“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 27, 2013

A Former Editor Writes

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there has been a tremendous boom in Irish crime fiction in the last couple of years. When I first started writing here about Irish crime, we’d be lucky to see two debut writers in a whole year. These days it’s not uncommon to find two writers making their debut in the same month.
  It’s not just about individual writers being published, either. By the end of 2013, the Irish Writers’ Centre will have run three dedicated crime writing courses. Trinity College will host Irish Crime Fiction: A Festival. Plans are afoot for an Irish crime writing festival next year. The Irish Book Awards will, yet again, include a Best Irish Crime Novel category. RTE radio is currently running a four-part documentary series called ‘Irish Noir’. And it’s become increasingly rare for an Irish literary festival not to include at least one panel on crime fiction.
  It’s terrific to see, and long may it continue.
  The downside for yours truly is that it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with all the new writers, the new books from more established writers, and all the various events and newsworthy items. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a wonderful development; in terms of this blog, which is a labour of love, it’s become almost impossible to do justice to them all.
  In fact, and as the more eagle-eyed among you will have noticed already, the coverage has been rather patchy of late. It’s been pretty busy lately here at CAP Towers, with work and my own writing, and I’ll be starting into a new book any day now. Rather than pretend that I’m providing any kind of decent service in terms of information about Irish crime writing, I’d much prefer to acknowledge that I can’t keep up, and bow out gracefully.
  This hasn’t been an easy decision to make, although to be fair it’s a decision a lack of time has made for me. I’ve met a host of wonderful people through this blog, and the goodwill has been terrific. Moreover, I have a special interest in Irish crime writing, and I know I’ll particularly miss writing about new Irish authors. Ultimately, however, with my time being squeezed on all sides, I simply need to be sensible and concede that I can’t do everything I’d like to do.
  I will be maintaining this blog for my own ends, of course, as it’s been a brilliant way of meeting other readers and writers over the years. I do hope you’ll stick around for the occasional news update, review or interview. Cheers, Declan

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Resistance Is Futile

I was planning on getting along to the launch of CONQUEST by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard yesterday evening, but then life in the shape of work reared its ugly head. Which is a pity, because CONQUEST sounds like a smashing book. To wit:

It may not qualify as Irish crime fiction / mystery, exactly, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the new novel CONQUEST: THE BOOK OF THE INVADERS (Headline), given that it’s written by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard and sounds like it’s terrific fun – and I, for one, welcome our new overlords. Quoth the blurb elves:
  Earth is no longer ours. It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilised yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders.
  Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape.
  But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home.
  For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun ...
  CONQUEST is ‘the start of an epic new series from bestselling author John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard’, by the way, so there’ll be plenty more where that came from. I do hope, for the Illyri’s sake, that they’ve read up on their Donagh MacDonagh
  Hats off to John Connolly. He’s already given us private eye fiction, gothic supernatural, young adult comedy, fairy tale reinvention – and now, with Jennifer Ridyard, epic fantasy. He’s turning into the Irish William Goldman before our very eyes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Death Comes To Trinity

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature is delighted to announce that renowned crime author PD James will be speaking to novelist Declan Burke about her novel DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY in The Public Theatre, Trinity College on Tuesday 8th October.

DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY is written in the style of Jane Austen as follow-on from Pride and Prejudice, where PD James draws the characters of Jane Austen into a tale of murder, intrigue and emotional mayhem. It is currently being made into a 3 part mini-drama series for the BBC to be aired in December. As this is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, PD James will discuss DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY, her love of Jane Austen, as well as her crime novels.

PD James was born in Oxford in 1920. Her first book was published when she was in her late thirties. She is the author of 20 books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast in the United States and other countries. Many of her books, including A Taste for Death, The Murder Room and Devices and Desires, feature Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh.

She spent 30 years working in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain's Home Office.

In 2000, at the age of 80, she published her autobiography TIME TO BE IN EARNEST. She has won awards for crime writing in several countries including Britain, America and Scandinavia. She was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Date: Tuesday 8th October
Venue: The Public Theatre (known as the Examinations Hall), Front Square, Trinity College
Time: 7pm (doors close at 6.50pm sharp)
Admission: Free.
Booking is essential (maximum of 4 tickets per person).
Book at 01 - 6744862 or email cityofliterature@dublincity.ie

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Ben Kane

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...

What crime novel would you most like to have written?
THE TWELVE by Stuart Neville. Absolutely outstanding.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Alv, the young cowherd/smith/hero figure in the sadly little known but absolutely outstanding Winter of the World trilogy by Michael Scott Rohan.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Christian Cameron – his 4th century BC novels are some of the finest historical fiction around.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Writing the final battle scene of my second Spartacus novel – in two eighteen hour, emotional roller coaster days of writing nirvana.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
THE TWELVE by Stuart Neville.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
See above.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst: the unending solitude. It’s fine some of the time, most of the time. But sometimes, it’s absolutely bloody awful. Best: being my own boss. Being able to have breakfast with my kids, seven days a week. Having a five-second commute, from house to shed. Living in the world of my novels.

The pitch for your next book is …?
Germany, AD 9. Three Roman legions in a forest. Lots of nasty German tribal types hiding among the trees. A traitor in the Roman ranks. Cue absolute carnage.

Who are you reading right now?
COLLUSION by Stuart Neville, and TYRANT: DESTROYER OF CITIES by Christian Cameron.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
That’s a HORRIBLE question to have to answer. I was surprised (because I’ve been a reader all my life) and unsurprised (because writing is a drug) by my answer. Write.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Gripping. Pithy. Fast-paced. (Is that two words?!)

Ben Kane, author of HANNIBAL: FIELDS OF BLOOD, appears at the Dublin Festival of History on Monday, September 30th.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

BOOKS TO DIE FOR: The Awards

I’m delighted to announce that BOOKS TO DIE FOR (ed. John Connolly and Declan Burke, with Assistant Editor Clair Lamb) has won both the Anthony Award and the Macavity Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction at Bouchercon 2013. I’m particularly pleased for the 120 contributors, all of whom fully engaged with the spirit of the book, the essence of which is a celebration of all the great crime and mystery novels and writers. In its conception and its execution, BTDF was very much a labour of love (all authors are, first and foremost, readers), and it’s very nice indeed to see that spirit reflected in the Macavity and Anthony awards (and also the Agatha award, which BTDF won earlier this year).
  All told, it’s been a very good weekend, and not only for BOOKS TO DIE FOR’s editors and contributors, but also for the good people at Hodder & Stoughton (UK) and Atria (US) who put their collective shoulders to the wheel on behalf of the book. It’s always been my experience that the international crime fiction community is comprised of an incredibly warm, generous and welcoming bunch of people, and Bouchercon 2013 pretty much confirms that fact.