“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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Less Is Moore

With all the hoo-hah over the Irish Book Awards, it very nearly snuck under my radar that Bloomsbury is in the process of reissuing a series of Brian Moore’s novels, including NO OTHER LIFE, THE MAGICIAN’S WIFE and I AM MARY DUNNE. Of chief interest to crime fans will be THE STATEMENT, which was originally published in 1995, and about which the blurb elves have been wittering thusly:
Condemned to death in absentia for crimes against humanity, Pierre Brossard has lived in the shadows for more than forty years. Now, at last, his past is threatening to catch up with him. A new breed of government officials is determined to break decades of silence and expose the crimes of Vichy. Under the harsh glare of the Provencal sun, Brossard is forced to abandon the monastery where he has been hiding and turn to old friends for support - but can he really outrun his past?
  Brian Moore, who was born in Northern Ireland and emigrated to Canada in 1948, cut his teeth as an author writing crime novels, under the pseudonyms Bernard Mara and Michael Bryan. Frequently and favourably compared to Graham Greene, Moore was, like Greene, disposed towards writing both literary titles and more thriller-style tales. His best books, in my opinion, combined his gift for language and a serious moral investigation with a stripped-back, less-is-more narrative - the ideal crime thriller, in other words, as in the case of Moore’s political thrillers, LIES OF SILENCE and THE COLOUR OF BLOOD.
  I picked up a copy of THE STATEMENT in a second-hand bookshop in Dun Laoghaire yesterday, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, just as soon as I get all the work-related reading on the shelf out of the way. Which means, I suppose, that THE STATEMENT will be this Christmas’s reading treat, although I’d already lined up some Charles McCarry, Megan Abbott, Daniel Woodrell and James Sallis for that particular indulgence …

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