A Death in Summer, Black's fourth novel about the pathologist Quirke, opens thus, on the death of a newspaper tycoon:
"When word got about that Richard Jewell had been found with the greater part of his head blown off and clutching a shotgun in his bloodless hands, few outside the family circle and few inside it, either, considered his demise a cause for sorrow."A newspaper tycoon who was a bad guy. Who'd have thought such a thing possible in this day and age? The opening pages offer detached, amused observation, a poke at the intrusive excesses of tabloid journalism (No!), and a secretary who has a better grasp of English than an editor-in-chief. That's not a bad start.
Burke's Absolute Zero Cool is more recently arrived than the Black, and I've read even less of it. But this blog is a sucker for good opening lines, and Burke's is not at all bad: "The man at the foot of my bed is too sharply dressed to be anything but a lawyer or a pimp."
More to come on both.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011