PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)Rankin’s prose could do with a polish to match the standards of McIlvanney, who was also a prizewinning literary novelist. But his dialogue has the same spiky wit, he adjusts to gangster-ridden Glasgow with aplomb, and the deft period context—politics, pop, telly, football, booze brands, language, family and marital mores etc—is the most compelling reason to read the book besides its charismatic existentialist sleuth.
RaveThe Sunday Times (UK)... a dazzlingly shapeshifting novel that, like its antihero, only pretends to be easy to pigeonhole ... Handling each genre with unshowy aplomb, King creates a kind of \'Best Of\' album of his (non-fantasy) work, given cohesion by Billy’s story. As it’s neither overlong nor overfull of adorably quirky kids, Billy Summers is also set apart by being free of the self-indulgent tendencies of his recent output. Disciplined but adventurous, equally good at action scenes and in-depth psychology, King shows with this novel that, at 73, he’s a writer back at the top of his game.
RaveThe Times (UK)Not everyone will relish the...fixation on legal and verbal minutiae, but the meticulousness is essential to Turow’s distinctive, addictive fusion of the cerebral and the melodramatic. The novel features death, grief, revenge, rage, international fame, vast wealth, breathtaking deceit, attempted murder and illicit passion (Pafko’s wife, lover and ex-lover are in court), all filtered à la classical tragedy through the formality of the five-act trial ... Devotees of Saul Bellow or Philip Roth may be reminded of those of their books centred on the doppelgänger-like relationship of two men warily circling each other, as Stern finds his failings — his reliance on specious charm, his ethical corner-cutting, his defects as a husband — mirrored and magnified by Pafko, who is exposed by the trial’s testimony as a narcissistic serial liar ... Although the comparison may seem far-fetched, Turow’s characterisation and psychology in this superlative performance are by no means inferior to such literary novels, and the writing is just as fine (rhetoric is Stern’s superpower, after all) — while the plot, at once propulsive and impeccably structured, is infinitely more gripping.
RaveThe Times (UK)Exhibiting a remarkable range, they reveal that he’s just as good at sprints as long distances, is as adept at mimicking screwball capers as mobster movies, and can charm as well as chill ... Cormac McCarthy may be an influence on this modern-day western, and other stories are dedicated to \'Mr Elmore Leonard\' and \'Mr Raymond Chandler\'. While it’s not hard to see parallels — Leonard’s dialogue-driven storytelling, Chandler’s West Coast backdrops — the homages serve to highlight what sets Winslow’s writing apart: his detailed understanding of criminal and police MOs, and an exhilarating ability to switch equally convincingly between detectives’ and villains’ perspectives ... A dazzling display of versatility, this set of novellas shows Winslow to be an author who, at 66, has hit his prime just when his top-flight thriller-writing peers appear to be either in decline or dropping out.
PositiveThe Times (UK)Once pigeon-holed as a \'horror-meister\', King has become a formidably versatile author, enabling him to pull off a captivating, hybrid novel that shape-shifts through several genres: the sci-fi trope of the evil lab or hospital in the institute scenes; the children’s adventure story in Luke’s escape and flight; social comedy in the sketches of small-town characters; the western in the final showdown, with the good guys besieged at the police station; fantasy in the means Luke’s friends use to overthrow their jailers. What it all adds up to, though, is unclear. Does The Institute stand for something (perhaps the US military, which also grooms teenagers to kill faraway enemies)? Or is the novel just a bravura display of King’s own special power, with no ulterior purpose besides showing that tales of missing children don’t have to be formulaic?
PanThe Times (UK)Readers counting on finding the same miasmic intensity in Cari Mora as in the Hannibal quartet will be surprised by a novel often akin in mood to (and perhaps influenced by) Elmore Leonard’s south Florida black comedies such as Rum Punch and Get Shorty, and Carl Hiaasen’s zany satires on aspects of the Sunshine State. Cari is too sane and free of flaws to be a Hiaasen heroine, but she’s much closer to his Honey Santana or Erin Grant than she is to Clarice Starling ... As for Cari’s satanic enemy, after incongruously marooning him in a heist caper, Harris gives the understandable impression of not really knowing what to do with him: clearly Hans-Peter is intended as a rerun of Hannibal, but he’s more like a camped-up Bond villain and you never feel that the 78-year-old author’s heart is in it.
PositiveThe Times (UK)For all its political content, The Border is predominantly about crime, flipping between the upsurge in slayings in Mexico...There’s scope for other material, though, and a strand following the journey north of a child migrant from Guatemala is particularly admirable ... Towards the end, the fusion of real and fictional elements becomes more problematic, and a denouement involving a long speech by a hero clearly acting as the author’s proxy would usually be regarded as hopelessly old-fashioned and stagy. But the rest of this stirring, stupendous novel, not to mention the entire 1,900-page trilogy covering almost 50 years that it completes, entitles Winslow to any amount of slack.
MixedThe Times (UK)Closer to a fairy tale than a thriller ... too much of it isn’t fiction at all, with the perfunctory action and dialogue often merely punctuating Forsyth’s lengthy briefings on aspects of spying or enemy nations’ knavish tricks.
PositiveThe Sunday Times\"Even fans who have long adjusted to the more benign 21st-century King may be taken aback to find the former horror-meister penning a modern-day hagiography, and one that ends with a version of an apotheosis. Once out to make our flesh creep, he morphs here into a subtler writer, using fantasy to relate an ethical parable that, like its outwardly stereotypical hero, has a hidden complexity.\
RaveThe Times[A] remarkable comeback...his best book yet...bound to be in contention for 2018’s thriller awards....Full of poignant scenes and mesmeric action sequences, it may be the first novel to do justice to the phenomenon’s epic scale.
PanThe TimesHis courtroom ordeal is only one element...of an exhaustingly hectic novel that also encompasses a serial abduction case (why are young blonde women disappearing?) and subplots involving Cross’s family. Each storyline duly delivers a denouement, but the biggest revelation of all is that Patterson is hopeless at dialogue when writing solo. Perhaps one of the co-authors of his myriad other series (The Women’s Murder Club’s Maxine Paetro, say) should do it for him in future?