“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, April 28, 2008

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “PRIEST, the fifth of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor novels, [is] as perfect a merging of the protagonist’s personality with the book’s mystery and subplots as any I have ever seen in a just about any novel, crime or otherwise … an immensely affecting, sad and funny story, one of the outstanding experiences I have ever had in reading. This book deserves any award it wins,” says Peter Rozovsky at Detectives Beyond Borders. Over at International Noir, meanwhile, Glenn Harper cast his eye over Benny Blanco’s THE SILVER SWAN: “Like the first ‘Benjamin Black’ novel by John Banville (CHRISTINE FALLS), THE SILVER SWAN is beautifully written, and is fully realized in its details. The characters are interesting and believable, the setting meticulously rendered, and the language evocative. But where CHRISTINE FALLS had, if anything, too much plot, THE SILVER SWAN doesn’t have quite enough … for me, the atmosphere is not quite enough to hold together a story whose various elements are linked by strands of coincidence, but are at the same time never quite cohere into a whole story.” Fruits De Mare liked Andrew Pepper’s debut: “For a debut, it’s quite impressive. Pepper creates a fair antihero in the singularly-named Pyke … THE LAST DAYS OF NEWGATE was a compelling read, satisfying and simultaneously disturbing.” They’re still coming in for Derek Landy’s sequel to SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: “Landy is a talented writer and has managed to create characters we care about. The relationship between Skulduggery and Stephanie is comic, yes, but also extremely touching. It’s a rare and talented author that can make us laugh in one sentence and then pull our heartstrings in another. PLAYING WITH FIRE is an incredible, amazing treat and one hell of a read,” reckons Jamieson Villeneuve at American Chronicle. But what of Aifric Campbell’s debut offering, we hear you cry. “I expected a highbrow literary affair with lots of subtle nuances, subtext, dense prose, long-long paragraphs and a distinct lack of dialogue and action. And that’s what I got. But here’s the thing – I truly enjoyed it … THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER is not exactly a light read for the beach, but an excellent novel if you fancy an intellectual workout,” says Gerard Brennan at Crime Scene Northern Ireland. Over at the Sunday Independent, Áine O’Connor concurs: “THE SEMANTICS OF MURDER is undeniably clever and original … A first novel for Aifric Campbell, it is brave and ambitious, its way paved and its form crafted by her own studies in semantics, psychotherapy, logic and creative writing. An impressive piece of work, it is erudite, interesting, thought-provoking and challenging.” Back to CSNI for Gerard Brennan’s verdict on Garbhan Downey’s latest, YOURS CONFIDENTIALLY: “It’s the funniest book I’ve read this year. And I read a lot … a laugh-out-loud-funny, fast-paced story and an entertaining education in the climate of Northern Ireland’s politics as at April 2008. A brilliant way to mark the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.” Lyzzybee’s Live Journal likes Catherine O’Flynn’s WHAT WAS LOST: “A wonderful book – even though it had a mystery part to the story … But overall fantastic, and greatly deserved the nominations and prizes it has picked up.” Tripp at the rather poignantly titled Books Are My Only Friends likes Tana French’s IN THE WOODS: “Tana French’s IN THE WOODS will appeal to readers who crave well-written, suspenseful, character driven police procedurals … And despite it being a debut novel, French is comfortable enough to put aside some of the genre rules.” Finally, Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright gives Declan Hughes’ THE DYING BREED some serious hup-ya over at The Guardian: “There is quite a roll to Loy’s patter, a mordant rhetorical flourish … The book’s conclusion owes as much to Greek tragedy as to Chandler – ‘loy’ is an Irish word for ‘spade’, don’t you know. Hughes is not afraid to take his references and run with them, he is not afraid to have a good time. Above all, he is not afraid of writing well.” And that, ladeez ‘n’ gennulmen, is the very definition of a non sequitur …

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