“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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: SECOND BURIAL by Andrew Nugent

SECOND BURIAL, Andrew Nugent’s second novel, follows the murder investigation of Shadrack Okafor, a young Nigerian restaurant owner in Dublin. Shad is found, alive, in the Dublin Mountains – his leg has been crudely amputated and his body dumped in a ditch. Somehow managing to crawl to a nearby house, Shad dies in hospital, with Molly Power from the Murder Squad by his bedside. She and her partner Jim Quilligan try to make sense of the death – was it an intra-African murder, a racially motivated attack, or even a gangland killing? While Molly and Jim interview Dublin’s immigrant community around ‘Little Africa’ on Parnell Street, they even briefly travel to Nigeria in search of answers, a move which offers an insightful juxtaposition of both countries and cultures. Meanwhile, Shad’s brother Jude is five steps ahead of them, ready to avenge his brother’s death. The plot is tautly strung from end to end - it begins with a death and ends with a death; but Nugent also unravels a fascinating story along the way, whilst also providing a meticulously researched snapshot of the African experience in Dublin. The narrative is rich in cultural details and anecdotes, right down to the speech rhythms and patterns of Nigerian English, which are superbly rendered. Although the ‘whodunit’ element of the novel doesn’t offer many options, the finely wrought tension and engaging cast of characters more than makes up for the ending’s slight predictability. – Claire Coughlan

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