Atrocious editing, scratchy print, abysmal continuity … the implicit message in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is that he’s so damn good, the only thing left for him to do is make a bad movie. The problem? Making a knowingly shit movie that references other knowingly shit movies results in a shit movie, if you’ll excuse our merde. Kurt Russell stars as Stuntman Mike, a supposedly charismatic killer who gets his kicks from killing girls in head-on car collisions, all of which is very dramatic and not a little scary, albeit not in the sense that Tarantino intended – Orson Welles reckoned a movie set was the biggest train-set a kid could ever have to play with, and Death Proof reads like some self-loathing kid who can’t get to hang out with the sexy girls, and so decides to kill ’em all. Morbidly fascinating, this irritatingly self-referential outing should be a two-hour suicide note, except that it’s pitched at the geekier end of the 16-year-old drive-in demographic. Someone, anyone, should take Quentin to one side and tell him to get back to what he does best – fleshing out Elmore Leonard novels and ripping off Asian movies. The joke just ain’t funny, man. (no stars) – Michael McGowan
“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. “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.