“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.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Darkness Visible: Michael Russell’s CITY OF SHADOWS

I’ve been hearing quite a lot about Michael Russell’s CITY OF SHADOWS (Avon) over the last few months, all of it very positive, and most recently from Joe Long – and if it’s good enough for the Long Fella, then it’s good enough for me. Quote the blurb elves:
“She looked up at the terraced house, with the closed shutters and the big room at the end of the long unlit corridor where the man who smiled too much did his work. She climbed the steps and knocked on the door …”
  Dublin 1934: Detective Stefan Gillespie arrests a German doctor and encounters Hannah Rosen, desperate to find her friend Susan, a Jewish woman who disappeared after a love affair with a Catholic priest. When the bodies of a man and woman are found buried in the Dublin mountains, Stefan becomes involved in a complex case that takes him, and Hannah, across Europe to Danzig. Stefan and Hannah are drawn together in an unfamiliar city where the Nazi Party are gaining power. But in their quest to uncover the truth of what happened to Susan, they find themselves in grave danger …
  Over at Writing.ie, Louise Phillips interviews Michael Russell about CITY OF SHADOWS, and during the chat elicited this:
“One of the problems with writing anything historical is that you’ve got to be very careful your characters don’t already know what’s going to happen, and although Nazism was extremely unpleasant, and there was already plenty of evidence of that [at the time the book is set], it’s not the case that people had the knowledge they subsequently learned, so therefore as the writer you have to look at it slightly differently. The association with the swastika flag was important too, and the incident in Chapter 2 came from an old photograph of a tricolour and a swastika flag hanging outside a Dublin hotel, the party held there was reported in the Irish Times as a great party, one for the German community. There were plenty of people who thought, again referring to an old photograph of a branch of Hitler Youth, formed by the German community in Ireland, that they were polite, they were disciplined and in the case of the Hitler Youth on that particular occasion, sang rather nicely.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

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