Benjamin Black is the pen name of the novelist John Banville. As Black, he is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Quirke novels, including "Christine Falls," "The Silver Swan," and A" Death In Summer," and his standalone novel, "The Lemur." "Christine Falls" was nominated for both the Edgar Award and Macavity Award for Best Novel. Writing as John Banville, his novel "The Sea" is the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize. Black was born in Wexford, Ireland, and lives in Dublin.
Timothy Dalton, former James Bond and longtime reader of Black's thrillers, channels his Royal Shakespeare Company roots to give life to pathologist Garret Quirk. Black (a pseudonym of Booker Prize-winner John Banville) specializes in psychologically complex 1950s Dublin noir. In this latest installment set in a gray, sleeting winter, Quirk-fresh out of rehab and at the behest of his daughter, Phoebe-delves into the disappearance of a young doctor, April Latimer. The two young women were members of a clique that also includes an arrogant, diminutive reporter, a theatrical actress, and a Nigerian prince. Dalton uses only subtle shifts in tone to delineate the characters, focusing more on their temperaments than gender or ethnicity. He does the same for the members of April's influential family, effectively underlining their arrogance and disdain for the unruly Quirk. As the haunted pathologist shambles through his unauthorized investigation, questioning events in his own life and falling back on his alcoholic ways, the author is more successful in creating a mood of melancholy rather than suspense. But thanks to his exquisite style and Dalton's precise locutions, that more than suffices. A Holt hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 22). (Apr.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"Striking, filled with thematic gloom, yet the writing sparkles... like Chandler, [Black's] a poet of locale, preoccupied by weather and by light or its absence."--"The Los Angeles Times" "Elegant.... [Black/Banville's] sinuous prose, subtle eroticism and 1950s period detail do more than enough to put [his] series on the map."--"The New York Times" "Methodical, detailed and always gripping."--"USA Today" "[A] gorgeously sad and atmospheric book about family, lust, friendship and '50s-style repression."--"The Seattle Times" "Like its predecessors Christine Falls and The Silver Swan, Mr. Black/Banville's new tale of misdeeds is powerfully written, laced with lyrical visual imagery about a distant Ireland still getting used to the 20th century and peopled with sharply drawn characters."--"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" "Cool, atmospheric... Mr. Black/Banville has raised the bar for the soul's-night genre."--"Dallas Morning News" "The greatest satisfactions of reading Elegy for April come from the atmosphere of 1950s Dublin, in which coal-fire-assisted smog impairs visibility."--"The Denver Post" "In Elegy for April, he's nailed down the recipe, the style and pace that allows him to craft a story of suspense while filling it with sharp-eyed, bigger picture observations."--"Time Out Chicago" "A master of atmosphere; the fear and dread associated with hidden desires and deeds fairly leap off the page."--"Library Journal," starred review "Black's engrossing third crime thriller set in 1950s Dublin finds pathologist Garret Quirke fresh from a stint in alcohol rehab... Black is equally concerned with exploring the idea of family and loyalty as with spinning a suspenseful whodunit, and his depiction of a fragile father-daughter relationship is as powerful as the unsettling truth behind April's disappearance."--"Publishers Weekly," starred review "Quirke, the haunted Dublin pathologist and haphazard sleuth, returns in the third in Black's superb series of sharply etched, nearly Jamesian mysteries... In Black's atmospheric and penetrating works of Irish noir, pain, prejudice, greed, and violence brew behind lace curtains."--"Booklist," starred review "What sets it apart is the uncanny ability of Black (The Lemur, 2008) to bring his characters alive with flashes of piercing insight, whether Quirke's dealing with his stepmother-in-law or learning to drive."--"Kirkus Reviews"