A suspicious death, a pregnant woman suddenly gone missing: Quirke's latest case leads him inexorably toward the dark machinations of an old foe
Perhaps Quirke has been down among the dead too long. Lately the Irish pathologist has suffered hallucinations and blackouts, and he fears the cause is a brain tumor. A specialist diagnoses an old head injury caused by a savage beating; all that's needed, the doctor declares, is an extended rest. But Quirke, ever intent on finding his place among the living, is not about to retire.
One night during a June heat wave, a car crashes into a tree in central Dublin and bursts into flames. The police assume the driver's death was either an accident or a suicide, but Quirke's examination of the body leads him to believe otherwise. Then his daughter Phoebe gets a mysterious visit from an acquaintance: the woman, who admits to being pregnant, says she fears for her life, though she won't say why. When the woman later disappears, Phoebe asks her father for help, and Quirke in turn seeks the assistance of his old friend Inspector Hackett. Before long the two men find themselves untangling a twisted string of events that takes them deep into a shadowy world where one of the city's most powerful men uses the cover of politics and religion to make obscene profits.
Even the Dead--Benjamin Black's seventh novel featuring the endlessly fascinating Quirke--is a story of surpassing intensity and surprising beauty.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Irish pathologist Quirke is on leave and struggling with sobriety when a new mystery calls him back to work. Set in ‘50s Dublin, Even the Dead—the seventh book in Benjamin Black’s Quirke series—centers around the suspicious death of a civil servant and the disappearance of a young woman. An enigmatic hero—by turns wry and blunt—Quirke is grimly determined in his pursuit of those who abuse power but detached in his personal life, until an earthy new love brings him fresh hope. This compact novel races to a satisfying conclusion as corruption is unmasked and the truth about Quirke’s past is revealed.
Irish author Black's atmospheric eighth novel featuring 1950s Dublin pathologist Quirke (after 2013's Holy Orders) finds a morose Quirke on sick leave and in something of a midlife crisis, convalescing as a houseguest of his adoptive brother, Mal, and Mal's depressed American wife. Quirke's ticket out of the unhealthy situation comes in the form of a suspicious death: that of a young man whose charred body has been found in the wreckage of his car, but with a dent above his left temple suggesting foul play. Meanwhile, a terrified young woman begs Phoebe, Quirke's daughter and a classmate from a secretarial course, for help and then vanishes. With the aid of his policeman friend, Inspector Hackett, Quirke begins delving into both mysteries, which prove to be related. Black (aka Man Booker Prize winner John Banville) certainly knows how to spin an engaging, often suspenseful noir, but the plot's overreliance on coincidence and an implausible denouement make this entry of most interest to those already hooked on the series.