This is an engrossing read, with deep character development and a great plot line. The first half of the book keeps you riveted to the story. Unfort..Show More »unately the second half is not as fast paced and bogs down some in the emotional life of the central characters. Some interesting twists and turns keep you going. Enough of the story is unique that it is possible to overlook the places where it becomes predictable.
Two points regarding "Christine Falls" and "The Silver Swan":
1) Benjamin Black is a fabulous writer who knows too well the weakness of..Show More » the human condition. Those who have read Dennis Lehayne ("Mystic River", etc.) will love this series. Highly recommended!
2) Why doesn't Timothy Dalton narrate more audiobooks?! He is simply outstanding.
Bought and enjoyed the previous Dr. Quirk books, esp. Christine Falls, but having a hard time with this due to the change in narrator. The cadence ge..Show More »ts very tiresome, and the "acting", if you can call it that, isn't good. The character of Dr. Quirk is entirely different. Too bad.
Benjamin Black is, of course, the name under which the high-literary writer John Banville indulges his love of genre, specifically of noir procedurals..Show More ». He is a skillful and evocative descriptive writer: one beautiful image succeeds another, page after page, until an entire shimmering edifice of hardened men, weak sisters, femmes fatales, familial grudges and dogged investigators is conjured -- and then collapses, bloodlessly, in a silly plot. This book has it all: identical twins, crazy aunts, a variant on the locked room mystery. Everyone in it smokes and drinks like crazy. Perhaps the author suspected that the whole enterprise was more than a bit musty and therefore set it in the Dublin of the 1960s. It would have felt musty then, too.
Coincidentally, I followed this book with Tana French's "In The Woods", another procedural set in Dublin. French's novel is also skillfully written, but is kicking with life and clear-eyed observation: her hardened detective is not a romantic figure, for instance, and amid the general dark mayhem lurks a keen sense of humor. Everyone still smokes and drinks like crazy, though.