Wake up and smell the fear! There's a new
thriller writer in town who's drawing comparisons to some of
the most established names in the business. Lee Child compares
The Blade Itself to "vintage Elmore Leonard, crossed with
classic Dennis Lehane". Kirkus Reviews thinks it reminiscent of
George Pelecanos, and Publishers Weekly describes it as just
plain "brilliant". In fact, there are so many comparisons
drawn to other writers that one can't help wondering whether
The Blade Itself is really Sakey's "voice" or whether he is
so entrenched in other people's writing that he has,
intentionally or otherwise, amalgamated these other voices into
his first book? Only time, and further books, will answer that
Sakey addresses the issue of distinctiveness in a short interview you can read at BookBrowse in which he says, "to be honest, I dont really worry about being distinctiveI worry about writing as forcefully as possible, about crafting stories that are personal and immediate and incendiary. If you do that honestly, your voice is always going to be your own."
In the short interview at BookBrowse he explains that the central idea came to him as he was walking from the train one evening, "I turned down my nice street toward the nice apartment where my nice wife waited. And suddenly it hit me that the things that we love are also the things that make us vulnerablebecause I had these things, they could be taken from me."
Heavyweight reviewers such as Patrick Anderson and Janet Maslin (both writing for the New York Times) announce The Blade Itself as an impressive start to a new career. Other reviewers compliment Sakey for his insights into the bonds of friendship and Danny's struggles to maintain a decent honest life for himself against the backdrop of the powerful Chicago landscape. One or two reviewers question whether the plot entirely adds up, but the question is asked rhetorically, somewhat tongue in cheek, in recognition of the fact that some degree of reality usually has to be suspended in a thriller - and who's going to notice when the pages are turning so fast anyway!
This review was originally published in January 2007, and has been updated for the November 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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