“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.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hold The Black Page

He writes for The Scotsman, Pulp Pusher, Shots Mag, Thug Lit, Books from Scotland, and now Random House – yep, it would seem that Tony Black (right, in soft-focus dream-boat mode) is the new, erm, black. The former Young Journalist of the Year and one-man industry will have his novel Paying For It (described by Ken Bruen as “one adrenaline pumped novel … with that wondrous dead-pan humour that only the Celts really grasp. The narrative blasts off the page like a triple malt”) published in hardback and trade paperback next June, with a mass-market paperback to follow. Not only that, but industry legend Rosie de Courcy is steering it through the editorial process. Quoth Tony:
“Paying For It was a real labour of love and to know it’s now found a comfortable home at Random House is fantastic. The central character, Gus Dury, is a kind of reluctant investigator, a hack who’s been bulleted from his job and finds himself poking into the death of a friend’s son. The lad’s been tortured to death in the middle of an Edinburgh beauty spot but the police seem to have little interest in solving the case ... Gus wonders why. He soon turns up links to a shady vice ring, fronted by some heavy-duty gangsters from Eastern Europe. But there’s more ... one of the city’s political figureheads is involved and Gus soon finds himself up to his neck in a shitload of trouble.”
Black grew up in Galway during the ’80s, and manages to wangle a couple of Irish characters into the Edinburgh-based tale:
“There’s two quite prominent Irishmen in the book, one’s a cop – a good one – and the other’s a fragile old geezer that just gets caught up in the chaos ... It’s a joy to get the Irish in there because those brilliant lilting, lyrical voices are all there in my head from childhood ... mainly teachers blasting me for carrying on in school, ha-ha!”
Okay, so that’s Ray Chandler and Tony Black who (mis)spent their teenage years in Ireland. If you’ve any crime writer additions to that list, drop ’em in the comments box, folks …

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