“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.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Something Pooky This Way Comes

John Connolly has been dabbling in the dark corners where demons lurk for many years now, and Stuart Neville’s THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (aka THE TWELVE), as the title suggests, also incorporated supernatural elements, or at least allowed for the possibility of such. Is a trend starting? Should I start dusting off my dog-eared collection of Aleister Crowleys? For lo, the blurb for Stephen Leather’s latest, NIGHTFALL, runneth thusly:
“You’re going to hell, Jack Nightingale.” They are the words that ended his career as a police negotiator. Now Jack’s a struggling private detective – and the chilling words come back to haunt him. Nightingale’s life is turned upside down the day that he inherits a mansion with a priceless library; it comes from a man who claims to be his father, and it comes with a warning. That Nightingale’s soul was sold at birth and a devil will come to claim it on his thirty-third birthday – just three weeks away. Jack doesn’t believe in Hell, probably doesn’t believe in Heaven either. But when people close to him start to die horribly, he is led to the inescapable conclusion that real evil may be at work. And that if he doesn’t find a way out he’ll be damned in hell for eternity.
  And if that doesn’t constitute a trend, then how about THE DEVIL, the forthcoming Jack Taylor from Sir Kenneth of Bruen? Quoth the blurb elves:
America - the land of opportunity, a place where economic prosperity beckons: but not for PI Jack Taylor, who’s just been refused entry. Disappointed and bitter, he thinks that an encounter with an over-friendly stranger in an airport bar is the least of his problems. Except that this stranger seems to know rather more than he should about Jack. Jack thinks no more of their meeting and resumes his old life in Galway. But when he’s called to investigate a student murder - connected to an elusive Mr K - he remembers the man from the airport. Is the stranger really is who he says he is? With the help of the Jameson, Jack struggles to make sense of it all. After several more murders and too many coincidental encounters, Jack believes he may have met his nemesis. But why has he been chosen? And could he really have taken on the devil himself?
  Jack, of course, has long been at war with the demon drink, but this sounds a bit more personal …
  So. The Big Question: Any other upcoming occult-themed Irish crime novels out there we should know about? Or any featuring a few angels, maybe even a Messiah? We’re all ears, people …

  This week I have been mostly reading: DIAMOND STAR HALO by Tiffany Murray; PILGERMANN by Russell Hoban; and SICILIAN CAROSUEL by Lawrence Durrell.

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