“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, February 3, 2012

First We Take Manorhamilton

Maybe it’s because my life is turning into one long senior moment, but I can’t remember too many Irish spy novels from recent times, although at a pinch, Eoin McNamee’s THE ULTRAS might qualify (McNamee also writes dedicated spy thrillers under the pseudonym John Creed, along with a series of kids’ spy stories). Meanwhile, back in the ’90s, Keith Baker published three spy titles, among them ENGRAM; and Philip Davidson published a series of very well received spy novels featuring MI5’s Harry Fielding. And then there is the enigma that is Joseph Hone, whose most recent offering, GOODBYE AGAIN, was published by Lilliput late last year.
  Anyway, there’s a new Irish spy thriller on the block, in the shape of Kevin Brophy’s THE BERLIN CROSSING (Headline Review), with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Secrets and spies, love and tragedy in Stasi East Germany. Brandenburg 1993: The Berlin Wall is down, the country is reunified and thirty-year-old school teacher Michael Ritter feels his life is falling apart. His wife has thrown him out, his new West German headmaster has fired him for being a socialist, former Party member and he is still clinging on to the wreckage of the state that shaped him. Disenfranchised and disenchanted, Michael heads home to care for his terminally ill mother. Before she dies, she urges him to seek out an evangelical priest, Pastor Bruck, who is the only one who knows the truth about his father. When Michael eventually tracks him down, he is taken on a journey of dark discoveries, one which will shatter his foundations, but ultimately bring him hope to rebuild them.
  The early word has been a little mixed, with the Sunday Times and the Irish Independent both suggesting that Brophy’s promise might be better served by a more focused second offering, but The Guardian quite liked it, in the process referencing (as did the Sunday Times and Irish Independent) John Le CarrĂ©. To wit:
“It may be technically flawed, but its humanity, attention to period detail and sheer guts will win you over. In the end, this is a story about reconciliation, not just between the former east and west, but between the lies of dogma and the real lives of others who turn out to be us.” - Kapka Kassabova
  So there you have it. The story, incidentally, moves from Berlin to London and on to Galway, although I’d have much preferred it had THE BERLIN CROSSING culminated in a shoot-out in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, so that the title of this post might have made a little more sense. Oh well, you can’t have everything …

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its nice