“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, October 13, 2016

One to Watch: THE CITY IN DARKNESS by Michael Russell

I don’t make a habit of blogging about books I’m still reading but with 100 pages or so still to go, Michael Russell’s THE CITY IN DARKNESS (Constable) is shaping up to be one of the best Irish crime fiction novels I’ve read all year. Quote the blurb elves:
Christmas 1939. In Europe the Phoney War hides carnage to come. In Ireland Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie keeps tabs on Irishmen joining the British Forces. It’s unpleasant work, but when an IRA raid on a military arsenal sends Garda Special Branch in search of guns and explosives, Stefan is soon convinced his boss, Superintendent Terry Gregory, is working for the IRA.
  At home for Christmas, Stefan is abruptly called to Laragh, an isolated mountain town. A postman has disappeared, believed killed, and Laragh’s Guards are hiding something. Stefan is the nearest Special Branch detective, yet is he only there because Gregory wants him out of the way?
  Laragh is close to the lake where Stefan’s wife Maeve drowned years earlier, and when events expose a connection between the missing postman and her death, Stefan realises it wasn’t an accident, but murder. And it will be a difficult, dangerous journey where Stefan has to finally confront the ghosts of the past in the mountains of Wicklow, before he can return to Dublin and the truth of his boss’s duplicity.
  It’s a beautifully realised historical mystery, a blend of police procedural and spy novel, the story split between WWII Ireland and post-Civil War Spain. THE CITY IN DARKNESS was published on October 3rd; for more on Michael Russell, whose ‘City’ novels have previously been nominated for the CWA awards, clickety-click here

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