Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Louise Welsh

Louise Welsh has made a bigger name for herself at home in the British Isles than here in the United States. Which is a pity for American readers.

I really enjoyed her The Cutting Room, which won The Crime Writers' Association Creasey Dagger for the best first crime novel, and Tamburlaine Must Die. Both are more literary than one might expect of crime novels (and that is no disrespect intended toward crime novels, as any regular reader of the blog need not be reminded).

The publisher's comments on The Cutting Room:
When Rilke, a dissolute and promiscuous auctioneer, comes upon a hidden collection of seemingly violent photographs, he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a compulsive journey of discovery, decadence, and deviousness that leads Rilke into a dark underworld of transvestite clubs, seedy bars, and porn shops. In this hidden city haunted by a host of vividly drawn characters, Rilke comes face to face with the dark desires and illicit urges that lurk behind even the most respectable facades.
The publisher's comments on Tamburlaine Must Die:
It's 1593 and London is a city on edge. Under threat from plague and war, it's a desperate place where strangers are unwelcome and severed heads grin from spikes on Tower Bridge. Paranoia and fear grip this great city's streets. Playwright, poet, spy, and man of prodigious appetites, Christopher Marlowe is working on his latest literary effort and enjoying the English countryside at his patron's estate. But this idyll is soon cut short by a message from the Queen. He must return immediately to London, for a killer has escaped from between the pages of Marlowe's most violent play and is scandalizing the city. In the ensuing three days, Marlowe confronts dangerous government factions, double agents, necromancy, betrayal, and revenge in his search for the murderous Tamburlaine.
Both are relatively brief novels and you'll know if they are your cup of tea before spending much time with them. Click here to read the first chapter of The Cutting Room.

Welsh's third novel, The Bullet Trick, comes out this summer. The publisher calls it "an adults-only drama of the heart, guaranteed to keep you guessing until its final explosive flourish." I can't wait.

Click here to read a brief interview with Louise Welsh in The Observer.

If I've not sold you on Welsh's talent, click here to read a rave Salon article by Charles Taylor on The Cutting Room.

--Marshal Zeringue