Commissioner Alec Blume returns in Conor Fitzgerald’s third novel, THE NAMESAKE (Bloomsbury, £11.99), although the usual Rome setting quickly gives way to southern Italy as Blume investigates the murder of an apparently innocent man and discovers that the victim shares a name with a magistrate intent on prosecuting a high-ranking member of the Ndrangheta, or Calabrian mafia. As with Claire McGowan’s novel, THE NAMESAKE is as much an exploration of the social, cultural and political factors that led to the rise of the Ndrangheta as it is a conventional police procedural; indeed, the book has as much in common with a spy novel, as Blume joins an undercover agent as he penetrates the Calabrian heartland.Elsewhere, over the last few days, Eilis O’Hanlon reviewed the debut offering from Michael Clifford, GHOST TOWN; and Eamon Delaney reviewed yet another debut Irish crime title, Conor Brady’s A JUNE OF ORDINARY MURDERS.
Exquisitely written in a quietly elegant style, and dotted with nuggets of coal-black humour, THE NAMESAKE is a bold blend of genre conventions that confirms Fitzgerald’s growing reputation as an author whose novels comfortably straddle the increasingly fine line between crime and literary fiction.
“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.
Monday, May 14, 2012
A Blume By Any Other Name
Irish Times ‘Crime Beat’ column was published on Saturday, featuring short reviews of the latest titles from Elmore Leonard, Claire McGowan, Barry Forshaw, Hesh Kestin and Lyndsay Faye. It also included THE NAMESAKE by Conor Fitzgerald. To wit: