“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dead Men Tell Good Tales: GRAVELAND by Alan Glynn

Those who have been following Alan Glynn’s career will appreciate the symmetry that sees his latest offering, GRAVELAND (Picador USA), set in New York – which is where it all started for Alan Glynn, with the superb THE DARK FIELDS. The concluding chapter of a loose trilogy incorporating WINTERLAND and BLOODLAND (which won the crime fiction gong at the Irish Book Awards in 2011), GRAVELAND is released on May 23rd, and shapes up a lot like this:
A Wall Street investment banker is shot dead while jogging in Central Park. Later that night, one of the savviest hedge-fund managers in the city is gunned down outside a fancy Upper West Side restaurant. Are these killings part of a coordinated terrorist attack, or just coincidence? Investigative journalist Ellen Dorsey has a hunch that it’s neither. Days later, when an attempt is made on the life of another CEO, the story blows wide open ...
  Racing to stay ahead of the curve, Ellen encounters Frank Bishop, a recession-hit architect, whose daughter has gone missing. The search for Lizzie and her boyfriend takes Frank and Ellen from a quiet campus to the blazing spotlight of a national media storm - and into the devastating crucible of a personal and a public tragedy.
  Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows once again is James Vaughn, legendary CEO of private equity firm the Oberon Capital Group. Despite his failing health, Vaughan is refusing to give up control easily, and we soon see just how far-reaching and pervasive his influence really is.
  Set deep in the place where corrupt global business and radical politics clash, Alan Glynn’s GRAVELAND is an explosive and hugely topical thriller.
  For a review of BLOODLAND, clickety-click here.
  For a review of THE DARK FIELDS, clickety-click here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Hart Of The Matter

I’ve always thought that an archaeologist makes for a neat kind of metaphorical private investigator, and it makes even more sense in a setting like Ireland, with its layers upon layers of history laid down over thousands of years. Erin Hart’s latest exercise in excavating secrets, THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN (Scribner), is her fourth novel in the series, about which the blurb elves have been wibbling thusly:
After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog?
  While on the case, Cormac and Nora lodge at Killowen, a nearby artists’ colony and organic farm and sanctuary for eccentric souls. Digging deeper into the older crime, they become entangled in high-stakes intrigue encompassing Kavanagh’s death while surrounded by suspects in his ghastly murder. It seems that everyone at Killowen has some secret to protect.
  Set in modern-day Ireland, THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN delves deep into the mysteries of the past, revealing a new twist on the power of language—and on the eternal mysteries of good and evil.
  The book isn’t officially published until March 5th, but the early word is very good indeed. To wit:
“Hart’s foray into soggy Killowen has a rock-solid foundation of musical language and deft plotting.” (Kirkus)

“Hart combines powerful insights into human nature and pristine prose with history and archaeology in her stellar fourth crime novel … [The Book of Killowen] offers food for thought that persists beyond the immediate thrill of a well-told tale.” (Publishers Weekly)
  Erin Hart’s website can be found here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Synge When You’re Winning: Two More Jack Taylor Movies Based On Ken Bruen’s Novels

Ken Bruen’s fans will be delighted to hear that there are another two Jack Taylor movies coming from TV3 in the next couple of weeks, starting on Sunday night, March 3rd, and starring Iain Glen (right) as the bould Jack. To wit:
Two new films, ‘Jack Taylor: The Dramatist’ and ‘Jack Taylor: The Priest’, which were filmed on location in Galway, will see Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Nora Jane Noone (Deception) and Killian Scott (Love/Hate) reprise their roles, while Emma Eliza Regan (Love Eternal), Aaron Monaghan (The Other Side of Sleep), and Gavin Drea (What Richard Did) join the cast. The film series, which is based on the novels of Galway writer Ken Bruen, follow ex-garda Taylor, as he takes on cases that the Gardaí won’t. In ‘The Dramatist’, which airs on TV3 on Sunday, audiences catch up with Taylor, who against all odds, is clean and sober. While his mother resides in a retirement home, Taylor is summoned by a jailed drug-dealer who doesn’t believe the death of his younger sister was an accident. When a second murdered girl is found, Taylor receives teasing messages from a killer obsessed with John Millington Synge’s play ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Going Straight, He Is

Ray Banks is an old friend of Crime Always Pays, although when I say ‘old’ I mean young, hip and thrusting. Or is that young and hip-thrusting? Either way, Ray – author of the very fine novels SATURDAY’S CHILD and SUCKER PUNCH, among others – has a new title available: INSIDE STRAIGHT will be published by Blasted Heath on Thursday, Feburary 28th. Quoth the blurb elves:
Graham Ellis is reliable, efficient, focused – the best pit boss Sovereign Casinos has, even if he does say so himself. But rumours of mental instability, along with the fallout of a particularly bloody night on the tables, relegate him to day shifts at a low-rent Salford club. There he catches the attention of local gangster Barry Pollard, who has every intention of making Graham his inside man and is about to make him an offer he can’t refuse …
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crace Notes

I had the very great pleasure of sitting down with Jim Crace a couple of weeks ago, when he was in Dublin to talk about his latest – and last, apparently – novel, HARVEST (Picador). The resulting interview was published in the Irish Examiner on Saturday, and it opened up a lot like this:
Jim Crace is a titan of the modern English novel. From Continent (1986) and The Gift of Stones (1988) on to Quarantine (1997) and The Pesthouse (2007), he has won a slew of literary prizes without ever losing his popular touch. Hailed as the natural heir to William Golding, he has just published his latest novel, Harvest, to universal acclaim.
  When we meet at Dublin’s Brooks Hotel, he suggests that there is ‘a certain icy distance’ to his novels, this on the basis that he is not an autobiographical writer, but in person he is warm and friendly. For a publishing veteran, he is also charmingly direct about the appeal of being a novelist.
  “It’s such fun writing books,” he says. “And it’s a tremendous opportunity to be working in a form that is both mischievous and wise at the same time. I don’t want to sound New Age-y about it, but narrative knows a lot. Fiction has been around for thousands of years and it’s got all sorts of moves. As a writer, you shouldn’t resist them – you should listen out for them, because you can bet it’ll come up with better things than you can come up with.”
  Crace, to be fair, has come up with his fair share. He invented a whole new landmass for his debut, Continent, which won three prizes straight out of the gate.
  “I genuinely was naïve. When I brought out Continent, I thought the best that would happen was that my mum would like it, even if she didn’t read it, and that my cousins would buy it. And then, within about three weeks, it won three of the main prizes – the Guardian prize, the David Higham prize and the Whitbread.” He grins. “And I thought this was the most natural thing in the world.”
  He very modestly credits luck with the best part of his success. “I was lucky in that my natural voice, my ‘singing’ voice as a writer, was a rare one. That’s not to boast about it – it just had this unusual tone. There were plenty of writers around who were just as good as me that didn’t do as well as me, because they were writing conventional books brilliantly, but there were plenty of them around. I was writing books that might have been okay, but they were of their own kind.”
  Perversely, Crace seems much happier talking about the failings in his writing.
 “ I’ve always felt a little bit embarrassed that my books aren’t more autobiographical,” he says. “The reason they’re not, of course, is that I don’t have an autobiographical life. I’ve had a long marriage, a happy childhood, no ill-health, and literature doesn’t like any of those things. Happiness writes white, to use that phrase. But I’ve always felt that somehow or another that this was a failing.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here