“For those of you that are not familiar with Connolly’s work, he manages to show both the darkest aspects of man as well as the finest points of humanity in a style that is graphic yet often poetic. I can honestly say I think he is one of the finest fiction writers alive today and should be read by all.”No arguments here. Claire Coughlan, on the other hand, is in combative form – a stalwart reviewer for Crime Always Pays, she gets in touch to vent about Tana French’s THE LIKENESS thusly:
“Is it my imagination, or do American reviewers seem to give an awful lot of the plot away? Sheesh, leave something for the readers to find out themselves. Check out this review in the NY Times ... I have a problem with reviewers in general going into the minutiae of the plot – it kinda ruins elements of the story.”Certainly there’s a fine line between offering the reader enough plot to intrigue, and blatant plot-spoilers. My own issue with Janet Maslin’s review of THE LIKENESS is that it compares the novel – approvingly – with Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY, which was The Most Boring Novel I’ve Ever Read, Ever. But that’s just me …
Elsewhere, Charles Fernyhough reviewed Irvine Welsh’s CRIME for the Sunday Independent, and had this to say:
“Welsh’s readers will recognise his trademark melange of registers, from high-flown lyricism, through foul-mouthed demotic to bland therapy-speak: the taut dialogue buzzes with snappy ventriloquism. Welsh is one of our most interesting writers on the minutiae of human consciousness, and little happens here that the reader does not end up feeling vividly for himself.”Over at The Scotsman, CAP’s Man of the Week, Tony Black, waxes lyrical about why Edinburgh is the perfect city for a crime fiction setting, to wit:
“If you were putting together a template for what might be the best city for a crime novel, I think Edinburgh might fit the bill. It’s got that schizophrenic heart. There is rich Edinburgh and poor Edinburgh, there are ornate buildings and sink estates. Inevitably these two worlds must collide, which creates perfect conflict for the crime novelist. It’s the city of TRAINSPOTTING, but it’s also the city of MISS JEAN BRODIE.”Finally, the harsh-but-fair dominatrix known to her adoring public as Maxine Clarke reports from Harrogate, and sounds a little peeved at the excessive analysis of what constitutes crime fiction:
“The more I read and hear people trying to shoehorn “crime fiction” into various psychological and sociological analyses, the more irrelevant the genre-definition game seems to be. Good books are good books, and don’t need to be discussed in a certain context, which could end up turning into a straightjacket.”Well said, ma’am. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, there’s only two kinds of writing – good writing and bad writing. The rest is marketing. Peace, out.
* Providing you don’t click any of the links, obviously.