RaveNew York Journal of BooksRazorblade Tears is an edge-of-the seat thriller, but the vivid dialogue, the relationship that develops between the two men against the odds, and the social commentary embedded in the story, make this also a top-notch literary novel. If one wants to be picky, one could say that a couple of the plot devices seem familiar from Blacktop Wasteland, but so what? They work here, too. Buddy and Ike are gripping characters you won’t forget for a long time. This is one of the best thrillers of the year.
Yasmina Khadra, tr. John Cullen
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksAlthough described as a thriller, the story moves along inexorably at its own pace toward Khalil’s desired conclusion. Now he has the opportunity to strike back at the Moroccan upper crust who have targeted his brotherhood, and to die gloriously in the service of his God. The ending has a twist, but it doesn’t really feel right ... There is much to like about this novel. It’s well worth reading for the fluent writing and the strong, memorable characters alone. While we can’t like Khalil, or even sympathize with him, we come to pity and to some extent understand him. The flaws lie in the plot where contrivances seem to address the author’s needs rather than those of the story. Perhaps Khadra’s previous acclaimed works set the bar too high for this one.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksAnimals is not light reading, but the writing is strong and the characters and story believable. It should be required reading for anyone who thinks animal trafficking isn’t serious. As if Covid hadn’t already taught us that lesson . . .
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksTongue in cheek, Banville introduces us to a cast of clichéd characters from an Agatha Christie novel ... Yet these are not actors. These are real people, much deeper than their caricatures suggest ... enjoy the complex characters drawn with beautiful prose and flashes of humor.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books... actually two books in one. It’s a tense assassination thriller set in France, and it’s an intriguing police procedural set in South Africa. Although the two stories develop independently, both are different aspects of the same plot and they come together at the end in an unexpected and satisfying way ... The Griessel section of the story would be worth the price of admission on its own...But Daniel Darret’s story also grabs us ... Weaving two apparently independent stories together, keeping the tension ramping in both, and bringing them to a simultaneous climax, is a challenging undertaking. Meyer pulls it off seemingly effortlessly. He’s that good ... A final note: the translation is excellent. You wouldn’t guess that the book was originally written in Afrikaans.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksMissing Person is a character driven novel; don’t expect to be on the edge of your seat for the 470 pages ... Lotz has written a thoughtful thriller that is as much about the psychology of people who hide in various ways than about catching a murderer. The Internet is front and center, but this book is about the people.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThe novel has a strong sense of place, but more important is its powerful sense of culture. Tash Aw reveals both with tight prose ... We’re shown the way people live and how they survive—those that do. Tash Aw pulls no punches.