“Declan Burke’s THE BIG O is one of the sharpest, wittiest and most unusual Irish crime novels of recent years. In a genre that sometimes takes itself a little seriously - particularly in Ireland, where crime fiction is still at a relatively young stage – it’s refreshing to read a novelist who allows some of the humour that is such a distinctive part of the Irish tradition to infuse his work. That said, THE BIG O is a contemporary Irish crime novel that should have a broad international appeal. Burke seems to me to be working in a similar tradition to, say, Carl Hiaasen, in that there’s a satirical edge to his work that gives it a real bite. The foibles that he points out are universal, and are as applicable to New York and Los Angeles as they are to Dublin and London. Burke doesn’t stint on the thriller aspect of the book either, which is a difficult trick to pull off successfully. The kidnapping-gone-wrong scenario at the heart of the novel gives it a real momentum, but Burke manages to leaven it with his humour. Again, the crime genre occasionally sacrifices too much of itself at the altar of gore, but there is a real appetite among readers for crime novels that can hold their attention, entertain and thrill them, yet can do so without resorting to an excess of blood on the page. Among all of the recent crop of Irish crime novelists, it seems to me that Declan Burke is ideally poised to make the transition to a larger international stage, and it can only be a matter of time before a wise US publisher sees his potential and exploits it to the fullest.” – John Connolly, author of THE UNQUIETMr Connolly, sir? Bless your cotton socks. And if you don’t own a pair, just let us know – not only will we spring for the socks, we’ll get an archbishop to bless ’em.
“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.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The Embiggened O # 389: Yep, It's The Inevitable ‘Dear John’ Missive
Yup, it’s the latest update in our ongoing saga of pestering real writers for a hup-ya on behalf of our humble offering, THE BIG O. This time out we sent our begging / threatening letter to John Connolly (right), whose current release THE UNQUIET is being fork-lifted in through the back doors of a bookstore near you even as you read. Quoth John: