“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.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: ONLY WE KNOW by Karen Perry

The second offering from the Irish writing partnership of Karen Perry (aka Karen Gillece and Paul Perry), Only We Know (Penguin) opens on a riverbank in Kenya’s Masai Mara in 1982, with Sally arriving moments too late to prevent a tragedy that involves her young sons Luke and Nicky and their friend Katie. The story then moves forward to 2013, when Katie is a journalist in Dublin, Luke a successful businessman, and Nicky a recently married musician living in Nairobi. The trio’s belief that their tragic secret is known only to them is revealed to be a fallacy when Katie receives a bizarre and ominous token in the post, and soon their lives are spiralling out of control as this psychological thriller, which offers alternating viewpoints and subjective interpretations of the truth of what really happened on that fateful day, strips back the layers of deceit that has sustained them in the intervening decades. Only We Know builds handsomely on the promise of The Boy That Never Was (2014), plausibly and hauntingly exploring the extent to which guilt, shame and secrecy can shape, define and eventually destroy lives. ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Times.

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