The Black novels, as well as being well-worked mysteries, were also concerned with the moral and political condition of Ireland ... So too is this one ... Banville, unlike many authors who turn to crime, demands, deserves and indeed requires close attention, slow and careful reading ... There is no intelligent distinction to be made between his 'straight' novels and his crime ones ... [A] masterly book ... Not many crime novels merit, or indeed bear, re-reading, except in your laziest hours and then with a deal of skipping over descriptive paragraphs and without a suspension of disbelief. Banville’s do. Each scene holds the attention, invites question. The precision of the writing is a delight. I got an early proof copy of April in Spain, read it at once with pleasure, have since read it twice more, finding more in it each time. It is a social and political novel too, concerned with the arrogance of power and pervasive moral corruption ... In his eighth decade Banville is writing as well as ever—perhaps even better.
There is no clear distinction to be made between John Banville’s crime novels and his other fiction. There is the same elegant pacing, crafted prose and detailed examination of relationships—personal, social and political—that won him the Booker Prize ... The book is not a mile-a-minute crime thriller. Banville calls the reader to take time, to savour the intricate descriptions of people and place ... This is a slow-burning mystery, a love story and a study of the corruption and power of the Irish political elite—quite a lot to pack into one crime novel. Banville has achieved it with grace and poise.