“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.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Symptoms Of A General Malaise

Published by New Island, Frances Cahill’s biography of her late father, MARTIN CAHILL, MY FATHER, aka Ireland’s most famous gangster, The General, has been getting some serious oxygen by Irish true crime standards, most recently in the Daily Mirror. Quoth Stephen Maguire:
“Frances Cahill’s book about her crime-lord dad The General has sparked a feud - because she broke an unwritten family code of silence about the gangster, it was claimed yesterday. Law student Frances, who lives with her family in Wicklow, received a EUR20,000 advance for her controversial book MARTIN CAHILL, MY FATHER. The sensational biography claims the Dublin gangster thwarted a plot to kidnap Bono’s daughter and also reveals how he once carried out 100 burglaries in one night. But the book has now back-fired in Frances’ face with many of her extended family furious she has broken their unwritten rule to never speak publicly about the slain gangland boss …”
Meanwhile, John Burke, public affairs correspondent with the Sunday Business Post and a former crime reporter, is less than favourable in his review, which concludes thusly:
“The author accords comparatively little of the critical tone she reserves for the gardaí to these acts of criminality. Most of Cahill’s criminal career - the Beit robberies, his run-ins with the Provisional IRA, the robberies, the bomb attack that maimed forensic scientist Jim Donovan - has been documented before in great detail in both print and on film, yet never before has his life been portrayed in such sympathetic terms. It is likely this book will sell well, but many will find it difficult to accommodate the comparable lack of balance by the author in her depiction of her father, a career criminal, and the gardaí and justice system that justifiably sought to end his reign of violent crime.”
Still, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? And with Ireland’s appetite for true crime stories showing no discernible signs of diminishing, this one should have more legs than the Spider Olympics.

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