“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Angels In The Architecture, Spinning In Infinity

Some books, like some people, just click with you. Such was the case with Jon Steele’s debut, THE WATCHERS, which was in my not-always-humble opinion one of the best novels of 2011. To wit:
“Reads like ‘Paradise Lost’ by way of John Connolly, although Steele, formerly a war reporter, brings hard-edged modernity to this timeless tale as he roots his depiction of evil in the contemporary world. Clever, stylish and epic in scale, it’s a tremendously satisfying debut.” -- Irish Times
  The sequel, and the second in what is now ‘the Angelus Trilogy’, is ANGEL CITY (Bantam). Quoth the blurb elves:
Jay Harper, one of the last ‘angels’ on Planet Earth, is hunting down the half-breeds and goons who infected Paradise with evil. Intercepting a plot to turn half of Paris into a dead zone, Harper ends up on the wrong side of the law and finds himself a wanted man. That doesn’t stop his commander, Inspector Gobet of the Swiss Police, from sending him back to Paris on a recon mission ... a mission that uncovers a truth buried in the Book of Enoch.
  Katherine Taylor and her two year old son Max are living in a small town in the American Northwest. It’s a quiet life. She runs a candle shop and spends her afternoons drinking herbal teas, imagining a crooked little man in the belfry of Lausanne Cathedral, a man who believed Lausanne was a hideout for lost angels. And there was someone else, someone she can’t quite remember ... as if he was there, and not there at the same time.
  A man with a disfigured face emerges from the shadows. His name is Astruc, he’s obsessed with the immortal souls of men. Like a voice crying in the wilderness, he warns the time of The Prophecy is at hand ... a prophecy that calls for the sacrifice of the child born of light …
  My advice, for what it’s worth, is to read THE WATCHERS sometime in the next month or so, and then dive straight into ANGEL CITY. If it’s a rollicking good read you’re after, you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And So To Bristol

If I’m perfectly honest about it, the only reason I go to Crimefest in Bristol is to meet the fabulous Donna Moore (right). She can be a bit of a recluse, Donna, and doesn’t venture outside her front door very often – the occasional gig, a rare excursion to buy shoes, the opening of an envelope, that kind of thing.
  Anyway, I’m off again to see Donna (and do the whole Bristol Crimefest thing) again this year, and I’m hugely looking forward to it. I’m taking part in a discussion called ‘Making Us Laugh About Murder’ on Friday afternoon, alongside Ruth Dudley Edwards, Colin Cotterill, Dorothy Cannell and moderator Lindsey Davis; and on Saturday afternoon I’ll be hosting a discussion on ‘Books to Die For’, featuring contributors to the BOOKS TO DIE FOR tome Barbara Nadel, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Colin Bateman and Brian McGilloway.
  On Saturday night, there’s the Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation, at which I hope to be seated beside Peter Rozovsky, because he’s the only one who can stop me throwing my broccoli out of my high chair. BOOKS TO DIE FOR is up for an award on Saturday night, along with some very fine books indeed; and SLAUGHTER’S HOUND has been shortlisted for the Goldsboro ‘Last Laugh’ gong, an award I was lucky enough to win last year (at least, I’m pretty sure I did – it might well have been a particularly vivid fever-dream).
  Apart from the various events, panels and official events, though, the best part of the weekend is catching up with people you tend not to see from one end of the year to the other. Much coffee will be consumed, and perhaps a glass of sherry or two, and quite a bit of hot air generated. Even the weather is promised fine. Should be a cracker. For the full Crimefest programme, clickety-click here ...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lock Up Your Stained-Glass Windows

It isn’t due until March 2014, unfortunately, but I’m already looking forward to THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE (Henry Holt) by Benjamin Black, aka John Banville, writing in the style of Raymond Chandler about Philip Marlowe. Confused? Well, if Black / Banville adopts Chandler’s haphazard approach to plotting, there’s a very good chance you will be. There’s precious little information available about said plot so far, but as soon as we hear you’ll be the first to know …