thetimes.co.za | 18 June 2008 | ???

an existential, minimalist crime fantasy. [Written in a] literary mode is Procession of the Dead, Darren Shan’s first book for adults. Written in 1999, it has been extensively revised and, although it can stand on its own, it is the first volume of his City Trilogy. Capac Raimi has arrived in an unidentified city at an unspecified date to work with his uncle, a minor gangster. The city’s main industry is crime, and the criminal empire is ruled by the all-powerful cardinal. Capac is delighted when the Cardinal grooms him as his successor, but soon becomes uneasy: not only do people vanish, but he has absolutely no recollection of his pre-City past. An eclectic, cosmopolitan [book] of varied styles and themes [… it] should have wide appeal. ————————- NB This was part of a review of 4 thrillers. Here is the full review of all 4 books. Whisper in the Dark by Robert Gregory Browne, Pan Macmillan, R155 The Whole Truth by David Baldacci, Pan Macmillan, R155 The Cairo Diary by Maxim Chattam, Pan Macmillan, R95 Procession Of the Dead by DB Shan, Harper, R239.95 These four thrillers form an enjoyable medley, incorporating a traditional gore-fest, a potboiler, a literary whodunnit and an existential, minimalist crime fantasy. Whisper in the Dark features the troubled but likeable Detective Frank Blackburn, seconded to a task force when it becomes apparent that a serial killer, dubbed Vincent van Gogh, has emerged from hibernation. The story has it all: an old asylum, voodoo, interpersonal politics and a psychiatrist who, called in to consult on the case, starts to doubt his own sanity and becomes a suspect. The Whole Truth features special agent Shaw who saves the world — but at terrible personal cost. Exciting, with big twists and a school of red herrings (the supernatural element might be considered a weak point by some), Baldacci’s story on the phenomenon of perception management and how the unscrupulous feed lies to the public to mould global opinion should appeal to all. The Cairo Diary is more intriguing and atmospheric: Marion is in protective custody on Mont Saint-Michel which, despite the hordes of tourists, has a tiny permanent population, especially as winter approaches. Scared, isolated and bored, she discovers a lost diary written in 1928 by an English police detective stationed in Cairo, describing his investigation into a series of horrific murders. Why is the diary here, what links past evil with the present, and who is Marion’s mysterious watcher? Just when she thinks she has the answers, she is presented with another twist … Following in this more literary mode is Procession of the Dead, Darren Shan’s first book for adults. Written in 1999, it has been extensively revised and, although it can stand on its own, it is the first volume of his City Trilogy. Capac Raimi has arrived in an unidentified city at an unspecified date to work with his uncle, a minor gangster. The city’s main industry is crime, and the criminal empire is ruled by the all-powerful cardinal. Capac is delighted when the Cardinal grooms him as his successor, but soon becomes uneasy: not only do people vanish, but he has absolutely no recollection of his pre-City past. An eclectic, cosmopolitan quartet of varied styles and themes, loosely connected by the general category thriller, these recent releases (May/June) should have wide appeal.

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