Sunday, February 26, 2006

SMOKED, By Patrick Quinlan

Review Books, March 2006, £10.00, 075328256

Smoke Duggan doesn't just have a cool name. He's a cool guy. In a very cool book.

Every career criminal knows that quitting is hard. But it looks like Smoke Duggan may have done just that. He's got a hot girlfriend who knows kung fu and he's got everyone convinced he used to make toys. Except that isn't quite the truth.

But the past catches up with everyone, and its about to catch up with Smoke in spectacular fashion...

Smoked is the debut novel by Patrick Quinlan. The publicity claims it to be a mix of Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty and Kill Bill and they're not wrong. Along with the cool of an Elmore Leonard novel, Smoked is carried along by the hyper-reality of a Quentin Tarrantino movie. Its cool, sometimes a little too much so. The characters all speak effortlessly with banter that just rolls off their tongues. The girls are sexy and tough. The bad guys are plain bad. The good guys get you on their side with their laid back style and their patter.

Smoked is just a damn fun book. It throws nothing new into the mix and it occasionally reads like the prose treatment of a Tarrantino movie but that in itself is no bad thing. Quinlan's prose is as smooth as his character's dialogue and when the action hots up, its hard not to find yourself grinning with pure joy.

Quinlan's trodding well worn ground in the tradition of Tarrantino, Pelecanos and Leonard, but he does it with an infectious enthusiasm and a confidence that makes Smoked a pleasure to read.

Russel McLean for, february 27, 2006