RaveThe Irish Times (IRE)... a thoroughly engrossing murder mystery, albeit one in which, as is frequently the case with James Lee Burke’s iconic Dave Robicheaux, the detective discovers himself dealing in cold, hard facts while simultaneously attempting to give voice to the ineffable ... What Connolly’s fans might be more interested in, however, is how much of Charlie Parker’s origins are revealed, and here Connolly has a little fun at the expense of his hero’s mystique ... Connolly’s deliberately arch and formal style is an anachronistic delight in an era of minimalist miserabilism and lends a considerable gravitas to Parker’s musings on life, death and the afterlife ... A beautifully measured novel that is equal parts gripping mystery and an unsentimental meditation on grief, The Dirty South is very probably the best crime novel you will read this year.
PositiveThe Irish Times (IRE)It’s all very arch...but it’s also hugely enjoyable ... while Banville is in playfully mischievous form as he toys with the mystery novel’s cliches and conventions, it’s his ability to situate the reader in the chilly, seedy grandeur of the Great House that makes Snow such a compelling read.
Niklas Natt Och Dag
PositiveThe Irish TimesAs a crime novel, Niklas Natt och Dag’s debut offers conventional fare: the delicate, cerebral Winge and the pugnacious, one-armed ex-military man Cardell are a Swedish variation on Holmes and Watson ... Natt och Dag is far more interested in exploring Swedish society in the late 18th century ... Indeed, the novel seems to be influenced as much by Dickens and Balzac as it is by Conan Doyle. Natt och Dag pulls no punches in describing the squalor and abject poverty in which most of Stockholm’s population exist ... With such a vividly drawn backdrop to compete against, the killer pursued by Winge and Cardell grows luridly gothic, his sickening modus operandi so meticulously observed in every repellent detail that it begins to resemble torture porn. But perhaps Natt och Dag believes that desperate times call for desperate measures ... Vividly written, The Wolf and the Watchman is a superbly detailed historical mystery that delivers an uncommonly bleak variation on the genre’s pursuit of truth and justice.