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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

THE TWELVE: Did I Mention That This One Goes Up To 11?

As much as I hate a lazy and / or bad reviewer, I love a good reviewer, and a good review, and Stuart Neville picked up a couple of doozies over the weekend, the first being Nicola Barr at The Observer, the gist of her review running thusly:
“THE TWELVE is a brilliant thriller: unbearably tense, stomach-churningly frightening. Fegan and his nemesis, the government double agent Davy Campbell, are magnificent creations: not sympathetic, but never wholly repugnant. And just as haunting as Fegan’s apparitions are Neville’s stunning reimaginings of the darkest atrocities: the bombs, the beatings, the torture, the point-blank murders. Then there’s the farm in south Armagh, setting for the novel’s grisly climax, presided over by the almost mythically violent Bull O’Kane, the last bastion of the old guard, unchanged, impenetrable, rooted in the past.
  “It is impressive indeed to create an entertainment out of such material, but more than that, Neville has boldly exposed post-ceasefire Northern Ireland as a confused, contradictory place, a country trying to carve out a future amid a peace recognised by the populace as hypocritical, but accepted as better than the alternative. This is the best fictional representation of the Troubles I have come across, a future classic of its time. Stuart Neville has finally given Northern Ireland the novel its singular history deserves.” – Nicola Barr, The Observer
  Very nice indeed. And then Matt Benyon Rees weighed in with a review on his interweb malarkey, which finishes up like this:
“Neville’s masterstroke is to take a post-conflict situation where of necessity a lot of former bad guys are converted to good guys -- gunmen made into legislators still running corrupt business sidelines -- and to show the price paid by those who can’t shrug off their past … Neville’s book is a thrilling record of the traces of crime and blood left behind when the politicians command us to move on.” – Matt Benyon Rees
  And then there was The Daily Mail on Monday, to wit: “An astonishing first novel ... Awesomely powerful, fabulously written ... simply unmissable.”
  Terrific stuff, and very well deserved it all is too …

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