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.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Now That’s What I Call A Review # 2,034: DARK TIMES IN THE CITY By Gene Kerrigan

You know the score – a reviewer not entirely steeped in the crime fic genre gets hold of an Adrian McKinty novel, say, and praises it to the sky by comparing it to Agatha Christie / James Patterson / Klarence the Klue-Seeking Kitten … or, worse, damns it for not being as reader-friendly as Klarence, say. I had a review for my first book that claimed I was a disciple of Mickey Spillane, when in fact I’d only ever read one Mickey Spillane novel at that point, and didn’t like it. Anyhoo, it’s always nice when a reviewer gets the genre, and nicer still when said reviewer gets his teeth into a novel that showcases the best the genre can offer. Glenn Harper over at International Noir tends do it right, when he’s not gallivanting around Peru, and Paddy Kenny at the Sunday Tribune did Gene Kerrigan’s latest full justice, with the gist running thusly:
“The test of any great novel should be its verisimilitude, and Kerrigan is the one Irish writer in recent years who has come closest to re-creating the underbelly of Irish society. There are no speeches here about the scourge of new money and development. There are no cranes and flash cars symbolising a world embracing greed heartily to its nouveau riche bosom. Instead he gives us a tight, grim microcosm; and a brutal, vivid, and unforgiving authenticity made all the more convincing because of his consistent effort to strive for realism. Kerrigan prefers to pare things down to the bone with writing that is disciplined and infused with real moral awareness and honesty. It’s also an unnerving read in which the realism takes on an extra resonance. When Mackendrick threatens to kill the members of someone’s family you can’t help but think about recent gangland murders. It further heightens the almost disgusting ordinariness of the people Kerrigan writes about. More than any other book of its kind in recent memory, this is a book that asks hard questions about how a supposedly civil society has facilitated the growth of a sub-culture which is allowed to play by its own rules. There has been a huge surge in the number of successful Irish thriller writers in the past few years; each in their own way has tried to address this question, but no one has addressed in it as brave, forceful, and articulate a manner as Kerrigan.”
  Nice stuff, squire. Very nice indeed. For the full review, clickety-click here


seanag said...

I liked The Midnight Choir very much. It's good to hear that Kerrigan is moving from strength to strength. I have a copy of his second book, Little Criminals here somewhere, and this inspires me to bump it up the TBR pile.

Declan Burke said...

Dark Times in the City is his best yet, Seanag ... Mind you, the first two were pretty damn good too. I think you'll enjoy ...

Cheers, Dec