“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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Chess Bit: In Which A Dominant Queen Bashes The Bishop

Being the kind of cerebral pygmies who need to use both hands to move their checker pieces, the Crime Always Pays elves don’t generally find themselves rooting around in chess-orientated blogs. But then Ronan Bennett, damn his beautiful eyes, went and wrote the chess-inspired ZUGWANG, and now the corridors of CAP Towers ring to the dulcet tones of elves banging on about something called a Queen Endgame – although they’re also planning a Freddie Mercury tribute band, so who knows what the hell they’re up to? Anyhoo, it’s with a weary heart that we zoom diagonally across the interweb board to Susan Polgar’s Chess Blog, there to shamelessly steal the ZUGZWANG big-ups she has so patiently collected and – ahem – pawn them off as our own, to wit:
“A breathtaking, cliffhanging, breakneck race through the worlds of Russian chess, Bolshevik terrorism, and international espionage. Surely the most thrilling chess thriller ever written.” – Katherine Neville, author of THE EIGHT
“A mesmerizing tale of shifting political allegiances and double dealing… Bennett is now the closest we have to Graham Greene; he looks squarely at the human condition, and attains a rare gravitas.” - The Observer (London)
“Readers who love ANNA KARENINA as much as they enjoy a gripping mystery will find a little slice of heaven here.” - Booklist
“A heady historical thriller … the plot packs more than enough surprises to keep any suspense junkie sated.” - Publishers Weekly
“A taut, intricate thriller … a hugely enjoyable, brilliant high-wire act.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A classy, literate thriller” – The Times (London)
Chess – it’s like boxing without boxing gloves, no?

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