Crete is the setting for Paul Johnston’s 13th novel, THE SILVER STAIN (Crème de la Crime, £19.99), which sees a film producer commission Johnston’s Athens-based private eye, Alex Mavros, to find a movie star’s personal assistant. A straightforward assignment, but Mavros quickly discovers that the events being depicted on the film set – the Nazi invasion of Crete in 1941 – have contemporary resonances that prove lethal. A Scottish author living in Greece, writing about a detective who is half-Scottish, half-Greek, Johnston employs an observer who is ideally placed to make an outsider’s caustic observations about modern Crete, yet he knows the terrain well enough to give the setting a vividly authentic feel. The island’s time-honoured love-hate relationship with law and order, allied to pacy narrative and deadpan black humour courtesy of a knowingly archetypal private eye, all delivered in deceptively elegant prose, make THE SILVER STAIN an early contender for one of the best private detective novels of the year.For the rest of the column, clickety-click here …
“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, April 5, 2012
Silver Stain, Gold Standard
and said Paul Johnston. To wit: