Customer Reviews for

Christine Falls (Quirke Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(0)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Fantastically atmospheric - you can almost smell the smoke and whiskey

This is what happens when a Man Booker prize winning literary author turns his hand to the murder-thriller genre - a deep and meaningful character-driven story of human weakness, the meaning of sin and meditations on evil. Banville (Benjamin Black is a pen name for Iris...
This is what happens when a Man Booker prize winning literary author turns his hand to the murder-thriller genre - a deep and meaningful character-driven story of human weakness, the meaning of sin and meditations on evil. Banville (Benjamin Black is a pen name for Irish author John Banville) creates an oppressive atmosphere of dark foreboding that pervades the story's every corner. At the end, the question is no longer the identity of "the bad guy" but rather of who among us is innocent. The main character, Quirke, is not a sharp detective type, but rather a damaged and lost soul bumbling about a confusing and ever-changing landscape of his world, ties and responsibilities as his sense that he is in some way complicit drives him to seek an answer to the question of what happened to Christine Falls.

posted by GG1000 on May 8, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Couldn't finish

After reading 145 of 340 pages, I chose not to finish the book. Eloquent and descriptive language of events and characters detracted from the story.

posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2008

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastically atmospheric - you can almost smell the smoke and whiskey

    This is what happens when a Man Booker prize winning literary author turns his hand to the murder-thriller genre - a deep and meaningful character-driven story of human weakness, the meaning of sin and meditations on evil. Banville (Benjamin Black is a pen name for Irish author John Banville) creates an oppressive atmosphere of dark foreboding that pervades the story's every corner. At the end, the question is no longer the identity of "the bad guy" but rather of who among us is innocent. The main character, Quirke, is not a sharp detective type, but rather a damaged and lost soul bumbling about a confusing and ever-changing landscape of his world, ties and responsibilities as his sense that he is in some way complicit drives him to seek an answer to the question of what happened to Christine Falls.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    Four Stars

    Well written; descriptions do not slow down the story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Ready for More

    'Christine Falls' marks the debut story of pathologist Quirke. I look forward to continuing with 'The Silver Swan.' Quirke and the other characters are a little flawed, making their stories more like real life. Whose life doesn't have some contradictions? Who hasn't told a lie, thinking it is done for a good reason? The prose is beautiful. Not every detail gets tied up at the end. There are questions I want to discuss with others who have read this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    An engrossing thriller

    While I agree with other reviewers that the ending of this novel was a bit of a letdown, I'd still recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. The writing is lush and visual, the characters well-defined and the progression of events kept my fingers busy turning pages late into the night. All in all, a riveting read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Enjoyable and believable. Very well written, certainly to be rec

    Enjoyable and believable. Very well written, certainly to be recommended.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    Interesting ...

    I would recommend this book. The characters are interesting, but not necessarily always likable. The book has a different feel than most mysteries. The story draws you in, but It definitely has a dark/gloomy side. Some of the story is left unsaid for the next book. The book is well written and easy to follow most of the time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Catholic noir!

    Don't pass this one out if you are a fan of well-written, atmospheric novels of psychological suspense, whose ending will indeed surprise you. The main character, who has an emotional depth surprising for a detective (he's not just a drunk if you read the sample pages), promises to continue to fascinate me in the further novels in the series. Benjamin Black is the pen name of Booker-Award winning Irish author John Banville.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Drew me in from page one

    I really enjoyed this novel. It was dark and stormy and generated a lot of Irish imagery. John Banville's books always leave me a little depressed about the human condition, but they're so authentic that I enjoy them. His prose is engaging and thought-provoking and I can read his novels (including this one) for hours at a time without realizing I haven't moved.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    great story!

    well written story. This the is first book of this author's I have read. I was drawn into the story. He made everything dramatic, but not overly suspenseful. You knew something was awry and you didn't want to put the book down until you knew what exactly was going on. This makes for a good author and good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2008

    Couldn't finish

    After reading 145 of 340 pages, I chose not to finish the book. Eloquent and descriptive language of events and characters detracted from the story.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    Great mystery and more

    The descriptions are excellent. The characters keep you involved and everything ties together well to the end. I borrowed this book from a library and liked it so well that I placed an order to buy my own. I can't wait for the next in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2007

    Somewhat of a letdown

    I was excited to start this book, however once I started I was bored. I never really cared about any of the characters and had to force myself to keep reading hoping something big would happen. All the makings of a great book were there but somehow it just never clicked for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    A Review

    This book grabbed me from the beginning. It's very well written with interesting characters, mystery and suspense. The thing is, I had the 'mystery' figured out so early that I thought I had to be wrong. Certainly this wonderful writer would sucker-punch me at the end with something shocking and out of left field. Didn't happen. The suspense that grabbed me right away just fizzled out. Still, it's a good story by a really good writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    terrific 1950s medical thriller

    In Dublin after a few drinks at an office going away party for a nurse, pathologist Garret Quirke enters his prime work area the morgue only to be stunned by what he sees in spite of being drunk. His stepbrother Dr. Malachy Griffin was sitting at Quirke¿s desk writing in a file that the pathologist noticed is that of Christine Falls. Too tired to think any further Quirke leaves a nervous Mal behind. --- After several hours of sleep, Quirke wonders why Mal was at the morgue instead of home with his wife Susan. He begins to look closer at the death of the young maid, Christine Falls, who died during childbirth especially since he knows Mal changed the file. However, whenever he raises a point, he finds the Irish medical establishment protecting one another while the clues take him to Boston. --- This is terrific 1950s medical thriller that constantly pulls the rig out from underneath the reader with fabulous unexpected yet plausible twists. The subplot in Dublin is foggy and mysterious as the audience alongside the obstinate hero wonders what is going on. The shift to Boston turns more detective like in tone and less sinister, as the clues begin to come together though spins still will fool the reader. Benjamin Black provides a superior medical investigative tale that will have fans clamoring for more work by quirky Quirke. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Jason

    Sighs* ik

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    Good read

    Interesting story and well written. Enough fact (laundry and adoptions) to make it even more compelling. Could not put down until i finished reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    Jerk quirke

    This guy can write. It's too bad that be can't also develop a less stereotpical Irish protagonist than the jerk named quirke, in all his tedious heavy smoking and drinking Irish cliche-ness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    Jonathan

    "I will be back tomorrow but i gotta go. I got that sentence ackwards lol. Good night

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    A revelation to a John Banville fan!

    This is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill mystery. This is a mystery with a literary feel. If you've enjoyed John Banville's novels I think you will enjoy his work as Benjamin Black just as much. Can't wait to move on to the next book in the series!

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A looming and somber man driven by a cloud of questions leads th

    A looming and somber man driven by a cloud of questions leads the reader of CHRISTINE FALLS into the gloom of 1950s Irish Catholicism. There are secrets in the pathologist's morgue, in his family, in the Church, and in his soul. Quirke's unraveling of the story of baby smuggling from Dublin to Boston, though relentlessly tragic, is told in brilliant prose. The words chosen have such precision that images glow on the page. For example, there are these: "a version of the Sphinx: high, unavoidable, and monumentally ridiculous" -- "frost smoke" -- "a leaden line in front of lavender-tinted fog" -- "grinning in that way she did when she was excited, showing her upper gums" -- "old brown paintings" -- "black birds spurted raggedly from behind the rooftops and twirled..." -- "the gaunt hospital room reminded him of the inside of a skull...."

    This writing talent presented as that of "Benjamin Black" belongs in fact to John Banville, a Booker Prize winning author (2005, THE SEA). CHRISTINE FALLS debuts a new branch of his work, a series featuring the pathologist Quirke. Categorized by the publisher as a "psychological novel," it is also called a "new kind of crime novel" and a "suspense novel." In my mind, it also belongs to historical realism, even the emotions of the characters, reminiscent of late 1940s films like THE SNAKE PIT and JOHNNY BELINDA, which commented on shortcomings in institutions without being documentary. Analyses aside, the novel is enjoyable for its well-drawn characters, so deeply motivated by personal circumstances to make a transition from poverty stricken Ireland to a bright and promising United States. It was not as easy as one might think.

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