Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
Absolute Zero Cool is the type of book that on the one hand makes you laugh out loud, and on the other makes you want to start re-reading it all over again as soon as you have finished it the first time around.
Author Declan’s mind is currently blocked. However, this does not stop him from being visited by the apparitions of some of his characters that he has long forgotten but who are demanding from him their right to decide their own fate. One of the characters is Karlsson who turns up one Spring morning in the author’s back garden. Karlsson is there to complain about a number of things. He is upset that the author has not bothered to revise and publish the novel that he features in and appears to have been left in limbo. He also does not like the description of himself in the novel nor the name that he goes by. He has decided to change his name to Billy. On top of that he has a long list of gripes that he would like the author to acknowledge and deal with, least of all the fact that the author has put his story aside and thus left him in limbo. He wants that resolved. Karlsson (aka Billy) manages to persuade the author to put aside his current work and work on his story. But that’s when the problems start. Things start to happen to his baby daughter Lily and Karlsson now known as Billy takes over the writing of majority the novel. His character changes and becomes significantly more evil and he plots to blow up his place of work. Soon the novel begins to dominate.
There are a lot of in jokes in this novel, for example the author’s real daughter is called Lily. Absolute Zero Cool may be hard book to describe and a hard book to summarise but it is also a joyous book to read. Burke’s style in all of this is light and refreshing. There is nothing awkward about the way in which he has told this story about the complications in writing a novel. If anything he has written it with his tongue firmly in his cheek. It has been a long time since I read anything so cool, so noir and so bloody good! Highly original, witty Absolute Zero Cool is the coolest of cool novels and a cult novel to boot!