“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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Can’t Spell Megan Without, Um, Mega

Before I read THE END OF EVERYTHING, Megan Abbott was one of those writers I’d been meaning to get to for a couple of years - fair to say, I think, that her reputation (BURY ME DEEP, QUEENPIN) precedes her. Anyway, THE END OF EVERYTHING more than matched my expectations; actually, it’ll probably be my favourite read of the year. Here’s a short review from this month’s Irish Times’ crime fiction column, which was published last Saturday:
Megan Abbott’s THE END OF EVERYTHING (Picador, £7.99) is another unusual offering, a novel about the abduction of a pubescent girl by a male neighbour as seen through the eyes of Lizzie, the best friend of the abducted girl. This is Abbott’s fifth novel, and it’s a superb piece of characterisation, which is given an added dimension courtesy of Lizzie’s entirely frank account of her growing sexual obsession with the father of the abducted girl. It’s an unsettling tale, as the reader is torn between Lizzie’s endearing naivety and her beautifully detailed reminiscing about her idyllic suburban life, and the darkness that lurks behind the apparently normal facades of her neighbourhood, which Lizzie insists on probing. Laced with poetic asides, and shot through with black humour and a bleak acceptance of the dangers that accompany a young woman’s puberty, THE END OF EVERYTHING is one of the most compelling novels you’ll read this year.
  Of course, the trouble with reading a terrific novel like that is that you immediately want to go back to the start of the author’s back catalogue and dive in. A luxury that a lack of time, unfortunately, doesn’t allow me these days. The good news there, I suppose, is that Megan Abbott has a new title, DARE ME, on the way next summer, which should nicely brighten up those long, damp, dreary Irish summer days.
  Elsewhere in the Irish Times’ column, I reviewed THE RETRIBUTION by Val McDermid, THE AFFAIR by Lee Child, THE KILLER IS DYING by James Sallis, THE END OF THE WASP SEASON by Denise Mina and STOLEN SOULS by our own Stuart Neville. Top stuff, all in all; one of the best month’s reading I’ve had in a long, long time. For the full piece, clickety-click here

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