reviewed by Jedidiah Ayres
I chose the banshee because my father, who was the most sceptical and cynical of men, truly believed he’d seen the banshee before his mum’s death and the story always stayed in my mind.
And he was a man who never took a drink his whole life!
What can I say about Ken Bruen that you don’t already know?
He writes crime fiction like a sculptor, chipping away everything that doesn’t belong, until what’s left is just the essence.
Hell, the pages of his damn books even look sculpted. They barely register horizontally across the page,
Do, I mind?
Not at all.
Essentially, he writes noir prose-poems.
The books are epics.
The short stories are uh, less epic.
Bruen doesn’t waste your time with anything but the core of the story or the character. Ken leaves a wealth of detail unsaid and unexplained. If it’s not in there, it’s not important.
Some people are frustrated by his
She Wails Through the Fair won’t change your mind on Bruen love him or not. It’ll simply solidify your already held opinion. Mine, if you haven’t guessed it, is unequivocally pro. But for anybody about to make this their first exposure to him, I’ll do a bit more apologetics.
The story is familiar territory –
hard case out of prison,
a crazy broad,
treachery lurking in every embrace and
a touch of criminal superstition…
or is it?
You’ll find out.
You don’t read Bruen for the plots –
some are great,
some, (in an outline), are barely distinguishable from craptastic crime books/television/films that otherwise don’t belong in the same conversation with him.
You read Bruen for the
Sheer amphetamine rush his storyTELLING skill.
Because you can’t not.
You may not remember what happened in his stories a day, a week, a year after reading them, but you’ll remember the experience of the read. And if you’re like me, you’ll be eager to do it again.