“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 26, 2007

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “With an ensemble cast, multiple plot lines and absolutely lethal staccato prose, AMMUNITION is [Ken] Bruen at his mordant best … As you read you keep trying to convince yourself that things really aren’t that bad. But then you pick up the newspaper or watch the news and you begin to think, maybe this Celtic lunatic is onto something after all. Not to worry, however, on its most basic level AMMUNITION is another high-octane romp through the mean streets of Southeast London with one of the most entertaining tour guides working in the genre today,” raves Mean Streets … Meanwhile, over at I’ve Been Reading Lately, Levi Stahl likes the latest Bruen / Jason Starr collaboration: “SLIDE, though a lot of fun, reads like a slighter sibling [of BUST]: aside from Max Fisher … the other characters are less vibrant than those of the first novel, and their desires less intricately intertwined. The M.A.X., however, is so funny that he almost single-handedly redeems the book: his mixture of arrogance, incompetence, and brutality are hideously hilarious.” … Ed Cumming at the Camden New Journal is impressed by Paul Charles’ latest: “THE DUST OF DEATH is engaging and satisfying. When a man so obviously enjoys writing his novels, it is difficult not to find them the more enjoyable to read.” … Kim at Si, Se Puede! is bigging-up Derek Landy’s SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT, to wit: “I loved this tale. The original premise was refreshing … If you or a tween you know is looking for a fast-paced mystery/fantasy that’s sprinkled with humour, this is the book.” Thank you kindly, Kim … As for Landy’s nemesis, Eoin Colfer, Halo 92 likes ARTEMIS FOWL AND THE LOST COLONY: “Colfer really does seem to be enjoying his work. He’s getting every last ounce of use from the other four books: building on relationships, exploring situations, dealing with loss, and generally driving characters up the wall, using fantastic combinations of humour and fact, excitement and tension. Another winner from the boy genius.” The boy genius being Artemis rather than Eoin, we presume … The hup-yas are still pouring in for Ronan Bennett’s ZUGZWANG: “There are a few flaws in structure, and at times the author veers from the dramatic to the melodramatic. Still, ZUGZWANG is fresh and different enough to warrant your time,” says Michele Ross at Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer. Over at the New York Times, Marilyn Stasio agrees: “In this desperately cunning match, it’s exciting to simply be a pawn,” reckons she. As does Patrick Anderson at the Washington Post: “All this is beautifully told by Bennett … This is a compelling portrait of a highly civilized society as it approached one of history’s great upheavals.” Onward to Declan Hughes’ latest: “Just finished Declan Hughes’ THE COLOUR OF BLOOD. His third thriller / mystery and he can do no wrong. It’s hard-boiled Irish, so can we be calling this the potato genre?” asks Revenge of the Castanets. Erm, no. Staying with THE COLOUR OF BLOOD, and Ibjana at the San Diego Country Library Reader is a fan: “I really like these books, I’m always amazed at how thrashed Ed gets and yet he won’t give up until he solves the cases … Always entertaining, I sometimes got lost in the sea of characters but I enjoyed it nonetheless.” … But what of Andrew M. Greeley’s THE BISHOP AT THE LAKE, I hear you cry? Book Mom, the stage is yours: “This is not my first (and won’t be my last, I hope) Greeley book. His characters are always bold, bright and full of life. The books seem to end too soon and the glimpses into the families’ lives are true, just and usually full of love. I have been a huge fan of this author’s works for years and have never been disappointed.” … The big-ups just won’t quit for Benny Blanco’s latest, to wit: “THE SILVER SWAN is a defter and more complex book than its predecessor, which occasionally found plot development smothered under the weight of Banville / Black’s always ravishing prose. The new novel boasts a neat whodunnit plot and a delightful command of suspense, but there’s also a kind of mordant, near-surreal playfulness about the characters’ appearance and actions this time, and the constricted dance that they undertake,” says Tim Martin at the Independent on Sunday, and Fachtna Kelly at the Sunday Business Post agrees: “While THE SILVER SWAN is not as overtly poetic as the novels Banville writes under his own name, it is no less beautiful for that. Banville uses language, both lyric and lachrymose, to paint emotionally haunting scenes … Adorned with Banville’s bone-dry wit and crepuscular humour, THE SILVER SWAN is a dauntless powerhouse of a novel by a master stylist at the top of his game. In Quirke, a man of ‘‘incurable curiosity’’, he has created a figure who could enliven the ranks of crime fiction for years to come.” From the sublime to the sublimer, and Jack Higgins’ THE KILLING GROUND: “And so an operation is mounted, Colts and Walthers bang away at targets endlessly available, body bags fill – can any other thrillmeister equal the Higgins corpse-per-page count? – and finally there’s the obligatory OK Corral variation, during which, for the sake of us all, Dillon & Co. must nail the Hammer. Higgins’ 37th: You get what you get,” asserts the pithily pedantic Mr and Mrs Kirkus, via Barnes & Noble … Finally, CAP’s current stalkee, Ruth Dudley Edwards, gets the hup-ya from Publishers’ Weekly, again via Barnes & Noble: “Dudley Edwards wittily satirizes political correctness in this fast-paced academic romp,” say they, and Bernard ‘Shining’ Knight is of no mind to disagree over at It’s A Crime!: “Though a rumbustious and often farcical tale, there is no doubt that Ruth Dudley Edwards is using the story to grind a damned great axe and I loved every paragraph, as it accorded with my own view of this awful Western World.” Cuddly Dudley Edwards wielding an axe? Yea, verily, the mind boggleth …

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