“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, March 3, 2008

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “This month we’re giving kudos—and the Tip of the Ice Pick Award—to Ken Bruen … CROSS is perfectly fine, better than fine, as a stand-alone novel, but if this review intrigues you, I strongly recommend buying all the Jack Taylor books and reading them in order. Mystery writing doesn’t get any better than this,” says Bruce Tierney at Book Page (no link). Meanwhile, Eddvick likes SLIDE: “At root a comedic serial killer book … The interest is not in rooting for anybody but in watching them collide with each other in a rocket of a plot.” From the sublime to Benny Blanco: “CHRISTINE FALLS is so very well written and as compelling a detective novel as I have read in years. Really the man is a genius,” reckons Becca at Becca & Bella of Benjamin Black’s debut. Diane Leach at Pop Matters is a tad more reserved: “Reviewing is ultimately a matter of opinion, and I cannot, in fairness, dismiss CHRISTINE FALLS because I disliked it. The plot is well-constructed, rolling along smoothly until it’s tightly balled up, every little thread knotted and tied off.” Pablo at Reading Rebels likes Eoin Colfer’s ARTEMIS FOWL AND THE LOST COLONY: “My one word label would be awesome because this book was fun, exciting and thrilling. When you start to read this book you just can’t put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone.” David Horspool reviewed David Parks’ THE TRUTH COMMISSIONER in the Sunday Times: “Not the least of the achievements of this impressive, many-layered novel is its combination of the hardest of realities with a measure of poetry and of humanity.” Nice … Shane Hegarty at Present Tense was also impressed: “It’s a big subject, but Parks succeeds in not only keeping it under control, but also in adding something fresh to what might appear to be an already jaded subject … assured and engrossing for the most part – and I’d recommend it.” Over to the Funky Librarian, who liked Derek Landy’s SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: “It’s a complicated story, as is Harry Potter. But it’s got loads more action than Harry. Some good torture, breaking and entering, and a few beheadings. Overall, a really enjoyable story for fantasy / violence junkies.” Dick Adler at The Rap Sheet loves Ronan Bennett’s latest: “Another reason to love ZUGZWANG is the fact that Bennett – influenced by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins – decided to write this novel as a weekly serial … The rest is history – and great fun.” KT McCaffrey’s latest, THE CAT TRAP, has been getting some early big-ups: “THE CAT TRAP is a classic suspenseful mystery, brimming with malevolent and misplaced motivations and a welcome addition to the crime fiction reader’s bookshelf,” says Crimefic Reader at It’s A Crime. Uriah Robinson at Crime Scraps concurs: “This is a really enjoyable read with enough red herrings to satisfy the most discerning crime fiction addict, and some very topical subject matter … Highly recommended.” But what of Arlene Hunt’s MISSING PRESUMED DEAD, you cry? Cry no more: “While MISSING PRESUMED DEAD is action-packed, it manages to successfully combine a gritty crime storyline with a softer human story,” says Linda McGee at RTE Entertainment. From Arlene Hunt to Twenty Major’s debut: “Treading a frequently blurred line between comedy, farce, thriller and social commentary, THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX PARK (a very Colin Bateman-esque title that ) does possess an infectious energy … and a few cracking ideas,” says the Evening Herald’s George Byrne (no link). DB Shan’s reworking of AYUMARCA gets the thumbs up from Alex Meehan at the Sunday Business Post: “The plot is excellent, with many twists and turns, and the Technicolour cast of characters are as entertaining as they are repellent. With PROCESSION OF THE DEAD, O’Shaughnessy [aka DB Shan] has produced a macabre, yet stylish, dark urban fantasy that’s more than worth the cover price for fantasy fans who like their strangeness to have an urban noir feel.” Lizzy at Lizzy’s Literary Life likes Catherine O’Flynn’s Costa-winning WHAT WAS LOST: “That O’Flynn chooses a neat, if somewhat rushed and implausible (?) solution to the central mystery demonstrates that this is not her prime concern. In doing so, however, she delivers a satisfactory ending and a very readable, though extremely thought-provoking debut novel. I look forward to her second.” Finally, a veritable raft of big-ups for Declan Hughes, starting with Mel Odom’s verdict on THE COLOUR OF BLOOD at Book Hound: “Hughes twists and turns characters and events so much that even a close reader has to stay on his toes … And the writing is packed with detail, emotion and history. This is a gifted storyteller at work.” Over at Book Page (no link), Bruce Tierney likes THE DYING BREED (aka THE PRICE OF BLOOD): “Loy is an exceptionally well-drawn character, strong but not unnecessarily violent, introspective without being angst-ridden. The dialogue is spare and edgy, the pacing crisp; Hughes’ sense of local colour, and particularly his ability to impart it to his readers, is absolutely spot on.” Publishers Weekly, via Barnes & Noble, is in agreement: “This intelligent, often brutal thriller will have readers’ hearts racing from start to finish.” At the same link you’ll find Library Journal in big-up mode too: “Hughes’s abilities to craft a ‘Dublin noir’ crime novel and to expand the character of Ed Loy combine to make this a welcome addition to an eminently readable new series. Highly recommended.” Insert your own variation on the ‘All hands on Dec’ punchline here, folks …

2 comments:

Seoman said...

"Cross" is Ken Bruen's best novel so far in the Jack Taylor series. Wonder what happened to the film adaptation of "The Guards"?

Declan Burke said...

Seoman - As far as I know, the movie of The Guards is on amber at the moment, and Ken is still hoping David Soul will get to play Jack Taylor. Sounds like a dynamite combo, no? As for Cross - I thought the second-last page of The Dramatist was one of the coldest, darkest things I've ever read. Cheers, Dec