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?
I was blown away the first time I read The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy. The bebop rhythms of the writing, the labyrinthine plot, the complexity of the characters, with all their ambiguities, their casual racism and fundamental decency … So original, I didn’t really know if I liked it or not until halfway through.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
The TV listings, to see what movies are on. Also partial to the odd trashy novel about zombies.
Most satisfying writing moment?
There have been a few times, writing fiction, when the sentence or paragraph has come together so perfectly that I’ve thought, ‘Yes. There it is. This can’t get any better’, and actually thought of myself, however temporarily, as somewhat comparable to all the great writers I admire.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Can Eoin McNamee’s Resurrection Man count as a crime novel? It’s certainly my favourite Irish novel of all time.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
See above. (Yes, I know they already made a movie of it, but it could have been better.)
Worst/best thing about being a writer?
The opportunity to let your mind go free and make stuff up – it’s that simple. Inventing people and situations and conversations. Much more satisfying than the real world.
The pitch for your next novel is…?
‘In a world of pain, Jim ‘Propane’ McDonovan is the really, really bad toothache.’
Who are you reading right now?
George Orwell, Why I Write; Primo Levi, If This is a Man; and, believe it or not, I’m also trying to grapple with James Joyce’s Ulysses. This is an atypical week, clearly. I’m not normally this highbrow.
The three best words to describe your own writing are…?
Funny, smart, sincere.
Darragh McManus is spit-‘n’-polishing his crime debut Even Flow as you read. His current work of non-fiction, GAA Confidential, is “Perhaps the funniest, most cultured book ever written about [Irish] national sports.” (Irish Independent)
“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.