RaveCriminal ElementA haunting crime story ... A riveting portrait ... Boyle excels at portraying people who never give up no matter how bad a hand they’ve been dealt or what kind of mess they’ve created for themselves. And his empathy extends to nearly every person he puts on the page, helping him create a gallery of characters—many of them damaged—that the reader loves to spend time with ... There is a classical shapeliness to the book’s form, a way Boyle has of moving people around so they meet who they need to meet and understand what they need to understand, but none of the characters’ peregrinations strikes the reader as contrived because his people are so nuanced and real ... William Boyle knows how to craft a tight quilt of a plot while at the same time grounding that plot in a setting of wonderful richness. His Brooklyn is specific and clear and alive, a place he knows cold. He’s able to capture the messiness of life with the acuity of a dedicated realist, but he shapes that messiness in such a way that he keeps everything moving forward and toward a definitive resolution. Controlled and yet loose is how I would describe Shoot the Moonlight Out, and for my money, that’s a blend of two traits that’s no small achievement.
Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman
PositiveCriminal ElementFor lovers of De Palma cinema...a novel that has the twists and turns and snappy pacing of his suspense films...is a treat. For a couple of hours, we get to re-enter...and enjoy De Palma’s wit and sardonic humor The book does read something like a cross between a novel and a movie script, complete with short scenes and quick transitions. Backstory on the characters is supplied as needed, tersely, and the novel’s continual forward momentum carries you along. De Palma’s films, the thrillers in particular, frequently have a dreamlike quality that embraces the absurd and the ludicrous, to most enjoyable effect, and Are Snakes Necessary? is no different ... primarily a potboiler, a blend of thriller and political satire, with women in danger and dangerous women, but it also has just a little bit of thought-provoking heft.
RaveCriminal ElementIn William Boyle’s second novel, The Lonely Witness, he begins with an excellent premise and teases it out wonderfully, maximizing its potential. He integrates plot, character, and setting with calm assurance, and the result is a beautifully nuanced novel that has an unhurried but compelling narrative drive, a central character you are totally invested in, and a locale—the Gravesend neighborhood in Brooklyn—that does indeed function as a major character, interacting with and psychically affecting each and every person in the book ... Boyle draws as equally from what’s considered literary as he does from crime fiction ... And then, there’s his visual side—his ability to describe a location and evoke a mood from that description. Boyle knows the city he is writing about and how an act as simple as waiting for a subway train can produce deep melancholy ... The Lonely Witness is a novel that yields a number of pleasures, and I can’t think of a reason not to recommend seeking them out.
PositiveCriminal Element...there’s no question in my mind that Blackout is Segura’s best to date. Not unlike his private eye, he keeps growing in assurance. Blackout is longer and richer than his other books, and it is by far the most complexly plotted.