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BookBrowse Reviews The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey

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The Blade Itself

A Novel

by Marcus Sakey

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey X
The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2007, 352 pages

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How far would you go to protect everything you love? First novel compared to Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman and Quentin Tarantino. Thriller

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 question!

Sakey addresses the issue of distinctiveness in a short interview you can read at BookBrowse in which he says, "to be honest, I don’t really worry about being distinctive—I 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 vulnerable—because 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 The BookBrowse Review in January 2007, and has been updated for the November 2007 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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