“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.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Barclay You Can Bank On

Hail the mighty sub! I had a crime fiction column published in the Irish Times last Saturday which appeared under the very nifty headline, ‘A Barclay You Can Bank On’, largely because Alex Barclay’s BLOOD LOSS was among the titles reviewed. It went a lot like this:
Alex Barclay is […] deft in making the personal political in BLOOD LOSS (Harper, £6.99), her fifth novel in all and the third to feature the Denver-based FBI agent Ren Bryce, who works with Colorado’s Safe Streets programme.
  The disappearance of two young girls from their hotel room in the skiing town of Breckenridge looks to be a straightforward case of abduction, but Ren, who suffers from bipolar disorder and is struggling with one of her manic phases, quickly finds the case opening up to involve the abuse of antipsychotic drugs and corruption in the pharmaceutical industry.
  By making Ren’s internal monologues an integral part of the character’s appeal, Barclay establishes her heroine as an empathic, self-questioning, no-nonsense woman who is deliciously self-lacerating when it comes to her faults, even if such hyperawareness tends to cause her to doubt her own judgment. Perversely, given the theme of the damage wrought on mental health by misdiagnosis and prescription for profit, this is arguably Barclay’s most balanced novel to date, as Ren’s personal and professional concerns dovetail for a persuasive finale.
  For the rest, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, and if we skip back a couple of weeks, I had an interview with Alex Barclay published in the Evening Herald, during which Alex touched on the issue of ‘Big Pharma’. To wit:
BLOOD LOSS opens with the apparent abduction of two young girls, but it quickly broadens out to explore the malign influence of ‘Big Pharma’ and the corruption in the US pharmaceutical industry.
  “This was the most astounding research I’ve ever done,” says Alex. “I was tearing myself away from the research to write. I just found it heartbreaking. I mean, the fact that the top five prescribed drugs in the US are all anti-psychotics is extraordinary. At no point could they all be prescribed to psychotic people. It’s just ludicrous. And this diagnosis of children with bi-polar disorder is absolutely unfathomable.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

1 comment:

seana said...

Just posting to say that I was a little concerned when I saw your comment field limited to team members only a couple of days ago. Glad you decided to let the rabble in after all. I was only posting to say that I've got both your titles ordered through Book Depository and am looking forward to them.

Sorry to give short shrift to Alex Barclay here.