Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Televised, With Endorsements

Kudos yet again to the Irish Times for its Book of the Day review slot, although today’s offering was a terrible review of Adrian McKinty’s FIFTY GRAND. By which I mean, the reviewer didn’t like the novel, but the review itself was terrible. It kicks off like this:
SERIOUS CRIME fiction these days is a fickle gamble, especially for newer writers. Genre boundaries have become blurred. Crime thriller enthusiasts are perhaps among the hardest readers to impress because of their love for both the list of illustrious luminaries and equally because of the powerful abilities of this same elite to bring their main characters to life. It’s called character stamina …
  Leaving aside ‘character stamina’ (?), what’s all this about ‘crime thriller enthusiasts’? Do those who love chick lit not have a list of illustrious luminaries? What about sci-fi lovers – don’t they have their own geniuses? Do not those who prefer literary fiction, or poetry, love their luminaries for their ability to bring their characters to life?
  The review goes downhill from there, losing wheels at a rate of knots. This bit stands out, though:
Some of Hollywood’s hottest names pop up in the storyline, including Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Matthew Broderick. Seeing their names made me increasingly uncomfortable as to how they might feel about being associated with the image of the resort’s labour conditions, bent sheriff and sleazy drug dealers.
  Happily, the reviewer was in no way uncomfortable with trashing a brilliant writer’s novel on the basis that he, the reviewer, preferred the works of Jeffrey Deaver and David Baldacci.
  Seriously, some days you’d wonder why you bother your hole.
  And then, just when you think the day can’t get any worse, the ever-fragrant Sarah Weinman pops up with the worst cover (see above) in the history of publishing.
  It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better, people …