'If I Can't Have You' marks the arrival of a significant new voice. Quirk has managed to fuse elements of the mainstream thriller with a literary style that is fluent, poetic and richly evocative. The reader is carried along both by the intricacies of the plot and the elegance of the prose. The novel explores issues of love and loss and asks questions of us all: what should we do when our ambitions and desires are thwarted? To what extent is our fate pre-determined? And can we recover from damage done to us as a child without damaging others and destroying our own happiness in the process? Themes of obsession, guilt, addiction and madness permeate the plot, affecting all of the characters. The novel thus demonstrates that rapid self-destruction is a possibility for all of us.