It's a crime! (Or a mystery…)

Books for Christmas – Declan Burke

Stocking_3 The Christmas stocking pick of Declan Burke, author of The Big O is Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan:

"Cheats! Having read Brian McGilloway and Donna Moore’s contributions, and realising it was okay to cheat by mentioning more than one book that thrilled me this year, I really should mention McGilloway’s BORDERLANDS, Adrian McKinty’s THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD, Reed Farrel Coleman’s THE JAMES DEANS and Allan Guthrie’s KISS HER GOODBYE. The book that left the most lasting impression, however, was Gerard Donovan’s JULIUS WINSOME, to wit:

Julius Winsome lives alone in the northern Maine woods, with only his dog Hobbes to keep him company. When Hobbes is shot to death by an unknown hunter, the mild-mannered Julius takes down the rifle his grandfather brought home from the trenches of WWI and sets out to wreak revenge.

Jw The simple plot outline, however, is a stark framework upon which Gerard Donovan stretches a compelling tale. Its telling is drum-skin tight and yet layered with a fierce hatred, poignant grief, an almost unbearable loneliness and a powerful desire to restore the cosmic balance that has been tilted imperceptibly out of kilter by the unwarranted killing of Hobbes – a voracious reader, Julius is a connoisseur of arcane Shakespearian phrases, and particularly those that hark back to a more primitive form of mediaeval, and perhaps even primordial, justice. Despite the elegiac tone, this is a real page-turner. Julius Winsome is as fascinating a character as has emerged from mainstream fiction for some time, an entirely realistic borderline psychopath who garners the reader’s sympathy even as he questions his own motives and the extent to which he is prepared to pursue his deranged logic. Donovan’s prose is masterfully controlled, restrained and elegantly simple but devastating in its execution, the overall effect putting this reader in mind of Tom Ripley reimagined by Cormac McCarthy."

One comment on “Books for Christmas – Declan Burke

  1. Maxine
    November 23, 2007

    Got to read this one!

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2007 by in Books for Christmas 2007.
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