“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 19, 2007

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “The novel is absorbing, atmospheric and moving, with all the characters, from major to minor, superbly drawn, and the writing is just lovely,” says The Guardian’s Laura Wilson of Benny Blanco’s THE SILVER SWAN … Over at Disillusioned Lefty, Kevin Breathnach is equally impressed: “Two years on, Quirke remains a great drinker and Black a great writer, too. But two years on, Quirke is a shrewder detective and Black, by far, a more astute composer.” Meanwhile, Marcel Berlins is all but overcome at The Times: “John Banville won the Man Booker Prize for THE SEA, but may be remembered just as much for the crime novels he writes as Benjamin Black. I do not imply that he’s dumbing down. On the contrary, he has applied his superb literary skills to a new genre, and discovered – as have his readers – that he’s a wonderful crime writer … Dublin’s clammy atmosphere and its oppressive social and religious mores are a convincing backdrop to a moving drama conveyed by a master writer.” Which is nice … The hup-yas are still piling up for Tana French’s IN THE WOODS: “This novel is not only a gripping psychological thriller but it explores the guilt, loneliness and anger of a survivor internally struggling to find answers … French’s characters are rounded and readable yet angular and uncomfortable enough to be believable, human and honest … her prose could easily be adapted for screenplay and her descriptions are, at times, beautifully cinematic,” reckons Claire McCauley at Verbal. Ms Angie, at A Series Of (Un)Fortunate Reviews, agrees: “IN THE WOODS by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel … well written with an interesting and unusual setting in Dublin, Ireland, that quickly becomes a character in its own right in the novel. You won’t be able to put this book down.” And it’s three-for-three courtesy of dstuder over at Stories of Humiliation and Degradation: “This book, written by Tana French, was a captivating and, I felt, a powerful book … When I finished this novel, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the next couple of days … An excellent book that I highly recommend but with a warning that this is not a ‘happy’ book.” Happy, schmappy … Back to Verbal for David Shiels’ verdict on Ruth Dudley Edwards’ MURDERING AMERICANS: “This is Edwards on top form. To be sure, she indulges in her pet interests, which some of her liberal critics may find a little too predictable … But Edwards is not one-sided when it comes to parody: even the Conservatism of the heroine is fair game. Some readers may even wonder if Troutbeck is a parody of Edwards herself.” Hmmmm, intriguing … “SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT is a fantastic book to lose yourself in the world of the unknown and of unthought-of possibilities. The tone of the book makes it a light read, yet it can still send shivers up your spine,” reckons Sarah courtesy of HarperCollins Australia Reader’s Reviews. Meanwhile, the audio version is floating Tricia Melgaard’s boat at Broken Arrow Centennial Middle School Library Journal: “Every once in a while a story comes along that is pure unadulterated fun. This tale by Irish screenwriter Derek Landy is one of those gems … Narrator Rupert Degas is flawless in his interpretation of the story.” Finally, Ronan Bennett’s ZUGZWANG is wowing ’em: “The prose style of his latest novel is even better than that of THE CATASTROPHIST: more edgy and evocative. The large number of suspenseful twists and turns may owe to the fact that ZUGZWANG was serialized as it was being written … But Bennett must have tightened the book since it appeared serially in London’s The Observer, and his taut authorial control is evident on every page of this gripping tale,” raves Martin Rubin at the LA Times, while Vikram Johri at the St. Petersburg Times (not the Russian one, sadly) agrees: “Bennett uses well-worn tropes of the thriller genre, but his atmospheric evocation of pre-Revolution Russia and the clever melding of chess moves with political subterfuge lend a genuine air to his treatment … The book’s bite-sized nuggets, riveting in their own right, merge into a satisfying whole.” Wot? Reviews of ZUGZWANG with no chess analogies? It’s enough to make a bishop kick a hole in his stained-glass window …

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