“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.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Books Of The Year # 7: THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD By Adrian McKinty

Being the continuing stooooooory of our ‘2007 Round-Up Of Books Wot My Friends Wrote’ compilation, by which we hope to make some friends for 2008. To wit:
The concluding part of Adrian McKinty’s ‘Dead’ trilogy, following on from DEAD I WELL MAY BE and THE DEAD YARD, THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD finds the seemingly indestructible Michael Forsythe back on home ground in Ireland for the first time since he left Belfast in 1991. It’s not what you might call a happy homecoming, however; the daughter of his former lover, the flame-haired Bridget, has gone missing in Belfast, and Bridget needs Michael to help track her down. Among the many snags in this scenario is that Michael has spent the last decade living in an FBI witness protection programme designed to keep him off Bridget’s radar, given that his final revenge killing was that of her husband-to-be and Bridget has since assumed control of a criminal empire. Arriving into Dublin on June 16 – Bloomsday, honouring the hero of James Joyce’s Ulysses – Michael has 24 hours to find Bridget’s daughter and thus cancel out his debt of blood, or face the fatal consequences. McKinty is a rare writer, one who can combine the conventionally muscular prose of crime fiction with a lyrical flair for language, and the blend is a compelling one. Forsythe is himself a fascinating character, brusque and blunt in his public exchanges, lethal when trapped in a tight spot (of which there are many in this furiously-plotted tale, which loosely follows the path laid down by both Leopold Bloom and Odysseus), yet possessed of a poet’s soul during his interior monologues. The violence is graphically etched into the page, as if stamped there by the force of its authenticity, but McKinty never forgets that his first priority is to entertain, leavening the bleakness with flashes of mordant humour. If there’s a disappointment it’s that this is being touted as the final Forsythe novel, and one hopes otherwise; but if THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD is the last we’ll see of this Irish rogue cannon, then the pathos-drenched finale is fittingly poignant. – Declan Burke
This review was first published on Euro Crime

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