“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 31, 2008
The Monday Review
It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “Bateman is one of those writers with a deliciously oblique view of life; he can sucker-punch us with hilarious comic jabs without letting the narrative sink into triviality … It puts him in the same enviable category as Christopher Brookmyre and Carl Hiaasen,” says Martin Lewin at The Guardian of ORPHEUS RISING. Over at Crime Scene Northern Ireland, Gerard Brennan agrees: “I was very surprised by the supernatural content in ORPHEUS RISING … Just trust me when I say he does it with the aptitude of the likes of Stephen King or John Connolly … He sets up a powerful world and sticks rigidly to his own rules, and the transition into suspension of disbelief is an easy one for the reader as a result.” A tardy one for Declan Hughes’ THE COLOUR OF BLOOD from Bruce Grossman at Bookgasm: “Even though the climax is disturbing, I was still drawn into the dense, complex story, which plays like a post-modern version of Archer, but never settling for the quick out.” Geraldine Brennan at The Guardian loves Siobhan Dowd’s BOG CHILD: “A captivating first love affair, a hilarious red herring and profound truths about politics and family add up to a novel set to win awards in the coming year.” Tony Bailie’s THE LOST CHORD is a new one on us, but the folks at The Irish Emigrant liked it: “A remarkable debut novel by Tony Bailie … THE LOST CHORD is a well-written and seemingly authentic take on the rollercoaster life of the rock musician interspersed with a tale of mystery that adds a new dimension to a well-worn theme.” They keep on coming for Benny Blanco’s THE SILVER SWAN: “There is a sedate, lugubrious quality to the writing, but it never becomes tiresome, mostly because of the quality of Black’s prose,” says Barbara Tom at MBTB’s Mystery Book Blog. “Banville mixes the best of literary description and atmosphere with the mystery plotting to create a memorable character,” reckons Bibliomane at A Reader’s Year. Martin Rubin at the San Francisco Chronicle can hardly contain himself: “CHRISTINE FALLS is rawer, more searingly, devastatingly powerful in its crushing impact. But THE SILVER SWAN, while still delivering many a staggering narrative or stylistic punch, is for the most part written in a more minor key, with a deeper, more profound, almost elegiac tone about it. There is a palpable sense of Banville as Black liberating himself, hitting his stride grandly and more comfortably, a realization that Quirke is a perfect vehicle for exploring Dublin as it was a half century ago.” Hell, even the Christian Science Monitor is impressed: “The author knows 1950s Dublin inside and out and the narrative drives onward with pitch-perfect passages, reminding the reader of the capable hands steering him toward resolution … Black never lets ornate stage-setting overshadow a lean plot free of any excess fat,” says Erik Spanberg. Elsewhere, the audio version of Derek Landy’s SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT is getting hup-yas, first from Darla at Books and Other Thoughts: “This is one of the best audio productions I’ve ever heard. From the jazzy, creepy introduction music to Rupert Degas’ amazing reading, I had a grin on my face from beginning to end … This is one of my favourite books of the year, and I am waiting very anxiously for the second book to be published.” The good folk at Sonderbooks agree: “The magic world Derek Landy creates is much darker and more sinister than Harry Potter’s … this is a fun and captivating adventure yarn.” Ian Sansom’s THE DELEGATE’S CHOICE tickled Sarah Hunter’s funny-bone over at The Skinny: “This novel is incredibly funny … Snorting with laughter is a habitual hazard with this novel … It’s a clever book, and an easy, enjoyable read.” Meanwhile, over at RTE (no, not Reviewing the Evidence – the Irish RTE), Linda McGee likes MISSING PRESUMED DEAD: “Arlene Hunt takes us on a gripping journey … Hunt has a great ability to inject suspense into her writing [but] while MISSING PRESUMED DEAD is action-packed, it manages to successfully combine a gritty crime storyline with a softer human story.” Bruce at Gonzo Geek likes the Ken Bruen / Jason Starr collaboration SLIDE: “It’s a tale of violence, sex, and double-crosses. Everything good noir should be.” Back to the feverishly reading Gerard Brennan of CSNI for his take on Sam Millar’s BLOODSTORM: “I enjoyed Mr Millar’s crisp and unrelenting style … most impressive is the story’s structure and how Millar chooses to reveal the final twists, catching the reader with a few surprises right up to the epilogue. So stay alert right up to the end, champ. There’s always one more body-shot coming.” A couple of big-ups for Tana French’s IN THE WOODS: “This gets 4 stars for being not only quite well written, but completely page turning. It’s like an Irish Law and Order SVU but with some really excellent prose. Tana French is indeed a very good writer,” reckons Sarah at Books Galore. Pat at Mysterious Yarns agrees: “IN THE WOODS is Tana French’s first novel and it really surprised me. I was expecting a competent mystery with good characters but this one got right under the skin of Rob Ryan and it totally hooked me. I read it in a weekend and could barely put it down.” Nice … Finally, David Park’s THE TRUTH COMMISSIONER is making waves: “Park’s soulful story about buried secrets, tangled lies and manipulated memories may be a little abstract for readers who didn’t follow the Troubles, but this powerful fiction both humanizes and universalizes the civil war that gripped Ireland for so long,” reckon the good folk at Publishers Weekly (via Powell’s), while Joseph O’Neill, writing in the New York Times, just about stops short of nominating Park for a Pulitzer: “It’s an ambitious premise that’s almost intolerably weighty; but with guile and wonderful imaginative sympathy, Park stays afloat on the most treacherous of thematic currents: the inhumanity of violence, the vulnerability of the individual before history, truth’s inextricability from power, the elusive nature of redemption … The central attribute of the writing — and it’s one of the things that make this novel of Ireland of more than parochial interest — is its conscientiousness. We’re reminded that with writers like David Park, the novel can itself be a kind of truth commission.” Ah, Norn Iron – if only they could have decommissioned the truth along with all those nasty bombs and bullets, they could all have lived happily and untruthfully after …