There’s a very strong risk that I’m going to turn into some kind of boy who cried wolf, given that I have a tendency on these pages to describe THE LATEST NOVEL by A.N. Other Irish Author as his / her best yet. Two things about that: one, there’s not a lot else I can say if it’s the case - as I believe it is - that a goodly number of Irish crime writers are consistently upping their game with each passing book. Secondly, and with the caveat that I’m still only halfway through THE BURNING SOUL, John Connolly’s latest is an absolute stonker so far. A bittersweet paean to the state of Maine by way of an elegiac quality of poetry, flashes of Chandleresque homage, a riveting plot about child abduction against a backdrop of the murder of a young girl some two decades previously, all laced with Charlie Parker’s sulphurous wit - all of Connolly’s trademarks are here, along with a sense of coiled, tensile power bursting to escape the story’s seams. I’ve always been a fan of Connolly’s work, and made no secret of it; but this feels different, and in my (rarely) humble opinion, something of a step up onto another level.
Of course, John Connolly was good enough to launch my own humble tome a couple of weeks back, so feel free to dismiss all of the above as log-rolling. It will be your loss, though.
Anyway, THE BURNING SOUL will be officially launched in Eason’s, O’Connell Street in Dublin on August 29th, and all the details can be found here. Given the demand, the event is likely to be oversubscribed, but a little birdie informs me that free tickets - yep, that’s a recession-friendly free - can be booked in advance by emailing email@example.com. The evening’s entertainment will centre on a public interview with - unsurprisingly - John Connolly, conducted by our very own Arlene Hunt, which should make for a fairly lively conversation. I’m officially taking bets now as to which of the pair will manage to pack in the most indiscreet revelations …
“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.