“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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: DEAD SECRET by Ava McCarthy

Ava McCarthy is best known for her Harry Martinez computer hacker novels, but DEAD SECRET (Harper, €8.99) is a standalone thriller that hits the ground running: its narrator, Jodie Garrett, tells us that she’s packing a gun with nine rounds but will only need two: one for her husband and one for her. The reason? Her husband Ethan, who was always a bully, murdered their daughter Amy when Jodie finally announced she was leaving him.
  The pace is relentless as Jodie joins forces with journalist Matt Novak, who is investigating Ethan’s dodgy real estate dealings. The pair travel from Boston to Belize and on to Oregon in a breathless, contemporary take on an ancient Greek myth, with Jodie an implacable Fury relentlessly hounding Ethan in pursuit of vengeance and the ultimate in justice on behalf of her daughter.
  The pounding pace and rapid-fire revelations means that the story can teeter on the brink of parody at times, but the overall result is a compulsively readable domestic noir. – Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the February crime fiction column in the Irish Times. Other titles reviewed are THE NARROW BED by Sophie Hannah, THE OTHER MRS WALKER by Mary Paulson-Ellis, THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and THE GOOD LIAR by Nicholas Searle.

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