“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.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Monday Review

Salacious title, groovy gal, to wit: “Baroness Jack is a delightful character and with Robert at her side they make a perfect duo in this entertaining and witty book,” says Mystery Book Reviews of Ruth Dudley Edwards’ MURDERING AMERICANS. Over at Euro Crime, Mike Ripley agrees: “Good comedy thrillers with outrageous comic detectives are few and far between … It is therefore a pure pleasure to welcome back the eccentric Baroness “Jack” Troutbeck, that most unsubtle of sleuths.” Elsewhere, Jen Robinson isn’t impressed the audio book of Benjamin Black’s CHRISTINE FALLS: “Well-written, very detailed characterization, but a bit slow-paced for listening on audio. I think I would have preferred it in print.” Over at Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker gives SLIDE an A-, to wit: “A loose follow-up to Ken Bruen and Jason Starr’s superb 2006 Bust (with a couple of the same characters), SLIDE is all genially ferocious menace.” A hop, skip and a quantum leap away from SLIDE is Cora Harrison’s MY LADY JUDGE, which Harriet Klausner likes quite a lot over at Genre Go Round: “Cora Harrison writes an enjoyable historical whodunit starring a wonderful protagonist who understands no one is above Brehon law.” And what of Derek Landy’s SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT, eh? “This is a true good vs evil type of book with a large dollop of wit and humour … It is a well crafted tale which reminds me of Ghost Rider meets Harry Dresden,” reckons Kamannix at Books4Ever … They’re still coming in for Tana French’s IN THE WOODS: “This book is more interesting than your average police procedural, and far more realistic (if unsatisfying) in the ending,” vouches the 50 Book Challenge … Recent Shamus winner Declan Hughes has Ibjana purring at the San Diego County Library over THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD, to wit: “This was a really good book … I was shocked at the ending, I never once predicted the villain, or a few other twists to the story. I’ll be waiting patiently for his next book.” One of Crime Always Pays novels of the year, JULIUS WINSOME, has them creaming out yonder at the Western People thusly: “His writing has been compared to Beckett and Kafka, uniting satire and tragedy, pain and hilarity. JULIUS WINSOME is a provocative and deeply poignant novel by a writer with an undoubted talent for creativity and black humour. Perhaps it is the originality of JULIUS WINSOME that is most impressive. This is a narrative like no other - a strange, deeply disturbing tale that is utterly compelling from start to finish.” Yup, we couldn’t agree more … John Burke at the Sunday Business Post isn’t crazy about Frances Cahill’s biographical MARTIN CAHILL, MY FATHER: “It is likely this book will sell well, but many will find it difficult to accommodate the comparable lack of balance by the author in her depiction of her father, a career criminal, and the Gardai and justice system that justifiably sought to end his reign of violent crime.” Another true crime showing, THE MIAMI SHOWBAND MASSACRE by Steven Travers and Neil Featherstonehaugh, fares rather better with Tom Widger at the Sunday Tribune: “This is a chilling read, culminating in a chilling encounter with a UVF man who regrets that he and his fellow butchers “didn’t do more”.” Meanwhile, Mary Rose Callaghan’s BILLY, COME HOME went down a treat with Mr and Mrs Publishers Weekly, to wit: “Without becoming mawkish or preachy, Callaghan delivers an effective indictment of society’s failure to care for a vulnerable minority.” The late, lamented Siobhan Dowd’s THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY is still wowing ’em over at the Irish Times: “Everything about this book – the perky tone, the subtlety of characterisation and the cleverness of the plotting – is absolutely right,” reckons Robert Dunbar, and we’re not about to argue … A rare review for Andrew Pepper’s THE REVENGE OF CAPTAIN PAINE, courtesy of Tangled Web, suggests there should be more: “There is much to recommend THE REVENGE OF CAPTAIN PAINE, although many readers will find Pyke too unsympathetic a character to follow to the end. This is history with no holds barred, a step into the violent and visceral world that civilisation has tried so hard to leave behind … for those who aren’t squeamish, this is not to be missed,” says Rafe McGregor … Finally, Ronan Bennett’s ZUGWANG has been rocking them in the aisles all over. “The racier elements are less subtle than the author’s early masterpiece, The Catastrophist, but somehow that seems appropriate to the noir-ish atmosphere of the proceedings,” says Val Nolan at the Sunday Business Post, while the Sunday Tribune is equally effusive: “This thriller by Ronan Bennett was first published in serial form, and the brilliant set-up is deceptively deadpan … one needs to know nothing of “mysterious rook moves” or the Maroczy Bind to enjoy this atmospheric, ingenious and perfectly paced novel.” Lastly but by no means leastly, Anne Fogarty’s Irish Times two cents runneth thusly: “In Zugswang, Bennett with characteristic finesse supplies us at once with an engrossing thriller and a historical romance that suggestively examines the workings of power and the utopian desire for justice and equality.” And if it’s good enough for the Old Lady – the Irish Times, that is, not Anne – then it’s good enough for us …

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