“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.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The Monday Review
A pithy beginning to this week’s round-up: “Dark stuff, but extremely entertaining,” reckons the Sac Bee’s Allen Pierleoni of Ken Bruen’s Ammunition, while Eric at Genre Fiction Addiction concurs: “Ammunition doesn’t break any new ground either in the Brant series or for Bruen. Do I care? Not really. I loved it anyhow.” Meanwhile, there’s a host of reviews already posted on Jason Starr’s interweb page for the up-coming Slide, which he co-wrote with Bruen. Booklist’s verdict? “Bruen and Starr have concocted a wild … and very funny ode to mindless violence, drugs, down-and-dirty sex, and self-delusion … There’s good reason to believe Bruen and Starr had as much fun writing Slide as crime fans will have reading it.” Which is nice … Euro Crime’s Maxine Clarke goes in for Gene Kerrigan’s latest in a big way: “This is a wonderful book, superbly well written. The promise of Kerrigan’s previous book, Little Criminals, is more than fulfilled in this elegiac novel of corruption in Ireland … I loved everything about this book. The Midnight Choir is truly bleak, at times violent and disturbing, but always brilliant.” Over at Reviewing the Evidence, Sharon Wheeler likes Nick Stone’s King of Swords, to wit: “Stone’s writing is sharp, vivid and utterly impossible to get out of your mind … he can also create the most stunningly memorable characters that I guarantee you will never be able to forget … if you thought the marvellous George Pelecanos was out there by himself as the king of race-ridden US cities and of crime fiction that drilled to the heart of society, think again. Stone is a magnificent talent.” Yummy … Meanwhile, there was a sudden outbreak of Christine Falls reviews this week, beginning with Iain Rowan over at Litorally: “It’s always interesting to see how a writer from outside the genre approaches things. In Banville’s case, he does it fantastically well: this is one of the best crime novels I’ve read in the last couple of years. There’s very little about it which isn’t excellent – a compelling plot, a wonderfully described setting of Dublin and Boston in the fifties, a memorable protagonist and supporting cast, and an at times very moving exploration of emotion and the human heart.” Over at The Book Bag, Sue Magee is very much in agreement: “The plot is a real page-turner. I read the book in the course of a day, not because I had the time, but because I simply had to know what happened next. There’s real pace, accompanied by the imagery which so characterises Banville’s mainstream writing. It’s the sort of book which you wish you hadn’t read so that you might still have the pleasure of discovering it. If you enjoy Ian Rankin and his Inspector John Rebus books then you should buy this book. I wouldn’t even want to say that Rankin still has the edge: this book is that good. He’s better than Michael Dibdin, even at his best. I’m afraid other crime writers pale into insignificance.” Crikey! Mind you, Glenn Harper at International Noir is a tad more circumspect: “It’s a tightly packed, involving, beautifully written, and somehow not quite adequate crime novel. Banville’s brother Vincent wrote a few detective stories that satisfy as such, though perhaps without the literary heft of the Benjamin Black tome … I’m looking forward to the next Quirke book … partly to see if he’s more tightly in control of the structures that he’s borrowing from the nature and history of the crime novel in future efforts.” Back to Sharon Wheeler at Reviewing the Evidence, for her verdict on Glenn Meade’s The Devil’s Disciple: “The whole book strains credulity, but it’s a definitely a page-turner. There’s a gothic horror feel to it, although it does at times threaten to teeter into romantic suspense territory.” Glenn Meade a romantic? Who’d a thunk it, eh? Onwards for the inevitable Eoin Colfer / Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony big-up, to wit: “The overall plot is somewhat irrelevant, as, much like, say the James Bond series, it’s all about the action and the dialogue. If you are looking for a breezy series that has action and excitement, and is ultimately not too violent, or scary or too full of adult themes, you’ll be hard pressed to do better than this. Start from the beginning of the series and work your way through; careful readers are rewarded,” reckons Paul at I Just Read About That. Meanwhile, over at the Sunday Trib, Tom Widger is of the opinion that Arlene Hunt’s Missing Presumed Dead is a winner: “An escalating thriller …” he coos, “ … a remarkably prescient read.” Finally, the In The Woods bandwagon shows no signs of slackening pace, with Glenn Harper – a busy lad this week – at International Noir suggesting that, “While there is a sophisticated structure underlying the book, I didn’t get the sense that it was condescending to the genre … I liked the book much more than I anticipated, and followed it closely through a long-ish 400+ pages without it seeming too long.” Over at our old friends Reviewing the Evidence, Sharon Katz is even more enthusiastic: “In The Woods is author Tana French’s first book and it is wonderful … When this well over 400-page book ended I was left wanting more. A wonderful thriller and top-notch first book, [it] should not be missed.” Lovely, lovely, lovely ...