“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bruen Up A Perfect Storm

Well, it was almost perfect – Sir Kenneth of Bruen didn’t exactly sweep the boards at the Alaska Bouchercon, but he gave them a damned good polishing. First he picked up the Barry Award for Best British Novel for Priest, then went one better by claiming the Shamus (again!) in the Private Eye Writers of America’s competition, for The Dramatist. Not content with that, he then scooped a Crime Spree Magazine gong for American Skin in the, erm, Best Ken Bruen Book of the Year Award. Not bad for a Galway lad, eh? And leaving aside the semi-mythical '2nd Shamus' win, the fact that Bruen won awards for separate titles would have been a marvellous achievement in itself, except for the fact that he was nominated – along with Jason Starr – in yet another category, Best Paperback Original in the Barrys, and for yet another title, Bust. Which makes it even more wonderful than marvellous, if such a thing is possible. The big question: could it have happened to a nicer guy? We think not … The bigger question: will the achievement warrant a mention in the Irish media? Again, sadly, we think not … Meanwhile, full details of winners and losers in all categories are available at The Rap Sheet.

7 comments:

Pat Mullan said...

Just marvelous! Ken is the most unique voice to come out of Ireland in decades. Irish literature is enriched by him.

And yet, he's hardly recognized in his own country.

We've got to do something about that. You've got a voice, a podium, Dec. Use it to launch the campaign ...

Slan, Pat

Declan Burke said...

Couldn't agree more, Pat ... I'd say Ken is Ireland's best-kept secret except there's times when it seems like it's more of a conspiracy of silence ... What more does the guy have to do? Ah well, I'll keep on plugging away here ... Besides, when the guy's so big in the States, and pretty much everywhere else, who gives a rat's ass whether he's known here in Ireland or not?

Cheers,

Dec

Maxine said...

I just keep on hearing good things about Sir K of B, so here is a question, which one should I read first, as I haven't read any of his before? I know he writes a series, and I am a bit of a nerd about wanting to read series in order. Should I do that in Sir K of B's case, or is there a "type example" of his ouevre that you can recommend?

Declan Burke said...

Hi Maxine - What's so nerdy about wanting to read series in order? Eh? Anyhoo, The Guards is the first of Ken's Jack Taylor series, which is the series winning all the awards. For earlier standalones,I like The Hackman Blues and London Boulevard ... Let me know what you think. Cheers, Dec

Pat Mullan said...

Maxine,

You can start anywhere. I love his White Trilogy books about Brant and his fatally flawed police colleagues in London - most recent being Ammunition. But start with 'A White Arrest'.

And I highly recommend a stand alone: Dispatching Baudelaire. Just superb!

Best, Pat.

Karen said...

Just like Maxine, I haven't had the pleasure of reading Ken Bruen yet but am just starting London Boulevard. Sounds like I won't be disappointed. Fair play Dec for giving him plenty of mentions. By the way, just finished the Big O and really enjoyed it - well done! When's the next one coming out?
Cheers
Karen

Declan Burke said...

Hi Karen - Hope you enjoy LB, I think it has a lovely noir twist on an old Hollywood classic ... And thanks for the kind words on The Big O. When is the next one due? Ask me again after Christmas ...! Cheers, Dec