cover image Even the Dead: A Quirke Novel

Even the Dead: A Quirke Novel

Benjamin Black. Holt, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-62779-066-6

Irish author Black’s atmospheric eighth novel featuring 1950s Dublin pathologist Quirke (after 2013’s Holy Orders) finds a morose Quirke on sick leave and in something of a midlife crisis, convalescing as a houseguest of his adoptive brother, Mal, and Mal’s depressed American wife. Quirke’s ticket out of the unhealthy situation comes in the form of a suspicious death: that of a young man whose charred body has been found in the wreckage of his car, but with a dent above his left temple suggesting foul play. Meanwhile, a terrified young woman begs Phoebe, Quirke’s daughter and a classmate from a secretarial course, for help—and then vanishes. With the aid of his policeman friend, Inspector Hackett, Quirke begins delving into both mysteries, which prove to be related. Black (aka Man Booker Prize–winner John Banville) certainly knows how to spin an engaging, often suspenseful noir, but the plot’s overreliance on coincidence and an implausible denouement make this entry of most interest to those already hooked on the series. [em]Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Literary Agency (U.K.). (Jan.) [/em]