“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, May 19, 2008

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “A clear disciple of Elmore Leonard, McFetridge (DIRTY SWEET) has almost every character talk and think like Chili Palmer, not a bad thing for a fun read,” says Publishers Weekly of EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE. A certain Ken Bruen, via John McFetridge’s blog, agrees: “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.” Which is nice … “Declan Hughes has captured the spirit of Ireland in his series featuring the private detective Ed Loy … Hughes is especially good at dialogue. The story is less persuasive than in the earlier books and ends in high drama, but he is a very fine writer,” says Susanna Yager at The Sunday Telegraph of THE DYING BREED. Back to Ken Bruen for a mo: “Taylor’s a far cry from an affable character. In the hands of a weaker writer than Bruen, he’d probably be detestable and utterly unreadable. But Bruen does it with seeming ease. His is one of the freshest, most distinct voices in crime fiction today … Holding it all together is Bruen’s skill and fierce vision, and of course Taylor, a black hole of a hero if there ever was one,” reckons Kevin Burton Smith at The Rap Sheet (scroll down) about PRIEST. Over at Euro Crime, Norman Price is raving about CROSS: “Ken Bruen has written yet another brilliant book with his protagonist Jack Taylor able to speak for all those people who have been left behind by the complications of modern society … If you haven’t read Ken Bruen yet you are missing some the finest crime fiction being written today. It is not gentle like the Irish rain but harsh like Ireland’s history.” Martin Edwards likes Brian McGilloway’s first offering: “I’ve finished Brian McGilloway’s debut novel, BORDERLANDS, and I enjoyed it. After a steady beginning, the pace develops and there is plenty of action, coupled with a plot of increasing complexity that has its roots (like so many of the best murder plots) buried in the past … All in all, then, a very assured debut.” A couple now for John Connolly’s latest: “THE REAPERS fairly crackles with menace; the portrayal of serious-minded individuals utterly intent on completing their dark objectives is masterly. The author has adapted and blended elements of both the neo-noir and gothic tradition to produce a stylish piece, from which a darkly laconic sense of humour protrudes like a razorblade from an apple. In Connolly’s world, sentimentality gets abducted from outside a porno cinema and mercilessly pistol-whipped in a dank basement. THE REAPERS is all the better for it,” says Fachtna Kelly at the Sunday Business Post. Over at The Book Bag, Iain Wear agrees: “What I found was a highly enjoyable book that aside from a couple of minor points, proved to be a quick and easy read. It’s simply written, but the nature of the genre and of the characters involved here demands that and this helps keep the pace of the story high and stopped my interest in events from waning at any stage … I would certainly recommend THE REAPERS and, to judge from what events Connolly hinted at from his earlier books, the author in general.” But stay! What news of Benny Blanco? “This sequel to CHRISTINE FALLS is as atmospheric and dark, dark, dark a story as its predecessor … pulls you in with complicated characters, all machinating in gloomy 1950’s Dublin, and manages to be a crackling story as well as a bitter study of chances lost, and contentment squandered,” says Sohaila at McNally Robinson of THE SILVER SWAN. Meanwhile, Sarah Weinman is impressed with Benny’s forthcoming opus, THE LEMUR: “Anyone who thinks John Banville lacks a sense of humour clearly did not read his serial for the New York Times magazine, available in novella-ish format in July. The story has all the basic crime ingredients - blackmail, adultery, murder, betrayal, that sort of thing - but it is so, so clear how much fun Banville had writing this pseudonymous exercise, loading up sentences filled with bizarre but well-placed metaphors and gently (or not so gently!) lampooning his characters as he moves them around his narrative chess board.” Yet more big-ups for Tana French’s Edgar-winning IN THE WOODS: “This is a very fine book. The characters and relationships are fully drawn, the suspense of the police work is terrifically exciting, and the writing is lovely to read … This is not just an excellent police thriller; it’s an excellent novel, even for people who think they don’t like police thrillers. Recommended without reservation,” says Keith at In Which Our Hero. Justine at Fresh Library concurs: “One of the most gripping, well-written books I’ve ever read … Tana French does an amazing job in creating the characters and the dark, gloomy atmosphere of the woods … I highly recommend this book!” Over to Newsvine, where Adam Colclough is impressed by Ingrid Black’s latest: “THE JUDAS HEART is a truly superior thriller with an original setting and a plot that keeps the reader guessing until the last moment. Black’s view of the consequences of jealousy is, as events reveal, truly Shakespearean … Amidst the massed ranks of books about serial killers and the people who hunt them the work of Ingrid Black stands out as being the real deal.” Finally, a trio for John Boyne’s new offering: “Boyne’s novel can stand comparison with [William Golding’s RITES OF PASSAGE]. Written with a total command of naval expertise, without ever spilling over into pedantry, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is story-telling at its most accomplished … There is also a happier ending for Turnstile than ever seemed possible. This he richly deserves for having told his extraordinary tale with such wit and verve,” says Nicholas Tucker at The Independent. Mary Warnock in the Sunday Independent likes it too: “Boyne is a spellbinding story-teller with a real feel for the period. As he so successfully did with CONGRESS OF ROUGH RIDERS and THIEF OF TIME, he wonderfully evokes a particular atmosphere and has a lively historical imagination. Most of all, he tells a cracking good tale and, in this case, honour has been finally satisfied to boot.” And some wastrel called Declan Burke at Crime Always Pays offers his two cents: “Comparisons to Joseph Conrad and William Golding’s RITES OF PASSAGE trilogy are not outrageous, and Boyne has clearly paid attention to TREASURE ISLAND. Throw in the exotic setting of Otaheite, the mutiny, and one of nautical history’s most impressive feats of endurance, and MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY is well-nigh irresistible.” Hurrah! Can we use that ‘Boyne’s Own Adventure’ line yet again to finish off? No? Ah, boo …

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