“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.
Monday, February 11, 2008
The Monday Review
It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “She twists reality without the 10 cent words and creates mystery without overly complicating a plot. The effect is smooth … This is what I’m talking about when I say I like literary fiction that straddles the commercial line,” says Elizabeth Jote of Catherine O’Flynn’s WHAT WAS LOST at Glorious Paper Cuts. “The accolades are all well deserved … Despite the humour, the loss of sweet, sad Kate Meaney imbues every page with sorrow and regret … O’Flynn’s compassion towards her characters means that this novel is far more uplifting than it should be,” concurs Emily Maguire at the Sydney Morning Herald. Arlene Hunt’s MISSING PRESUMED DEAD gets the thumbs up from Sarah Lapsley at Verbal Magazine: “It’s an interesting premise, pulled off with panache by Hunt … What results is a roller-coaster ride of a novel – as gripping as it is gritty, with the character of Quigley often providing a welcome and likeable turn as comic relief … Hunt delivers a cracking read with this, her fourth novel.” Which is nice … Staying with Verbal, Catherine McGrotty likes Sean Mahon’s THE BLOODY NORTH – INFAMOUS ULSTER MURDER CASES: “This is gripping stuff, as compulsive and fascinating as anything from the pages of a thriller, with the added frisson that these are no mere inventions – these crimes actually happened.” Onward to the inevitable Ken Bruen big-up: “SLIDE isn’t so much a black comedy as it is a dark raucous riot running rampant through the streets destroying storefronts and giggling like cracked-out banshees,” says Brian Lindemuth at Fantasy Book Spot. They’re still coming in for Derek Landy’s SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: “While Stephanie is not a realistic portrayal of a 12-year-old, this book is a lot of fun and just dark and mature enough to keep it interesting,” reckons Degolar at Through the Prism. Over at blog-title-of-the week Nincompooperies, Emily agrees: “It’s an action-packed fantasy that’s not Harry Potter ... In fact, I tend to think that SP would kick HP’s tuches in a darkened alley.” Jochem at Sons of Spade likes John Connolly’s THE UNQUIET: “The lyrical crime writing of Connolly compares to James Lee Burke. As always with Connolly’s Parker novels, a fantastic PI novel that shows what you can do within the genre when you respect what came before but don’t feel restricted by it. Highly recommended.” Meanwhile, Ronan O’Brien’s CONFESSIONS OF A FALLEN ANGEL gets the Irish Times treatment: “In many ways, his hero is reminiscent of Patrick McCabe’s masterful creation Francie Brady, and O’Brien even nods his acknowledgement to this precursor by having Charlie read THE BUTCHER BOY ... Is CONFESSIONS OF A FALLEN ANGEL a commentary on Celtic Tiger Ireland? Unintentionally perhaps. Is it a diverting read? Most definitely,” says Derek Hand … Spare a thought for JULIUS WINSOME: “I loved it. I’m a language freak; I’ll geek out completely when I read a well constructed sentence, and there are a plethora in this novel,” says Nick at Biblio Fool. They’re still pouring in for Tana French’s IN THE WOODS: “An engrossing book that I only took about two days to read. I cried, but then, I always cry at books. It reminded me, somehow, of THE BLACK DAHLIA … Semi-mystery, semi-cop-story, semi-drama, semi-totally-depressing-story- about-humanity-being-lame. Recommended,” says Lauren at Laurenisms. Justine at Fresh Library agrees: “Tana French does an amazing job in creating the characters and the dark, gloomy atmosphere of the woods … I highly recommend this book!” Ken Bruen has blurbed John McFetridge’s second novel, to wit: “EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is just one hell of a read, takes off like a bullet and never lets up, like a wondrous mix of Elmore Leonard and McBain but with a dazzling Canadian slant that is as fresh as it is darkly hilarious.” Over at Richard’s World, Richard is in two minds about Benny Blanco’s THE SILVER SWAN: “I enjoyed the story, but found the writing style not to my taste. Disjointed and blunt. The general tempo is very good, but never seems fixed in time or writing style, making this book a hard read.” Andrea Sisco at Armchair Interviews likes Declan Hughes’ second Ed Loy novel: “THE COLOUR OF BLOOD is compelling. It’s dark and gritty, the characters are complex and well-developed, the plot is smooth and the setting of Ireland is rich and lush. Waiting for the next Loy novel is glorious anticipation. Hughes is quickly claiming his place in the field of exciting writing.” Finally, the late and very much lamented Siobhan Dowd’s BOG CHILD is garnering a plethora of raves. “Exquisite writing with a very matter-of-fact Irish lilt to the vernacular … and a definitive fictional account of recent history that still may not have made much of an appearance in children’s literature,” says Dove Grey Reader, while Jenny Valentine in The Times concurs: “Teenagers now have to study the Troubles in history, and Dowd will give them an invaluable insight into religious divides both old and new, through a hero who is utterly believable and wholly captivating. Most of all, it evokes rural Ireland with the clear-sighted love of an author who will be much missed, and who came into her true voice with this book.” But we’ll leave the final word to the Book Witch: “BOG CHILD is a masterpiece. I can’t think of another way to describe it.” Yes, hmmm … We were hoping for something along the lines of ‘wing of bat and eye of newt’, but we suppose ‘masterpiece’ will have to do us for now …