ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL: “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. SLAUGHTERS HOUND: “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. THE BIG O: “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. EIGHTBALL BOOGIE: “One of the sharpest, wittiest books Ive read for ages.” – Sunday Independent. THE LOST AND THE BLIND: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE by Olivia Kiernan

First published back in April, and issued in paperback on January 10, Olivia Kiernan’s TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE (riverrun) was one of the finest crime debuts of 2018. To wit:
Olivia Kiernan’s debut TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE introduces Det Chief Supt Frankie Sheehan, who investigates the death of Eleanor Costello, a woman discovered hanged in her home and initially believed to have killed herself before Sheehan’s sharp eye detects anomalies that result in a murder investigation. Delivered in propulsive, minimalist prose, Sheehan is precisely the kind of gruff, no-nonsense cynic you’d want investigating your own murder. TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE is an exhilarating police procedural, not least because Sheehan is a complex, layered character who, suffering from PTSD after a frenzied knife attack that left her physically and psychologically scarred, declares herself “a living token of the murder. Proustian memory. I’m a direct path of access to the thrill of the kill.” Noir in tone (“We’re all the murdering kind, given the right motivation,” Sheehan’s superior tells her), and sharply observed – “hard-looking rusted metal furniture stands like a lonely family in the corner” – TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE reads like a hard-boiled take on Tana French and immediately establishes Olivia Kiernan as a talent to watch. ~ Declan Burke
  This review was first published in the Irish Times.

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