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Powerful storm of blood and murder
Date of Review: 
Sep.09.2009
Published Work: 
Source: 
Booklist

 

“Irish crime writer, Sam Millar (The Redemption Factory) is back with a brand new anti-hero, Karl Kane…

Thirty years ago Robert Mitchum and Michael Winner reprised The Big Sleep, setting their version of Raymond Chandler’s classic California crime novel in modern-day London. Surprisingly, the change of venue worked. In Bloodstorm, Millar’s wisecracking PI Karl Kane, though navigating the cockeyed lanes of twenty-first-century Belfast, could just as well be rambling the mean streets of prewar L.A. in tandem with Philip Marlowe. Private-eye-novel conventions that no longer are believable in the U.S.—the presence of an admiring (and foxy) Girl Friday, who draws a paycheck and does nothing, for example, or the hero’s habit of spouting off for the heck of it to the police (in the age of Homeland Security)—somehow seems right at home in the context of contemporary Belfast...Millar’s story line, too, will remind fans of the Marlowe stories; it’s as masterful as anything Chandler concocted by stitching together unrelated short stories. Crime noir doesn’t get much darker or grittier than this shocking tale of corruption and revenge...

Altogether, Bloodstorm is a real find for aficionados of the classic hard-boiled novel who would like to see the form updated without it smelling like an anachronism.”