“Declan Burke is his own genre. The Lammisters dazzles, beguiles and transcends. Virtuoso from start to finish.” – Eoin McNamee “This bourbon-smooth riot of jazz-age excess, high satire and Wodehouse flamboyance is a pitch-perfect bullseye of comic brilliance.” – Irish Independent Books of the Year 2019 “This rapid-fire novel deserves a place on any bookshelf that grants asylum to PG Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien or Kyril Bonfiglioli.” – Eoin Colfer, Guardian Best Books of the Year 2019 “The funniest book of the year.” – Sunday Independent “Declan Burke is one funny bastard. The Lammisters ... conducts a forensic analysis on the anatomy of a story.” – Liz Nugent “Burke’s exuberant prose takes centre stage … He plays with language like a jazz soloist stretching the boundaries of musical theory.” – Totally Dublin “A mega-meta smorgasbord of inventive language ... linguistic verve not just on every page but every line.Irish Times “Above all, The Lammisters gives the impression of a writer enjoying himself. And so, dear reader, should you.” – Sunday Times “A triumph of absurdity, which burlesques the literary canon from Shakespeare, Pope and Austen to Flann O’Brien … The Lammisters is very clever indeed.” – The Guardian

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: THE DEFENCE by Steve Cavanagh

Irish author Steve Cavanagh’s debut novel The Defence (Orion, €16.99) offers what is likely to prove the most implausible opening to a thriller this year, as New Yorker Eddie Flynn – ex-lawyer, ex-con artist – finds himself abducted by the Russian mafia, dressed as a walking bomb, and sent into a courtroom with 48 hours to ensure mobster Olek Volchek is found not guilty in his murder trial. One man’s implausible, of course, is another man’s bravura opening gambit, and Cavanagh’s high-concept legal thriller, barrelling along at a furious pace as Eddie schemes to escape the Russians’ clutches and take his revenge, reads a lot like a courtroom drama penned by Lee Child for Jack Reacher’s younger, more hot-headed but equally resourceful brother. Cavanagh, who is himself a Belfast-based solicitor, isn’t particularly interested in legal niceties here: The Defence is a gas-to-the-floor thriller that pulls out with tyres smoking and takes no prisoners until it judders to a halt 400 pages later. If subtlety is at a premium, there’s no mistaking the ambition: this is story-telling with the kind of verve and chutzpah last seen in an Irish debut crime novel in Stuart Neville’s The Ghosts of Belfast. ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Times.

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