“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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Better The Devlin You Know

One of the Crime Always Pays roving reporter elves tracked down Brian McGilloway (right) recently, and was struck by how much of himself McGilloway appears to have invested in Borderlands’ family- man protagonist, DI Devlin. Quoth Brian:
“Well, the stereotype, the cliché, is the alcoholic, divorced loner who’s a bit of a maverick and resents authority. And I’m sure there’s some precedent, given the pressures of being a Guard or a policeman or whatever. At the same time, there must be happily married policemen. And I like the idea that Devlin is trying to balance being a father and a husband with being a police officer. I suppose it’s because those were the things that concerned me. I’m married with two young children, and I wrote Borderlands around the time the first child was born. So that obviously was a personal issue … At the start, when [Devlin] sees the girl lying in the snow, naked, his reaction is to put his coat over her to keep her warm, even though she’s dead. And that’s a natural, human thing to do, instead of standing around speaking very dispassionately about it. I can understand why policemen are portrayed that way, why they keep a distance, because they’d go mad otherwise. But there has to be some degree of humanity involved.”
Humanity in crime fiction? These upstart crime writers are losing the run of themselves and no mistake. Next thing you know they’ll be wanting to win literary prizes and suchlike …

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