The website of UK writer Dan McNeil

Non-Fiction

Book, magazine, art, and movie reviews by Dan McNeil

SHIVA 3000

Who or what is Shiva 3000?

Shiva appears in the book, but the number 3000 does not. That this story is set in the far future is specifically mentioned on the back cover only. Inside, within the story, nothing so specific. Does this matter? No. Read more

REMEMBERED AMERICA

I approached this book with some trepidation.

Not because of Dick McBride’s reputation: the author of three novels and several collections of poetry, his involvement with the Beat generation, his memoir of Allen Ginsberg, the fact that he (McBride, not Ginsberg – Ginsberg is dead) lives about twenty minutes from me and so, if he hates this review, will probably start lobbing bricks at my windows. Read more

PREY

I devoured my Prey in one sitting, as the blurb promised I would.

Unfortunately, this was simply because I wanted to get the turgid experience over as quickly as possible.  Read more

OPERATION CERTAIN DEATH

Sierra Leone, 2000. A civil war is in progress. Eleven Royal Irish Rangers – there to train the shambolic Sierra Leone army – and one Sierra Leonean soldier are captured by the main rebel group, the vicious West Side Boys. Read more

KISS ME SOFTLY, AMY TURTLE

Imagine – and you’re a reader, it shouldn’t be too difficult – imagine a cross between Will Self and James Ellroy. No, don’t imagine a plot crossover, because then you’d be struggling personfully (look here, I’m Mr PC Personified, no passé man-isms from me) with something called Dorian Confidential, or Tough, Tough Toys For Tough And Violently Corrupt LAPD Cops Circa 1951. Read more

FORTRESS MALTA

You’re living on a small but strategically important island. It’s wartime. All around you is the enemy. Nearly every day for three years, hundreds of their planes relentlessly bomb you. For much of this time, all you have for defence are insufficient numbers of anti-aircraft guns and a few worn out fighter aircraft. Read more

COME CLOSER

Reading this nasty little tale, I’m reminded of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, in which the female lead goes mad.

And don’t panic, dear publishers of Come Closer – when I say “nasty little tale”, I mean the tale told is nasty, not the manner in which it’s told. The manner in which it’s told is cool and minimal, and it’s all the more believable for that. Read more

AMERICAN PSYCHO

“And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention.”

(Talking Heads quote, from the introduction to American Psycho) Read more

A POUND OF PAPER: CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK ADDICT

Does professional book collecting turns you cold? Fear not. John Baxter’s amusing, intelligent and witty prose will have you laughing and learning. Read more