Smile by Roddy Doyle

I’ve been reading Roddy Doyle for several decades now. That’s kind of nice. He and I have grown up and begun to grow old together. For the past few years he has been writing little scenes for Facebook, sponsored by Guinness.  These are just the “good parts,” the dialogue Mr. Doyle writes so well. Funny vignettes featuring two blokes in a bar yammering about something … Continue reading Smile by Roddy Doyle

Sunday Salon: Why the Booker Short List Ruins my Reading and Other Bookish Items

I’m one of those people who get excited over the Man Booker Prize.  Almost every year, once the long list is announced, I head over the my local library to get as many of the nominated books as I can.  Typically, there are a few not yet available in America, and there are a couple my library doesn’t have yet. So I check out two … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Why the Booker Short List Ruins my Reading and Other Bookish Items

My New Favorite Book: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

The story opens with a corpse. A soldier’s body being prepared for burial in the then frontier state of Missouri circa 1855. So I should not have been surprised by how violent the rest of the book was. But I had never really considered just how much violence was involved in the beginning years of the United States.  Not systematically. And I had just finished … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

My New Favorite Book: The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan

I did not expect The Midnight Choir to end up being my new favorite book.  It’s a very well written crime novel.  Entertaining. Strong characters.  Interesting plot. Borderline pager turner. But it wasn’t until towards the end when everything came together in a single shocking revelation that both linked and undermined all of the books multiple plot lines that The Midnight Choir became my new favorite book. … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle is one of a handful of authors who consistently make me laugh out loud. I don’t think I’m a particularly gloomy person, I just don’t often find the experience of reading laugh-out-loud funny. Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown novels are an exception. Like The Van and The Snapper, The Commitments is a very funny book. The Commitments is the story of a group of friends … Continue reading The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

The Worst Book I’ve Read in a Long Time or The Lemur by Benjamin Black

Benjamin Black, Booker Prize winning author who is really John Banville, started strong with his first detective novel Christine Falls.  I think we all had high hopes for him, those of us who enjoy detective novels.  His second book, The Silver Swan, didn’t quite measure up to the high standard Christine Falls set but we were willing to forgive– a sophomore slump is not an uncommon thing.  But The Lemur … Continue reading The Worst Book I’ve Read in a Long Time or The Lemur by Benjamin Black

The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black

When a mystery novel opens with the discovery of a dead body, it has my full attention. Avoid the eccentric neighbor characters and get right to the chase. Benjamin Black, John Banville to the Mann Booker Prize jury, opens The Silver Swan just the way I like it. A young man drops by the Dublin morgue to ask pathologist Garret Quirke not to perform an … Continue reading The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black

Dark Times in the City by Gene Kerrigan

No good deed goes unpunished.  Not in Dublin, anyway. Danny Callaghan is fresh out of prison after eight years, trying to get his life back on track, an honest track, when two armed men enter the Dublin pub where he is quietly enjoying a drink.  When the two men approach a third man weapons drawn, Danny instinctively intervenes, attempting to save the third man’s life. … Continue reading Dark Times in the City by Gene Kerrigan

Instead of a typical review I respond to the blurbs on the back cover: “A fine novel, remarkable for the purity of its ambitions.”—The Washington Post Book World. The Story of the Night is a fine novel.  Very well written, reading it feels like spending a long weekend hearing all the details about a new acquaintance’s history.  The more I read it, the more I enjoyed it.  But … Continue reading

The Newton Letter by John Banville

Words fail me, Clio. How did you track me down, did I leave bloodstains in the snow? I won’t try to apologise. Instead, I want simply to explain so that we both might understand. Simply! I like that. No, I’m not sick, I have not had a breakdown. I am, you might say, I might say, in retirement from life. Temporarily. The Newton Letter by … Continue reading The Newton Letter by John Banville

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black is the debut crime novel by acclaimed Booker Prize winning author John Banville. Mr. Banville uses a pen-name here, but Christine Falls is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Christine Falls is a tightly written psychological mystery/thriller equal to the best of them. Benjamin Black may be the heir apparent to P.D. James’ throne. The story here concerns Quirke Griffin, … Continue reading Christine Falls by Benjamin Black