“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, November 12, 2007

The Monday Review

Benny Blanco from the Bronx, aka Benjamin Black, aka John Banville, is still getting hup-yas for CHRISTINE FALLS even as THE SILVER SWAN hits the shelves. Quoth Nick Rennison in the Sunday Times: “Readers who found [THE SEA] suffocatingly pretentious will be pleased to learn that his new venture, set in a claustrophobic 1950s Dublin awash with rank secrets, is a breath of fresh air by comparison … What unfolds is a potently involving and deftly evolving intrigue … A dark pleasure.” Meanwhile, reviewing THE SILVER SWAN for the Irish Times, Ruth Dudley Edwards can hardly contain herself: “Black has produced two highly intelligent, disconcerting, unpredictable and beautifully written page-turners which tell us a great deal about our past and address serious moral issues. In a sane literary world THE SILVER SWAN would be considered for another Booker prize …” Cripes! Speaking of prizes, Eoin Colfer has just been long-listed for the Carnegie Prize … “I enjoyed reading ARTEMIS FOWL AND THE LOST COLONY. This is my favourite book of the series. Eoin Colfer, the author, constantly surprises the reader more than any of his other books that I’ve read,” reckons Squid at BookWorld … Over at Reviewing the Evidence, Sharon Wheeler kinda likes Ingrid Black’s latest, THE JUDAS HEART: “On the whole … Black has written a fluent page-turner which is strong on atmosphere, sound on plotting and somewhat lacking in characterisation.” Anna North, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, is much more impressed by Ronan Bennett’s latest, to wit: “The novel becomes a noirish page-turner, complete with shifting allegiances and executions in dark alleyways … ZUGZWANG does not merely offer pleasures both high and low – it erases the distinction. The novel is exciting not despite but because of the moral seriousness of its situations. Bennett’s premise may not be unique, but his talent is, and writers of slicker thrillers would do well to take his work as a lesson in the titillation of the mind.” Sweet. Is it time yet for the inevitable John Connolly big-up? Yes it is, starting with our ol’ buddy Bob the Wordless: “Awesome book. Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels are superb noir. If you like a little bit of horror with your noir, read any of his books … Dark, suspenseful, disturbing, lyrical, emotional. That’s all you need to know about his latest Charlie Parker book, THE UNQUIET. Get it. Highly, highly recommended.” Thank you, sir. Duran Duran fan Write Out, over at I’ll Cross That Bridge When I Find It, concurs: “This was a great, great read. Connolly is a lyrical writer who knows how to pace his story for maximum effect. I highly recommend this author’s stuff, and not just his Parker stories.” Huzzah! Onwards to Andrew Nugent’s latest, courtesy of Jill Hinckley at Murder By The Book: “SECOND BURIAL is a … serious and affecting work, exploring the murder of a member of London's Nigerian community with sensitivity and power. The characters are unforgettable, the insight into a little-known culture astonishing, and the plot development intense and sometimes terrifying or heart-breaking.” They’re still coming in for Paul Charles’ new series, to wit: “It is all presented in a style that’s restrained and slightly old-fashioned. And humane too. Altogether THE DUST OF DEATH is a relief from the in-your-face descriptions of post-mortems and ingenious sadism which is standard fare in plenty of current US and UK crime fiction. The book also conveys a great sense of place. Not quite a cosy but definitely not gritty (despite that crucifixion), THE DUST OF DEATH may not be to everyone’s taste but I suspect that Starrett and co may pick up quite a following after this quirky, individual opening,” says Philip Gooden at Shots Mag … Pithy Review of the Week goes to Henderson at BookCrossing, casting his eye over AMMUNITION: “Third book by [Ken] Bruen I have read, this is the second one that I read in one day (nine stars).” Finally, Tana French’s IN THE WOODS is still jazzing ’em. “A mystery with complex, interesting characters and wonderfully written prose … The characters and their relationships are intricate and plot is well written – a good mystery!” reckons Judi at the Manhattan Public Library, while Maxine Clarke at Euro Crime weighs in with, “Although long, IN THE WOODS is a cracking read. I have often read the word “unputdownable” to describe a book, but in this case it is true … the villain is easy for the seasoned reader to identify, but even so this does not matter, as the way in which the case is solved is chillingly suspenseful, and the writing style superb.” Thank you kindly, ma’am …

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