Here’s a review just posted on Amazon by “Voracious Reader.” It’s hugely satisfying to me, not just because it may induce some readers to become acquainted with this early work of mine, but because it demonstrates the way ePublishing and the social media allow books to find their way to the audience most likely to appreciate them. Because Open Road was eager to make my whole backlist eVailable, Passport to Peril was once again out and about. Because I blogged about it here, and mentioned it on Facebook and Twitter, it came to Voracious Reader’s attention. Now I don’t know VR, but we’re fellow tweeps on Twitter, and that led VR to PTP, and it turned out to be VR’s kind of book. And, because online reviews and, yes, the social media allow readers like VR to share their enthusiasm, the book has a better chance to reach readers than it ever had back in 1967. (And not just because back then most of y’all weren’t out of diapers…)
Enough from me. Here’s what Voracious Reader has to say:
5.0 out of 5 stars
If you like the Helen MacInnes genre, Irish folklore, history and music, or Ireland, this book is for you!
Passport to Peril is Lawrence Block writing in literary drag circa 1967. He wears it well.
As he discusses in his Afterword and on his blog, Block was purposefully aiming for the audience of what one might call the Helen MacInnes genre; books that feature a lovely young woman in a foreign and exotic locale unwittingly drawn into a net of intrigue and danger.
Having devoured many books of this type in my youth because of the opportunity for `armchair travel’ and the interesting background knowledge that they offer, I feel well qualified to say that Block’s excellent entry in this genre not only stands the test of time but also surpasses his models in many ways.
His likable and courageous heroine is a folksinger, who has traveled to Ireland in order to record and collect Irish folk songs. A sense of menace pervades her journey, however, beginning with a mugging during her brief stopover in London. It becomes increasingly clear that those she meets are not always what they seem and that she has become the target of a mysterious and malevolent plot. And, of course, there is also a romance, handled so well here that it fits seamlessly into the plot and is not distracting even to someone like me, who is normally bored senseless by romance or sex in my reading material.
Block clearly knows the Ireland of the late nineteen sixties in which his story is set from personal experience. He lovingly portrays the Irish culture, history, folklore, and, especially, folk music that make up a large and deeply moving part of what is otherwise a highly entertaining tale of intrigue. Some of these passages brought me almost to tears–a feat not easily accomplished.
I highly recommend this book both as a thoroughly enjoyable read and as a glimpse of the now vanished world of Ireland during the nineteen sixties.