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, February 14, 2015

Interview: Sheila Bugler

The author of HUNTING SHADOWS and THE WAITING GAME, Shelia Bugler (right) is interviewed over at the Words With Jam ezine. An excerpt:
“As someone with a particular interest in flawed female characters, I’d love to have written any one of Gillian Flynn’s marvellous novels. Or anything by Megan Abbott – I am a huge fan of her work. I recently read This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash and was in awe for days afterwards. It’s a stunning novel. Tana French’s latest The Secret Place is another brilliant piece of crime fiction. If I could ever write a book that compares to any of those authors, I’d be really happy.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Essay: Steve Cavanagh on THE EXECUTIONERS

Steve Cavanagh, author of the forthcoming THE DEFENCE (Orion), has a very nice essay on John D. MacDonald’s THE EXECUTIONERS over at the Murder Room blog. It starts a lot like this:
“First published in 1957 as The Executioners, this classic is one of many standalone novels from one of the greatest mystery writers that has ever lived.
  “Lee Child’s Jack Reacher owes a lot to MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, and Lee has let it be known that he’s a huge fan of MacDonald. He is not alone in that – some of the world’s finest writers look to MacDonald with considerable admiration, writers such as Kingsley Amis, Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
  “In Cape Fear, MacDonald paved the way for one of the most popular thriller formats, one that still dominates the bestseller charts today: take an ordinary family man, put him in an extraordinary situation and watch what happens. This is the modern-day territory of Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay …”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sideline: Greek Islands and Me

You’ll excuse me diverting away from the usual fare on Crime Always Pays, I hope, but I stumbled across this fabulous photograph of the Greek island of Monemvasia on the Huffington Post’s Travel section this morning – I’ve never been to Monemvasia, but there was a certain shock of recognition, given that it strongly resembles (in my mind at least) the fictional island of Delphi, in Donegal’s Lough Swilly, where I set a goodly chunk of my spy thriller THE LOST AND THE BLIND (Severn House). To wit:
Once we’d crossed the central channel, we began curving sharply around to the south, the ferry picking up speed as we ran with the current and came around parallel to Delphi’s western shore. The coastline was unforgiving, a high rocky bluff crowned with thick forest, and I began to wonder if we’d need to anchor off-shore and take a tender to the island. Then, as we were passing a stubby promontory, the pilot pulled a ferry’s equivalent of a handbrake turn, throwing the wheel over and dragging a dull bellow of protest out the engines as he rammed them into reverse. For a moment we hung suspended in the current and then we slid easily into a tiny horseshoe bay surrounded on three sides by sheer cliff. The harbour was so calm that for a second or two, as we steamed towards the village tucked into a crevice in the cliffs, I believed we were going to ram the outlying buildings. It wasn’t until the first few houses began to waver and dance that I realized they were a reflection, the mirror-still surface unsettled by the wake pushed out under our prow ...
  Kee rolled the car down on to terra firma, up on to the pier. There she paused. On our left, tucked in under the sheer headland, was a large car park sparsely populated by cars, some of them under tied-down canvas coverings, along with a couple of small trucks and a handful of camper vans. At its entrance we found a topographical map informing us that Delphi boasted no more than a single road that was navigable by car, which encircled the island and hugged the coast all the way round. Otherwise the interior was essentially a steep-sloped pine-covered mountain accessible only by footpaths and hiking trails, with a single donkey path leading straight up from the rear of the village to a viewing point high on the cliffs above …
  For more on Monemvasia, clickety-click here.
  For more on THE LOST AND THE BLIND, clickety-click here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Launch: MARKED OFF by Don Cameron

Debut novelist Don Cameron launches MARKED OFF (New Island) at 6.30pm on Thursday, February 12 in Alan Hanna’s Bookshop, 270 Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines, Dublin 6. Quoth the blurb elves:
In the leafy suburb of Booterstown in the height of mid-Summer, the brutal and shocking murder of a local woman is the last thing that anyone expects. What is more unexpected is that this murder will only be the first of many. Inspector Danny O’Neill is led on a trail of false clues, lies, and corruption, where the only thing he seems to be able to find are dead ends.
  As O’Neill tries to come to terms with a painful past of buried memories, we realise that this is more than just a hunt for a wanted man, it is a hunt for redemption.
  In a tale of twists, turns, and sometimes sheer roundabouts, Marked Off tells the tale of a Dublin rendered frighteningly unfamiliar by the antics of a troubled and evil killer.
  For more, clickety-click here

Interview: Anthony Quinn

Arminta Wallace interviewed Anthony Quinn (right) – author of DISAPPEARED, BORDER ANGELS and THE BLOOD DIMMED TIDE – for the Irish Times over the weekend, and a very good read it is too. Sample quote:
“One of the biggest influences on me is Graham Greene. He was very good at bringing out the darkness in everybody as well as the light. PD James and Ruth Rendell are also influences. But I would say that Stuart Neville and Colin Bateman have influenced me in more subtle ways, in that they first took on writing about the Troubles and using detective fiction to do it. They knocked away my inhibitions in that respect.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Review: GUN STREET GIRL by Adrian McKinty

The latest Irish Times crime fiction column includes a review of Adrian McKinty’s current offering, GUN STREET GIRL (Serpent’s Tail). It runs a lot like this:
The fourth in Adrian McKinty’s award-winning series of police procedurals featuring Sean Duffy, a Catholic detective serving in the RUC during the 1980s, Gun Street Girl (Serpent’s Tail, €19.40), opens in 1985, as the news of the impending Anglo-Irish Agreement sends Northern Ireland into a turmoil of strikes, riots and violence. “How can you investigate a murder in a time of incipient civil war?” Duffy wonders as he attends the scene of what appears to be a professional double-killing of ‘civilians’. That conundrum is quickly left behind as Duffy finds himself investigating the possibility that the murders are connected to the theft of Javelin missile systems from the Shorts manufacturing plant, which may well implicate rogue members of an American secret service. The claustrophobic tension of the previous novels is replaced here by a surprisingly jocular tone, as Duffy resorts to absurdist humour in order to preserve his sanity in an increasingly bleak Northern Ireland. “Out here,” Duffy tells us, “on the edge of the dying British Empire, farce is the only mode of narrative discourse that makes any sense at all.” Gun Street Girl may well be a comically implausible tale, but its roots in historical fact renders it a superb satire of its time and place. ~ Declan Burke
  For the rest of the column, which includes reviews of the latest books from Colette McBeth, Antonio Hodgson and Dana King, clickety-click here