Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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, December 1, 2012

The Canadian-Italian Job

Recently returned from Caen University, where he featured - along with The Artist Formerly Known as Colin Bateman and Declan Hughes - in a weekend-long conference on Irish crime fiction, the very fine scribe Cormac Millar continues his international bridge-building by welcoming Canadian-Italian author Antonio Nicaso (right) to Dublin’s Trinity College on Monday, December 3rd.
  A renowned Mafia expert, Nicaso will be giving a talk on ‘Mafia: Fiction and Reality’, which incorporates the international phenomenon of organized crime and not just the Italian variety.
  The event takes place in the Robert Emmet Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College at 7:15pm on the evening of Monday 3 December 2012. For more about Antonio Nicaso, clickety-click here

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thus Spake Mr & Mrs Kirkus …

J. Kingston Pierce compiles his Top Ten Crime / Mystery novels of 2012 over at the Kirkus Reviews blog, and you won’t be even remotely surprised to learn that a certain BROKEN HARBOUR by Tana French shows up. More intriguing, perhaps, is the fact that there’s a second Irish crime novel on the list, and one that seems to have flown under many radars this year: Anthony Quinn’s debut, DISAPPEARED. To wit:
“Quinn enriches DISAPPEARED with Irish history and does an excellent job of ratcheting up the tension as his plot unfolds.” - J. Kingston Pierce
  Very nice indeed. For more on DISAPPEARED, clickety-click here

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Flesh And Blood And Ink

Those crazy kids and their rock ‘n’ roll tattoos, eh? Norn Iron scribe Gerard Brennan displays an admirable level of commitment to his books in getting FIREPROOF punched into his arm, which may well be the most quixotic gesture I’ve seen this year, given its combination of flesh, blood and ink. For the full story, clickety-click here
  Has anyone else ever tattooed themselves with their own books? Or with any literary reference? I’ve got one of Wile E. Coyote, which isn’t very bookish, although I do think that Wile. E is the very essence of Beckett given his ‘fail, fail better’ modus operandi …

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On Bottling The Spirit Of Raymond Chandler

We may not have brought home the proverbial bacon from the Irish Book Awards on Thursday night, losing out in the Crime Novel category to Tana French’s excellent BROKEN HARBOUR, but it’s fair to say that the weekend wasn’t entirely wasted. On Thursday, the Irish Times published a Christmas gifts supplement, in which a number of writers were asked to suggest books as presents. BROKEN HARBOUR was among Marian Keyes’ picks, as was THE LAST GIRL by Jane Casey and GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, although she opened up, bless her cotton socks, with SLAUGHTER’S HOUND. To wit:
“SLAUGHTER’S HOUND starts with a body diving from a building and a car exploding, and the action doesn’t let up until the last line. But what sets this novel apart is its tone, which is being called ‘Irish noir’: it’s dead-pan and sardonic, and although it’s often very, very funny, this is a grim and gritty read.” - Marian Keyes, Irish Times
  I was, as you can imagine, absolutely delighted by that - it does ye olde confidence no harm at all to have a writer of Marian Keyes’ calibre say such things.
  In the same section, incidentally, John Connolly picked CREOLE BELLE by James Lee Burke, LIVE BY NIGHT by Dennis Lehane and HHhH by Laurence Binet - with all of which I heartily concur.
  Then, today, the Sunday Times published its annual selection of the year’s finest books, and lo! SLAUGHTER’S HOUND popped up in the ‘standout works of genre fiction’, being the Crime Fiction choice. To wit:
“It takes a writer of rare skill to make modern-day Sligo feel like 1940s California, but Declan Burke has clearly bottled the spirit of Raymond Chandler for SLAUGHTER’S HOUND. When Harry Rigby sees his best friend dive off a building onto his taxi - blowing up a load of grass in the process - the former private eye is launched into a dark, twisting screwball caper of gang bosses, a rich family in the clutches of Nama, a fiery Cypriot beauty, and a very unsympathetic detective.” - Kristoffer Mullin, Sunday Times
  So there you have it. SLAUGHTER’S HOUND, by the way, has just been published in the US and Canada, and has picked up four five-star reviews to date. If you’ve read the book and liked it, and have the time and inclination to say so, I’d really appreciate your review over here. I thank you kindly …