Michael Paraskos rss

Telluride Hot Air Balloon Festival in Colorado

Like Birdsong – only cheerful

2 August 2014
The Birdcage Clive Aslet

Cumulus, pp.328, £18.95, ISBN: 9780953664719

It is difficult to know whether Clive Aslet intended a comparison between his debut novel, The Birdcage, set in Salonica during the first world war, and Sebastian Faulks’s similarly titled… Read more


What would Raymond Chandler do?

3 May 2014
The Kept Girl, A Mystery of 1929 Los Angeles Kim Cooper

Esotouric Ink, pp.274, £19.99, ISBN: 9780991049400

If the inclusion of the erstwhile master of the genre, Raymond Chandler, as a fictonalised character in a pastiche 1930s detective novel is a bit of a gimmick, it is… Read more


Philip Marlowe returns with bark but no bite

5 April 2014
The Black-Eyed Blonde Benjamin Black

Mantle, pp.320, £16.99, ISBN: 9781447236689

With so much Nordic noir around, it’s a relief to return to the granddaddy of them all, the hard-boiled private dick, Philip Marlowe. Perhaps it’s inevitable that Benjamin Black’s reboot… Read more

What a coincidence

12 October 2013
Three Brothers Peter Ackroyd

Chatto, pp.240, £14.99, ISBN: 9780701186937

If you are going to read a novel that plays with literary conventions you want it written with aplomb. In Three Brothers we are not disappointed, as Peter Ackroyd shows… Read more

Whirligig, by Magnus Mcintyre - review

1 June 2013
Whirligig Magnus Mcintyre

Short Books, pp.288, £7.99, ISBN: 9781780721279

I do not have much time for the idea of the redemptive power of the countryside. I am not alone in this. Even theologians tend to dream of the day… Read more

There is endless borrowing from modernist culture, with Seurat’s ‘Sunday at La Grand Jatte’ acting as a touchstone

'Lord Horror: Reverbstorm', by David Britton and John Coulthart - review

9 March 2013
Lord Horror: Reverbstorm David Britton and John Coulthart

Savoy Books, pp.344, £25, ISBN: 9780861301249

As the son of the last British artist to be successfully prosecuted for displaying obscene paintings, I have some empathy with David Britton, the last person successfully prosecuted in Britain… Read more

Illustration from 'The Lancashire Witches' by Philip C. Almond

An everyday story of country folk

29 September 2012
The Lancashire Witches Philip C. Almond

I.B. Tauris, pp.240, £19.99, ISBN: 9781780760629

It is not a criticism of Philip Almond that The Lancashire Witches, published to mark the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, is a depressing read. On the contrary,… Read more

Cracks in the landscape

19 May 2012
The Wolf Pit: A Moorland Romance Will Cohu

Chatto, pp.256, 14.99

Sartre tried to prove that hell is other people by locking three strangers in a room for eternity and watching them torture each other. Similarly Will Cohu seems determined to… Read more

Trouble at mill

12 May 2012
Hebden Bridge: A Sense of Belonging Paul Barker

Frances Lincoln, pp.205, 16.99

I have some sympathy with the pioneering incomers who moved to the Yorkshire mill town of Hebden Bridge in the 1970s. At the time Hebden was in a near terminal… Read more