“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.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Irish Noir: The Radio Series

‘Irish Noir’ is a new four-part radio series from RTE which begins on Saturday, September 14th. Presented by John Kelly (right), it features contributions ‘from the biggest names in our country’s crime writing scene’, and your humble correspondent. To wit:
Irish Noir is the story of Irish Crime fiction. From its gothic origins, through the fast paced storylines provided by Celtic Tiger excess – and right up to the bleak fictional landscape inspired by Austerity Ireland.

In the last 15 years, Irish crime writing has experienced a renaissance in popularity comparable to the Scandinavian and Scottish crime writing scenes. But before that, Irish crime writing was in the doldrums. Irish Noir is a major new four-part series presented by John Kelly, which will explore why it took so long for this popular genre to get a comfortable footing in this country. To what extent did politics and history play a part? And did the enormous success of Irish literary giants like Joyce and Beckett cloud the ambitions of writers who might have naturally had more hard-boiled aspirations ...? In other words, did we turn our literary noses up at crime fiction?

This will be a must-listen series for all bookworms, featuring contributions from the biggest names in our country’s crime writing scene – John Connolly, John Banville, Tana French, Declan Burke, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Alex Barclay, and Stuart Neville to name but a few ...

Irish Noir was made in conjunction with the BAI’s Sound and Vision fund. It starts on RTE Radio 1 at 7pm on Saturday September 14th.
  To listen in, clickety-click here

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review: ANGEL CITY by Jon Steele

I had a crime fiction column published in the Irish Times at the weekend, which concluded with a short review of Jon Steele’s ANGEL CITY (Bantam Press). It ran a lot like this:
Jon Steele’s Angel City (Bantam Press, €20.50) is the sequel to The Watchers (2011), a novel that introduced us to Jay Harper, an English private eye living in Lausanne who belatedly realises that he is not a detective but an angel who is engaged in a timeless war against demonic forces of evil. Angel City opens with Harper foiling a terrorist attack on Paris, which leads to the discovery that a rogue priest is attempting to tap into a celestial power at the ancient Cathar fortress at Monts├ęgur in southern France with the intention of quite literally unleashing hell. It sounds fantastical, and it is, but American author Jon Steele, a former war reporter, is engaged in something rather more interesting than tales of the supernatural. The Watchers and now Angel City (the first two parts of ‘The Angelus Trilogy’) read like Paradise Lost redrafted by Raymond Chandler in a fevered dream, in which the demonic hordes are desperate to secure nuclear weaponry and the angels boast the kind of firepower Milton couldn’t have conjured up in his worst nightmares. It’s a compelling modern fable, the time-honoured tale of Good versus Evil rewritten according to a fatalistic theology at a time when technology has finally made possible the worst imaginings of ancient prophecy. – Declan Burke
  For the rest of the column, which includes reviews of the latest titles from Ruth Rendell, Charles McCarry and Tom Franklin and Beth Fennelly, clickety-click here