Debut Review #0

everydeadthing_.jpgEvery Dead Thing
John Connolly
Coronet Books
Published 2000

John Connolly has created a dark and flawed detective with Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. After the murder of his wife and daughter at the hands of the Travelling Man, seemingly Parker  will stop at nothing to find him.

In Every Dead Thing we follow Parker from the streets of New York to swamps of New Orleans and the bodies pile up. He’s looking for a missing girl but instead finds more than he probably wanted to know.

Charlie Parker is not your classic detective. He is violent and dangerous. He moves easily with the criminals that as a police man he would have been duty bound to arrest and convict.

The power of this first-of-a-series novel is the pace. Nothing lingers too long but no details are skipped either. The descriptions of bone and rotting flesh are pungent and stomach churning but like any good horror you’re unable to look away. John Connolly shows you the reality behind murder and those who find pleasure and business in committing it.

This review was originally published on NextRead in Oct 2006

Review: Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman

anonymouslawyer.jpgAnonymous Lawyer
Jeremy Blachman
Vintage Books Original Fiction
Published 1 Feb

Review Copy

The cover gives you some idea about the character of the Anonymous Lawyer He has horns, a devil tail and what could be a good suit. Though to be fair lawyers aren’t known for buying halo polish. AL is a hiring partner at one of the world’s largest law firms and he starts a blog. Everyone has a blog: I’m expecting The Queen to start one, anonymously of course. Well she couldn’t be that anonymous; there aren’t that many people who do her job.

We’re presented with a series of blog posts and email exchanges as AL butts horns with ‘The Jerk’. And they do feel like blog posts. Everyone has a nickname matching their character. My favourite being ‘The Woman That Hugs Everybody’. He changes the places, dates, and outcomes of events to remain anonymous. But he worries for how long it will be before he found out.

If it was an actual blog printed out I could see this being less exciting. But it’s not just a blog. It is a novel with a plotline and character development. And that’s what makes it very readable.

Each of the posts give you a glimpse of behind the scenes of a law firm, at least it sounds convincing like a real law firm from the descriptions of the counting of Post-Its to the billing clients for researching in the bathroom.

But most convincing is the character of AL. He does start off as a bit of Devil, but through the posts and more usually the e-mails he seems to be as human as the rest of us, if a little cynical, and a bit too rich.

It’s not all successful. Making it blog-like with a compelling character and a plot that doesn’t seem too extreme for the world it inhabits doesn’t need to be promoted for having “up-to-the-minute references”, which are going to date it more than it needs to. It gets a little too soft in the middle when AL seems to run out of nasty things to torment the ‘summers’.

Anonymous Lawyer is also a live a blog ( I’ve not read it yet as not to effect my impression of this debut. I’m hoping there’ll be a sequel. For writers of anonymous blogs there could even be few writing tips to be had.

Overall, an enjoyable and non-taxing read that had me laughing out loud more than once. Highly recommended.