“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.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: STUMPED by Rob Kitchin

The latest Irish Times crime fiction column includes a review of Rob Kitchin’s STUMPED, which ran a lot like this:
Billed as a ‘screwball noir’ and set during the concluding days of an Irish election campaign, Rob Kitchin’s Stumped (280 Steps, €11.99) is a comic crime caper that opens with Grant, an English academic based at Maynooth University, being presented with an ultimatum: return an unspecified package stolen from a Dublin gang lord, or see his friend Sinead returned to him in severed pieces. Enlisting the help of the wheelchair-bound Mary and her camp friend Declan, the hapless, bumbling Grant sets out to do the right thing, aided and abetted by venial politicians, low-life thugs, tabloid journalists, a rockabilly cop and a veritable platoon of drag queen farmers. Kitchin – an English academic based at Maynooth University – offers a delightfully preposterous tale in this, his fourth novel, even if the story is neither bleak enough to qualify as true noir and lacks the snappy, crackling dialogue we associate with classic screwball comedy. That said, Kitchin maintains a cracking pace and generates plenty of humour by switching rapidly between the perspectives of a swarming host of outlandish characters, very few of whom are anywhere near as clever or competent as they believe themselves to be. ~ Declan Burke
  For the rest of the column, which includes the current offerings from Paula Hawkins, Harri Nykänen and Celeste Ng, clickety-click here

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