“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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review: THE MEMORY KEY by Conor Fitzgerald

The fourth novel to feature Conor Fitzgerald’s Rome-based Commissioner Alec Blume, THE MEMORY KEY (Bloomsbury) opens with Blume being called to the scene of an apparent assassination – a young student called Sofia Fontana, who has been shot by a sniper. Fontana, it transpires, was the only witness to a previous shooting, when a former terrorist was also shot, and also by a sniper. Blume’s investigations lead him into the murky world of 1970’s terrorist activities in Italy, as those responsible for a murderous train station bomb some four decades previously clean up the loose ends that could trip up their political futures. As has been the case with Fitzgerald’s previous novels, Rome is something of a character in its own right here, particularly as the labyrinthine nature of its policing contributes handsomely to a claustrophobic tale. Blume, American by birth but a naturalised Italian, makes for a classic crime fiction staple, the insider with the cynical outsider’s eye, and THE MEMORY KEY, which again boasts Fitzgerald’s terse but lyrical style, is another excellent police procedural in an increasingly impressive body of work. – Declan Burke

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