“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, February 4, 2008

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “The fact that the build-up was so good made the fizzled payoff extra-disappointing – but at the same time the build-up was so good that it seems unfair not to credit it as a real achievement on its own … Though the resolution was deeply frustrating, I don’t regret surrendering to the story, and I may even try French’s next book. But oh, what could have been!” says Levi Stahl at I’ve Been Reading Lately of Tana French’s IN THE WOODS. Rita The Bookworm is more expansive: “I really liked this book. It’s a hefty book and the characters are a big part of it, so you can’t expect it to be a typical mystery that you charge through. Its pace is one that asks you to be a little patient for the pay-off and just enjoy the ride, and the writing makes that easy.” Karen Chisholm at AustCrimeFiction has taken a shine to Declan Hughes’ THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD: “Typically Irish in that the family loyalties and enmities that go back generations, are faithfully carried forward to the current day; typically hard-boiled thriller in that it portrays a stark brutality, beautifully balanced by a central character that's as tough as nails and fragile as glass all at the same time.” They’re still pouring in for Benny Blanco: “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. Over at Reviewing the Evidence, Denise Pickles is a little more pick(le)y: “There is a certain literary, evocative note to the prose found in THE SILVER SWAN. John Banville, [Benjamin] Black’s name in the world of letters, has won more than one award, so no doubt that accounts for the standard of THE SILVER SWAN. It’s a shame, though, that he didn’t concentrate on lightening the tone of this very depressing work, for all it is so beautifully written.” A quick one for Derek Landy’s SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: “Hilarious and suspenseful … This is really well done urban fantasy,” reckons Jennie at Biblio File … Meanwhile, the Irish Emigrant likes Ronan O’Brien’s debut, CONFESSIONS OF A FALLEN ANGEL: “… this engaging, unusual and beautifully-told tale … will bear a second reading to appreciate all the nuances of the narrative.” Sweet … Finally, a couple of big-ups for Catherine O’Flynn’s Costa-winning debut, WHAT WAS LOST: “It is good, very good. An easy, entertaining read with humorous observations of contemporary life, this novel is also dark, scary and cleverly constructed … It is an enjoyable comedy, an intriguing, sinister mystery and a harsh criticism of the consumerism of modern life. Rarely is such a well crafted book so eminently readable,” says Babygrem at Christchurch City Libraries Blog. Karen Meek at Euro Crime liked it a lot too: “I couldn’t put WHAT WAS LOST down … An amazing debut novel and Catherine O’Flynn will be hard pushed to top the outstanding critical reception it has deservedly received.” A word to the wise, people – don’t argue with Karen Meek. She’ll be inheriting the earth any day soon …

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