“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 15, 2007

The Monday Review

How long has it been since we mentioned Eoin Colfer on these pages? That’s right, too long. “Another entertaining adventure from Eoin Colfer that has time travel, demons, warlocks, pixies, centaurs, fairies, dwarves, hitmen, bodyguards, and not one, but two human genii. I’m looking forward to the next instalment,” says Grubsneerg at Book Crossing of THE LOST COLONY … Over at Reviewing the Evidence, Diana Sandberg likes Cora Harrison’s MY LADY JUDGE, to wit: “I enjoyed reading this book. Many readers of historical mystery will be immediately reminded of another female working within the Brehon laws, Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma … The story would not suit a person looking for a thriller, it falls well into the realm of cozy, but many characters are well drawn and the historical and cultural information is nicely integrated into the story, not slathered on as some authors unfortunately do.” Which is lovely … “Despite being humourous, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty of magic and action, SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT delivers, and delivers in style … Incredibly witty, and immensely fun – put SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT to the top of your “To be read” pile!” raves Bookiemonster about Derek Landy’s debut … “There are … occasional examples of clumsy phrasing. But these are minor quibbles. They do not detract from the smoothly crafted unfolding of the mystery and its surprising denouement,” says Roy Greenslade of Paul Charles’ THE DUST OF DEATH in the latest issue of Verbal … “SLIDE is slick. With the follow up to last year’s BUST, Ken Bruen and Jason Starr have raised the bar. BUST … was a black comedy of errors; noir with a grin. The sequel is comic, but it’s not just slapstick. It’s satire,” asserts Nathan Cain over at Indie Crime The big-ups just won’t quit for Ronan Bennett’s ZUGZWANG, to wit: “It is tempting to place ZUGZWANG in the same company as CJ Sansom’s WINTER IN MADRID and Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. What sets ZUGZWANG above those two works, however, is its complexity,” says Nick Greenslade in The Observer, although Julia Flynn, at The Telegraph, is rather less impressed: “I was bowled over by Bennett’s last novel, HAVOC IN ITS THIRD YEAR, but this one, despite excellent moments, does not scale the same heights. It is beautifully written, in lucid prose; but the story as a whole does not quite cohere.” Boo, etc. … They’re still coming in for Adrian McKinty’s latest: “Anyone in the mood for a few thrills need look no further than THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD … Literature buffs will enjoy McKinty’s numerous references to Joyce’s novel, which supplement the non-stop, and very bloody, excitement that Michael encounters on his own epic journey. Michael is an appealingly tough but tormented hero,” reckons Rebecca Oppenheimer at The Towerlight … And they just won’t stop coming for Tana French: “IN THE WOODS by Tana French is another solid debut novel … The ensuing psychological suspense tale has a teeny hint of the supernatural that provides a thrill of extra creepiness,” vouchsafes Ellen Datlow at her Live Journal … Benny Blanco’s latest, THE SILVER SWAN, isn’t due until next month, but Book Dwarf is already raving about it thusly: “Perhaps a stronger book than CHRISTINE FALLS (itself a strong debut in mystery), Black writes for an audience that doesn’t need all the answers handed to them … Black doesn’t rely on clichés and switchback plots to keep the book going. I hope he continues to write such gripping books.” … “A gripping follow-up to [Erin] Hart’s sensational debut, weaving together history, folklore, and forensics, and following in the evocative tradition of writers such as Elizabeth George and Daphne du Maurier, LAKE OF SORROWS is a passionate novel of suspense from a superbly gifted new crime-writing star,” raves Paperback Swap … Back to Verbal for Mia Gallagher’s HELLFIRE: “The book should be depressing since its rare moments of drug-free clarity portray a relentlessly harrowing world. Yet because of the author’s sheer ability with words and an abundance of characters that would have been the envy of Dickens, one reads on – perhaps white-knuckled,” says Sean McMahon. Finally, Sean Moncrieff’s THE HISTORY OF THINGS received some well-deserved oxygen this weekend, first from the Irish Times: “Moncrieff is a fluid, confident writer who expertly creates a sense of genuine menace, and this very readable book is genuinely unnerving at times … The story’s oppressive, threatening atmosphere lingers in the reader’s mind long after the final page,” says Anna Carey. The Sunday Tribune liked it too: “This ability to pique interest and hold it is ably assisted by his clipped, concise sentences which subtly switch between genuinely hilarious riffs and seemingly throwaway lines that only add depth. Moncrieff often leaves both jokes and key events to hang in the air and enhance the emotion.” Okay, but can the boy Moncrieff juggle chainsaws underwater? Huh? He can? Oh …

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