I was eating a yoghurt yesterday -pondering a trip to ‘Ha’vey Normans’ to purchase a vacuum cleaner-when the phone bleeped into life.
‘Hallo?’ I didn’t say, for my husband answered it.
But it was for me.
‘That’s a nice piece about the book in the paper.’ Margaret Daly, head honcho of all things PR said to me.
‘Piece? Paper? Book?’ Oh I’m literally on fire in the mornings. On fire.
But yes, piece, paper and book. Someone in print media finally reviewed Undertow, the Sunday Business Post no less.
And it went something like this…
Crime fiction succeeds in familiar setting
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Undertow By Arlene Hunt. Hatchette Books. €16.20
Those seeking a CSI inspired production are likely to be sorely disappointed by Arlene Hunt’s latest novel.
Glossy, touched-up crime Undertow is not. Instead, it has a gritty sense of reality and cleverly written characters that go far beyond the glamorous detectives and pathologists found in other books of its ilk. Straight away, the sense of place is evident and, unlike so many crime writers, Hunt does not choose the bright lights of a big American city as the canvas for her novel. Instead, her tale plays out in modern-day Dublin, portrayed as a city of immigrants and gang land criminals.
Business partners – who were once a lot more – Sarah and John are private investigators who become involved in what seems like a routine case. Locating Slovakian immigrant Orie Kavlar appears to be a run-of-the-mill investigation, but a number of factors create a more complicated picture for the pair. With a dead body found on wasteland in the Dublin suburbs and a lot of dodgy characters entering the frame, it seems there is more to Kavlar’s disappearance than initially thought.
Throw in a dead ex-boyfriend and Sarah and John find themselves knee-deep in mystery, which places massive strain on an already fragile relationship. Hunt describes her characters as ‘‘valiant voyagers on a sea of human weakness’’ and explains that, while they investigate wrong-doing, they are not exempt from wrongdoing themselves. Her characters jump from one well-drawn Dublin location to the next, encountering a host of characters on the way. A snooty hairdresser who withholds an address, for example, prompts a catty response from Sarah, with Hunt capturing the women’s tones with ease. A meeting with a gangland criminal evokes images of Ireland’s sordid underbelly, which Hunt depicts in nicely unforced prose.
Hunt’s novel is accessible enough to drift in and out of, offering an easy read to those with only a passing interest in crime fiction.
For those who enjoy the thrill and intrigue of an honest-to-goodness whodunnit, meanwhile, this is a must-read.”
You know, that made traipsing about the shops looking for a vacuum cleaner that bit better.