Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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, June 2, 2008

The Monday Review

It’s Monday, they’re reviews, to wit: “As ever with [John] Connolly, the macabre narrative is couched in prose that is often allusive and poetic a combination far more destabilising for the reader, wrong-footing us before that moment when all the stops are pulled out … THE REAPERS affords unusually bracing doses of Stygian delights,” says Barry Forshaw at The Independent. It’s a big-up verdict at Material Witness too: “Overall the story is well told and pacey and the sense of trouble rises uneasily throughout. Connolly steps up the series characterisation process several notches here, and future instalments will be all the better for it. For three quarters of the book, I wondered if this was not perhaps the best of the series. But the grisly, explosive ending seemed a little too contrived and over-dramatic … Nonetheless, a fine piece of work from Connolly, a tier-one mystery writer somewhere near the height of his powers.” Rumour Man likes it too: “It’s a touching, absorbing and brilliantly plotted book. I think it may even be one of his finest - if not the finest - even though it’s not a Parker novel like the bulk of his work! I can’t wait to wade through all the other books I have to read, so I can go back and read this again.” Lindsay Jones at the Barking and Dagenham Recorder pulls out all the stops: “John Connolly’s genial hitmen Louis and Angel are similar in lots of ways to Pulp Fiction’s Vincent and Jules, except that they’re gay … Connolly’s characters are well-drawn, his writing is lyrical and funny. This is an absorbing page-turner, whether you’re one of the millions who devour his every novel, or you’re a Connolly first-timer, as I was.” And Geoff Hamlin at Tampa Bay Online doesn’t buck the trend: “The plot could easily be summed up as ‘Male bonding story. No women. Lots of bodies.’ But Connolly, as befits his Irish heritage, is a fine storyteller and manages to weave his tale in dark and compelling language.” On to Ken Bruen, and Margaret Cannon at the Toronto Globe and Mail reviewed CROSS: “It’s a good thing this novel is short enough for me to read in one long day. I couldn’t put it down. I love Ken Bruen’s Irish books with detective Jack Taylor, but this one, set in Galway, is simply the best yet … As always, Bruen doesn’t use a single extraneous word. His style is as clear and crisp as his mood is dark and clouded. The end of this one comes with a snap that left me wanting more, lots more.” Over at Reviewing the Evidence, Denise Pickles likes Julie Parsons’ I SAW YOU: “When I arrived at the denouement, I was surprised to find myself holding my breath and it’s a long time since I had to admit to anything like that when reading a book. Parsons deserves full marks for the way she sustains the suspense … it displays quite a lot of polish in its construction as well as its characterisation. On the whole, it’s a good, if somewhat claustrophobic, read.” Seana Graham at the Santa Cruz Sentinel had a gander at David Park’s THE TRUTH COMMISSIONER: “What Park makes so beautifully clear is that what really catches up with them is only life, ordinary life … While, in reality, there is no ‘Commission for Truth and Reconciliation’ in Northern Ireland, this novel has created a kind of imaginative space for one to exist. If illuminating some aspect of the bad old days helps heal Northern Ireland, Park has done his bit and then some.” A swift pair for Siobhan Dowd’s THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY: “Strong, memorable characters combine with a suspenseful mystery that readers will have difficulty putting down,” says Kendal Rautzhan at The Day, while Icokolat at The Latest Sccoop likes it too: “This riveting read offers not only a deliciously tricky puzzle to solve, but great characters, too.” And now a brace of hup-yas for Tana French’s IN THE WOODS: “Tana French, winner of the 2008 Edgar award for Best First Novel, has a descriptive and intense style that makes her writing very compelling and readable. Her portrayal of the Dublin police and towns makes you feel as if you are there in the flesh,” says Mary Menzel at Book Hunters Blog. Over at A Coupla Things, Carl agrees: “I recommend IN THE WOODS, an Edgar nominee by Tana French. Excellent writing, outstanding plotting – a whoop of a psychological thriller.” Nice … And now for something spooky ‘n’ supernatural: “The characters are complex and interesting, the supernatural aspects completely unique and the references to our own world and times are thought-provoking … The supernatural components slowly float to the top of the story which jumps from a noir-ish crime novel to something entirely different in a couple of chapters. Shan is an excellent author with a flair for language and detail,” says the Cairns Post (via DB Shan’s interweb malarkey) of PROCESSION OF THE DEAD. As for Shan’s literary nemesis, Derek Landy: “Full of hilarious banter, scythe fights, and close encounters with all manner of evildoers, this book will keep readers turning those pages. It’s a true confection of a Young Adult novel. Enjoy!” proclaims Cynthia Bartek at Books and More of SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT. She won’t be falling out with Amy over at Amy’s Book Nook: “This series is a fun paranormal action-adventure, full of twists and turns. Any fans of Harry Potter or for that matter, Harry Dresden, should give this book a try. It may be written for ages 10 and up, but it doesn’t talk down to the reader, leaving it a fun series truly for all ages.” Marcel Berlins, in the Sunday Times, likes BLEEDING HEART SQUARE: “Andrew Taylor has long been in the top rank of British crime writers, never disappointing, particularly strong on depth of characterisation and moody atmosphere. In BLEEDING HEART SQUARE he excels himself.” Finally, a brace for Adrian McKinty’s THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD: “The author has contrived to provide a balance and a contrast with the permeating violence by means of the almost lyrical opening lines of many of the chapters … THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD will keep you on the edge of your seat, will entertain, will disconcert and will ultimately leave you looking for more of the same,” reckons The Irish Emigrant, voting TBD Book of the Month, while chancing wastrel Declan Burke was breathlessly earnest over in the Sunday Business Post: “McKinty is a rare writer, one who can combine the often limiting staccato rhythms of crime fiction with a lyrical flair for language … The violence is etched into the page, but McKinty never forgets that his first priority is to entertain, and he leavens the bleakness with flashes of mordant humour.” Ah yes, but is humour, mordant or otherwise, really a leavening agent? YOU decide!


Gerard Brennan said...

Some other eejit's been talking about one of yours behind your back. Click here.

Sorry, never got a chance to email you about it sooner. Had a heavy weekend.


Declan Burke said...

Cheers for the review, squire ... I owe you a rather large and very dry sherry should our paths ever cross. Cheers, Dec

seanag said...

I was quite surprised and pleased to find a quote from my book review from a small town California paper on Park's "Truth Commissioner" cited on your blog. I'm also happy to know of your blog, because I've liked all the Irish crime fiction I've read. Looking forward to reading "The Big O" when it comes out on this side of the Atlantic in the fall, so I guess your publicity plan is paying off.

Seana Graham