A new thriller from the Booker Prize–winning and Edgar-nominated author of Christine Falls and The Silver Swan
John Glass's life in New York should be plenty comfortable. He's given up his career as a journalist to write an authorized biography of his father-in-law, communications magnate and former CIA agent Big Bill Mulholland. He works in a big office in Mulholland Tower, rent-free, and goes home (most nights) to his wealthy and well-preserved wife, Wild Bill's daughter. He misses his old life sometimes, but all in all things have turned out well.
But when his shifty young researcher--a man he calls "The Lemur"--turns up some unflattering information about the family, Glass's whole easy existence is threatened. Then the young man is murdered, and it's up to Glass to find out what The Lemur knew, and who killed him, before any secrets come out--and before any other bodies appear.Shifting from 1950s Dublin to contemporary New York, the masterful crime writer Benjamin Black returns in this standalone thriller--a story of family secrets so deep, and so dangerous, that anyone might kill to keep them hidden.
In this excellent novella from Edgar-finalist Banville (Christine Falls), John Glass, an Irish-born journalist living in New York, reluctantly accepts an offer from his father-in-law, William "Big Bill" Mulholland, to write the older man's biography for $1 million. Big Bill, a former CIA agent turned communications tycoon, is the kind of man whose secrets are matters of national security. In preparation for the project, Glass contacts Dylan Riley, a shifty researcher Glass dubs the titular lemur. Riley tries to blackmail Glass, but ends up dead before Glass can find out what "the lemur" knows. Afraid that the secret might involve his ongoing affair with fellow Irish ex-pat Alison O'Keeffe, Glass starts digging into Big Bill's past. First serialized in the New York Times Magazine, this crime novel showcases the author's trademark dry wit, tight plotting and appealing, flawed characters. Black is the pen name of Booker Prize winner John Banville.
Short and decent
The first thing to be aware of is that The Lemur is more like a novella than a novel, both in it's length and scope. While The Lemur is written in Black's unique style - beautiful lyric prose creating dark, moody atmospheres and fairly well-rounded characters - the story leaves something to be desired. The first half is fine and sets up a captivating enough scenario, but the second feels hurried. It's almost as if the author set out to write a full novel but became bored with it and decided to quit a couple hundred pages short. The result is a misplaced climax and an unfulfilling ending. But if you like Black's other stuff, you'll probably enjoy this too. Not spectacular, but pretty good.