cover image April in Spain

April in Spain

John Banville. Hanover Square, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-335-47140-6

Banville’s slow-moving eighth crime thriller featuring Irish pathologist Quirke (after 2015’s Even the Dead) finds Quirke and his wife, Evelyn, vacationing in San Sebastián, Spain. When the couple forget to buy an oyster-opening tool, Quirke tries to use a nail scissors instead and accidentally wounds himself badly enough that Evelyn insists they go to a hospital. There, he’s initially examined by Angela Lawless, an Irish physician who looks familiar, but who never returns to the exam room, leaving another doctor to tend to the injury. Her appearance and her initials lead Quirke to suspect that she’s actually April Latimer, a woman believed to be dead. April’s brother, who was sexually involved with his sibling, had confessed to killing her before taking his own life. Quirke shares his suspicions with his daughter, Phoebe, who had been April’s friend, and Phoebe travels to Spain to see for herself. Meanwhile, a psychotic hit man emotionally attached to his gun lurks in the background. The melodramatic ending doesn’t compensate for a story line too slight for the book’s length. Banville has been much better. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Oct.)