“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, November 29, 2013

Review: THE OUTSIDER by Arlene Hunt

The latest crime fiction column in the Irish Times features new offerings from Ian Rankin, Arlene Hunt, Donna Leon, Paul Johnston and Lee Child. The Arlene Hunt review runs like this:
Arlene Hunt is best known for her Dublin-set ‘QuicK Investigations’ novels, which feature the private eye duo John Quigley and Sarah Kenny, although her most recent offering, the standalone The Chosen (2011), was set in a remote rural setting in the US. In The Outsider (Portnoy Publishing, €11.50), Hunt sets her story in another rural setting, that of County Wicklow, with the story centring on the twins Emma and Anthony Byrne. A teenager who ‘may or may not be on the autism spectrum’, Emma develops a rare ability to rehabilitate physically and psychologically brutalised horses; why would anyone want to harm such a gentle soul? The backdrop of the Wicklow countryside suggests that The Outsider belongs to the ‘cosy’ or ‘malice domestic’ tradition, but while the style and setting are far removed from the hardboiled conventions, Hunt excels at excavating the petty passions of village life that, unchecked, lead here to anger, obsession and murderous rage. Moreover, The Outsider is not the straightforward narrative of taboos broached and justice served we expect from ‘cosy’ novels. In creating a community of apparently ordinary people capable of extraordinary cruelty, Hunt deftly blurs the lines between justice and revenge and propels her tale into the realms of true tragedy. – Declan Burke
  For the rest of the column, clickety-click here

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