“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, December 17, 2007

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “It’s possible that Banville is the best writer at work in the genre at the moment, in terms of artfulness at least. His prose is simply brilliant, gorgeous and evocative and poetic. The sentences he writes stun, the descriptions of the people and the city seem lovingly penned,” says Fiona Walker of Benny Blanco's THE SILVER SWAN over at Euro Crime. “Grubby, creepy, sexy and dark, THE SILVER SWAN marks John Banville’s arrival as an unlikely new voice on the crime scene, rather than a snooty one-off visitor slumming it,” reckons Claire Sutherland at Perth Now. Over at the Daily Telegraph, Susanna Yager agrees: “Benjamin Black, John Banville’s crime alter ego, has followed up the acclaimed CHRISTINE FALLS with THE SILVER SWAN, another beautifully written but bleak tale featuring the melancholy pathologist, Quirke.” As does Joanna Hines at Time Out: “Black / Banville is unable to suppress his delight in observation and description, the need to stay and explore the endless present moment, and that is both the glory and the downfall of this valiant effort to fit in with a particular genre … This novel will probably appeal more to Banville’s existing fans than to anyone expecting the undemanding promise held out by crime fiction.” Hmm, snooty. No such quibbles from Jake Kerridge, also at the Daily Telegraph: “If CHRISTINE FALLS was an angrier book, [THE SILVER SWAN] is sadder. Black ensures that the familiar satisfactions of unravelling a mystery plot lead us to a very unsatisfying fact: that despicable crimes stem as easily from the most humdrum emotions of ordinary people as from the machinations of the power-hungry.” Meanwhile, here’s a late one for CHRISTINE FALLS: “A stylish, atmospheric thriller that is both beautifully written and solidly plotted … this elegantly crafted book with its haunting story is deeply satisfying,” raves Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, via Mystery Books Reviews. Onward to Claire Kilroy’s most recent offering: “TENDERWIRE is a carefully-balanced book, constructed with as much skill and precision as the instrument at the centre of it, and as haunting as the strains of its music,” says Hags, Harlots and Heroines, via Faye L. Booth They’re still tumbling in for IN THE WOODS, to wit: “Just finished IN THE WOODS by Tana French and loved it. A great atmospheric mystery ...” says Janey at Book Crossing. “Brilliant! I enjoyed this book more than any I have read for quite a while. It is very well written and the story builds up beautifully. An astonishing first novel. It is very atmospheric and weaves a web of intrigue. The characters are believable and the whole book is excellent,” reckons one of the Bailiff Bridge Library Crime Readers’ Group. Oline H. Cogdill at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel includes IN THE WOODS in her ‘Best of 2007 debuts’ round-up: “An intelligent, atmospheric thriller blends the gothic novel with the modern mystery.” Spookily, the Baltimore Sun agrees virtually word-for-word: “Beautifully written, this intelligent thriller is laden with an atmosphere that blends shades of the gothic novel with the modern mystery.” On to Ronan Bennett’s latest: “ZUGZWANG is a novel worth a few days of your time, and if you love the game of chess, you won’t be able to get enough of this text that profiles the somewhat bizarre traits of a few well known chess players,” says iGoChess. There’s a double whammy for Andrew Nugent from Jill at Murder By The Book: “THE FOUR COURTS MURDER is written in the wry, elegant style of Cyril Hare and Edmund Crispin; SECOND BURIAL FOR A BLACK PRINCE is a more serious and affecting work, exploring the murder of a member of London’s Nigerian community with sensitivity, power, and astonishing insights into a little-known culture.” Mmm, lovely … LitMs at the Stinging Fly discussion board likes Mia Gallagher’s HELLFIRE quite a lot, to wit: “An amazing book – from its sprawling dark mythology to its spot-on Dublin skanger speak. A vivid, audacious, messy masterpiece … a brave and rare achievement.” Finally, Gerard Donovan’s JULIUS WINSOME is still generating raves, and from all points on the globe. First to the Caribbean: “The writing is sparse yet superb. The characters are heavy yet approachable. The story is quick yet involved. The result is an enthralling expose on the fall of an ostensibly normal man who is doomed by his inability to allow emotions or morality to impact fundamental decisions,” says a reader’s review at ttgapers, while Brienne Burnett, at The Program in Oz, is also impressed: “As a novel JULIUS WINSOME is constructed and written extremely well, with each chapter journeying you through Julius’s mental states which alternate from grief to anger to detached madness … The story ends like it begins, mysterious and quaint. It really is a lovely piece of writing.” It most certainly is that, ma’am …

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