The Black-Eyed Blonde

Benjamin Black (Author)

Product Details

Picador USA
Publish Date
February 24, 2015
5.6 X 0.8 X 8.2 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

Benjamin Black is the pen name of the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist John Banville. The author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed series of Quirke novels--including Christine Falls, Vengeance, and Holy Orders--he lives in Dublin.


"A bulll's-eye." --The New York Times

"Somewhere Raymond Chandler is smiling . . . I loved this book. It was like having an old friend, one you assumed was dead, walk into the room." --Stephen King

"[Black] has revived Chandler's legendary PI Philip Marlowe in a new adventure . . . A perfume heiress hires the shamus to investigate the disappearance of her lover, and the mystery soon opens up under him like a sinkhole . . . Black manages to nail not only Marlowe's voice, but his soul." --Entertainment Weekly

"[Black] channeling Chandler is irresistible--a double whammy of a mystery. Hard to think anyone could add to Chandler with profitable results. But [Black] most definitely gets it done." --Richard Ford

"Terrific fun . . . The Black-Eyed Blonde could be passed off as a newly discovered Chandler manuscript found in some dusty La Jolla closet . . . Any fan of Chandler's work is going to enjoy it." --The New York Times Book Review

"Half the pleasure of this book, at least for a Chandler fan, is to notice Black getting the little things right . . . Against a dozen other detective novels on my desk, I'll take a Raymond Chandler any day of the week, even when its written by somebody else--assuming that somebody is Benjamin Black." --All Things Considered, NPR

"It's vintage L.A., toots: The hot summer, rain on the asphalt, the woman with the lipstick, cigarette ash and alienation, V8 coupes, tough guys, snub-nosed pistols, the ice melting in the bourbon . . . The results are Chandleresque, sure, but you can see [Black's] sense of fun." --The Washington Post

"I opened the book hopefully--and I closed it entirely satisfied, even thrilled . . . It's all there, the Chandler voice: the crisply detailed description and sly similes that set a scene precisely, the world-weary bemusement of the narrator, his gimlet eye for the ladies and the delicately ominous foreshadowing . . . It's clear [Black] does love Marlowe, and he's reminded me why I love him, too." --Tampa Bay Times

"From its pitch-perfect opening sentences, Benjamin Black's channeling of Raymond Chandler is one of the season's best mysteries." --The San Francisco Chronicle

"I was impressed by the plotting of The Black-Eye Blonde, its perfect pacing and use of misdirection . . . [Black] nails the spoiled L.A. atmosphere that is Chandler's forte."

"A tremendously fun and diverting tale . . . The author of a somber but beautifully written series of mysteries set in the same era as Chandler's novels, Black was a savvy choice for the job. His nimble plotting drives The Black-Eyed Blonde . . . Marlowe, however, remains the undisputed star of the show, a hardened, magnetic presence." --Page Views, New York Daily News

"All of the essential ingredients are there, afloat in a tumbler of Santa Monica sleaze . . . But Mr. Black can also make words do things Chandler could only dream of . . . The fun lies in watching two styles tangle . . . With an artfulness worthy of the original, Mr. Black has made it new, though he doesn't forget whom he owes." --The New York Observer

"What Black captures in Chandler's voice is the weary twist of ambivalence . . . That baseline of doubt, the whiff of regret and then betrayal, form the essential atmosphere of noir fiction. And Black gets that exactly right." --The Oregonian

"[Black] has largely perfected Chandler's much-mimicked, seldom-bettered knack for similes and one-liners . . . Best of all, though, he conjures the world-weary loneliness of Chandler's creation, a character who, in just seven novels, the world saw far too little of. Banville/Black clearly loves writing this and the fun he's having--his affection for Chandler's world--shines through . . . Entirely irresistible." --The Guardian (UK)

"[The Black-Eyed Blonde] is probably better than an actual Chandler: more coherent, and more consistent, more careful. [Black] is simply a more elegant writer. Chandler was a metaphorical rogue trader; [Black] is a class act." --The New Statesman (UK)

"[The fact that] this novel is so enjoyable is a testament to the effectiveness of the formula that Chandler laboured so hard to perfect." --The Telegraph (UK)

"Seen as a crime novel in its own right it is a cut above anything else out there." --The Irish Times

"Black's Marlowe caper is in a separate league. It is wonderful, an affectionate tribute and a labour of love that is sure to please Chandler devotees and endear new audiences." --The National (Abu Dhabi)

"Black skillfully references Chandler characters ... [and] remarkably, he seems to channel Chandler's cadence with pithy dialogue, beautifully drawn characters, and a satisfyingly convoluted plot." --Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

"[Black] brings Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe back to full-blooded life--complete with inner turmoil and honest, hard-boiled dialogue. This is not a pastiche, but the real deal, kicked up a notch with clever traces of irony. It's tightly plotted, has its share of blunt violence and wise-cracks, as well as descriptions of L.A. that puncture the city's elaborate façade. Banville has been compared to Joyce, and this novel confirms the comparison. You'll find memorable passages that demand to be read aloud. [Banville's prose] captures perfectly the melancholy soul of Philip Marlowe." --Zoom Street Magazine

"Despite Robert B. Parker's lengthy experience in the PI genre, his sequel to The Big Sleep, Perchance to Dream, pales in comparison with Black's pitch-perfect recreation of the character and his time and place. As for the language, Black nails Chandler's creative and memorable similes and metaphors.... While the mystery is well-plotted, Black elevates it beyond mere thoughtful homage with a plausible injection of emotion in his wounded lead." --Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

"[Black] offers a stylish homage to Raymond Chandler in this tightly written caper . . . The focus . . . is on style and mood, and the Irishman, perhaps surprisingly, nails both. The homage game is a tricky game to play, but Black makes all the right moves. Great fun for Chandlerians." --Booklist

"Black . . . deliver[s] a more complex and satisfying mystery than other authors have done in the past. This latest incarnation of Chandler's sleuth with appeal to fans of Chandler and Marlowe, but newcomers to one of the first great PIs in crime fiction will find much to enjoy here as well." --Library Journal

"A treat for fans." --Kirkus Reviews