“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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: KILLING WAYS by Alex Barclay

Ren Bryce, the Denver-based FBI agent with the ‘Safe Streets’ programme, returns in Alex Barclay’s seventh novel, Killing Ways (Harper Collins, €16.99). A particularly vicious serial killer is targeting women in Denver, but Ren, bi-polar and off her meds in order to stay sharp, may not be the best person to lead the investigation. There’s a raw intimacy to Barclay’s portrayal of Ren Bryce, given that we’re privy to the self-torturing Ren’s unfiltered thought process, an intimacy that becomes all the more charged when we discover that she is chasing the killer who first appeared in Barclay’s debut, Dark House (2005). The most remarkable aspect of the novel, however, is the degree to which Barclay forces the reader to consider the consequences of brutal murder – indeed, there’s an element of horror in the brutal poetry that describes not only the victims’ remains, but the reasons why the killer is possessed of such savagery. ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Times.

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