as the bullets begin to fly,” says Publishers Weekly of The Bloomsday Dead over here … Finally, some Ken Bruen / Ammunition hup-yas to start the week off in traditional pirate fashion: “This reviewer’s reaction to the novel is ambivalent. The writing is interesting, characterizations poignant. Yet the story is confusing, except for the main theme of the shooting and Brant’s reaction to it … the other players and their stories are less meaningful, and, more important, perplexing, at least to me,” reckons the comma-crazy Theodore, Feit, at, Films and Books … Happily, Book Reporter was a little less baffled: “Like McBain, [Bruen] can make you laugh at human foibles and absurdity one moment and then bring you right back into the random terror of modern life the next … Bruen is a master of noir, taking that very American genre and putting a unique Irish twist on it. Books like Ammunition are quick, fun reads, excursions to the dark side of the street. If you haven’t read them, then search out the entire series.” And, so, say, all, of, us – except, Theodore, Feit, obviously …