“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.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Embiggened O # 1,709: Parp-Parp, Parpiddy-Parp!

Greetings from the coal-face of independent publishing, folks, where the big news today is that your humble correspondent's The Big O has SOLD OUT at Murder Ink on Dawson Street, Dublin (genial host and improbable crime nut Michael Gallagher pictured, left). Yep, that's A WHOLE FIVE COPIES - or would have been, had Michael not insisted on keeping a copy for his window display. Which is nice ... Sad to relate, Murder Ink doesn't have a website, but John Connolly loves the place, as does Critical Mick, and that's plenty good enough for us. You can always contact Michael Gallagher for orders 'n' whatnot at murderbook@iol.ie ... or just drop him a line telling him what a smashing bloke he is.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Funky Friday's Free-For-All: Gin-Joints, Hills Of Beans and Rounding Up The Usual Suspects



It's the burning question that keeps Crime Always Pays up at night, a-tossing and a-turning, although mostly a-tossing, sadly. Anyway, it walks like a noir-ish duck and it quacks like a noir-ish duck, but is Casablanca a true noir? What's that? You don't actually give a rat's ass? Shame on you, when this guy has gone to all the trouble of asking (da-dum!) Casablanca - Noir Or Not? Here's looking at you, kid ... Y'all come back on Monday, y'hear?

"Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down At The Station, Punk?" # 1,209: Jason Starr

Yep, it's rubber-hose time again, folks, in which Crime Always Pays sweats those shifty-looking usual suspects ...
What crime novel would you like to have written?
My next one.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Lots of graphic novels, comics, etc. Can't get enough.
Most satisfying writing moment?
In my new thriller, The Follower, the scenes with Peter. I think he's my best anti-hero.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
There are so many greats, but I'd have to go with one of the best of the last several years, Ken Bruen, The Guards.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Bruen's Her Last Call to Louis MacNiece, any of John Connolly's, and Alex Barclay's Dark House. I know I'm missing a lot.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst is the unpredictability of it all. There is no set career path for a writer, it's all improv. The best is the flip side of the worst. Since there's no set career path, you don't have to have a boss, you can make your own hours, take vacations whenever you want. You also feel a lot of satisfaction when a book is published so the best outweighs the worst by tons.
Why does John Banville use a pseudonym for writing crime?
I think he does it to differentiate his crime writing from his literary fiction, and that's probably a smart thing. I don't think there's any real difference between literary and crime; there's just good and bad. There are many works of classic literature with crimes in them, such as works by Shakespeare, etc, but do we call these crime plays? It's smart of Banville though because I think booksellers and marketing people need to make this differentiation, and the pseudonym helps.
The three best words to describe your own writing are ...?
Nobel Prize Winner.

Jason Starr's The Follower is due in the summmer; jump on this for regular news updates.

The Embiggened O # 236: Yes, We Can Now Blow Des Irae On Our Own Trumpet!

Gotta love those funky folks at your super, soaraway, giveaway Metro who published a rather fetching four-star review of your correspondent's humble opus, The Big O ... electronic bouquets to Therese McKenna from Crime Always Pays. If you fancy doing all your early Christmas shopping at a discount price without leaving the comfort of your own home, jump over to those lovely independent publishers Hag's Head Press for further details ... tell 'em the Trumpet Parper sent you. Oh, and while we're at it - Ocean FM is broadcasting an interview with yours truly on Sunday night, 8pm. Which is nice ...

Public Service Announcement: Don't Mind The Gaps

After a torrid time spent fending off the world's press in the wake of The Big O's publication, we're off for a well-earned holyer. Can't tell you where we're going, naturally - blummin' paparazzi, etc. - but the clue is in our Random Non-Crime Book of the Week Pick (TM), aka Phillip O'Ceallaigh's rather spiffing Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse. Jump over here for some Guardian-ish reviews of same, and try not to notice the occasional gaps in our posting regime while we're gone, although normal-ish service will be maintained - it'd be criminal of us not to post at least once from a Turkish whorehouse, no?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Drum-Roll Of Excellence Please, Maestro: Introducing ... Brian McGilloway!

All sorts of rave reviews are coming through for Brian McGilloway's Borderlands - according to Marcel Berlins (nope, we neither), McGilloway has joined the Irish crime fiction 'roll of excellence' that includes Ken Bruen, John Banville and John Connolly. "Brian McGilloway’s command of plot and assurance of language make it difficult to believe that Borderlands is his debut ... [He] tells this with style and compassion. His characters convince and he skilfully conveys the cloying atmosphere of a small rural community." Which is nice ... Jump on this for updates on what's happening in McGilloway-world.

A Psycho Is A Person In Your Neighbourhood: American Skin, Ken Bruen

Ken Bruen's American Skin is getting the kind of reviews that tend to give writers moist nether garments ("the scariest damn book I've read all year" ... "a dark, hilarious nightmare of a book that stretches genres and concepts" ... "an instant noir cult classic" - and there's plenty more where they came from). It's also on Barnes and Noble's Best of 2006 crime list. So WHY THE HELL HASN'T IT BEEN RELEASED THIS SIDE OF THE POND? EH? And who the hell do we have to blow to get a review copy? Sheesh ...

This Week We're Reading ... No Country For Old Men and The Moon In The Gutter

"Cormac McCarthy is like a man who spends hours in front of the mirror getting his hair to sit just right but will break your jaw if you tell him he's beautiful." Genius. Jump here for more of the same from The Guardian's Adam Mars-Jones, or elsewhere for some high-falutin' wibbling ... As for yon Goodis, the 'pitilessly hardboiled' ... 'Knut Hamsun of Noir' - according to Ed Gorman, "David Goodis didn't write novels, he wrote suicide notes." Trundle over here for some readers' reviews of The Moon in the Gutter, and here for a look at Goodis' hardboiled Philadelphia ...

Christine Falls 'N' Rises 'N' Falls 'N' Rises ...

The reviews for John Banville's / Benjamin Black's Christine Falls have been mostly positive, which is nice, although we're loving Critical Mick's MP3 review, the gist of which runneth thusly: "These 390 pages required a long dark, damp, January month." Meanwhile, the New York Times is pernicketishly ambivalent: " ... it’s hard to dismiss what emerges as a particularly insidious strain of misogyny ... this is a story in which women die, seemingly a punishment not only for their sexuality but also for their gender." Crumbs! The burning question: why wasn't The Book of Evidence considered a crime novel? We demand a recount!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Angel Gets Her Wings: Susan Aldous Takes Off

They're churning 'em out thick 'n' fast over at Maverick House, the latest being The Angel of Bang Kwang Prison, by Susan Aldous, which is co-written by Dublin freelance writer Nicola Pierce. Aussie Aldous, a self-confessed hell-raiser in her youth, now devotes her time to the 'thousands of prisoners wasting away in Thailand's squalid prisons'. Which is nice ... Tap-dance across this, media-types, to arrange an interview with the author; the rest of you can jump here for an extract from the book.

Colin Bateman: The One-Man Industry Returneth

Colin Bateman's proposed opera (!), King Billy, has been shelved, albeit temporarily - "It ain't over till the fat bringer of our freedoms sings," claims Bateman on his rather tasty blog. So what's the idling waster been up to lately, then? Erm, writing scripts for the new Rebus series (after getting the green light from Rankin himself, no less) and publishing his latest opus, I Predict A Riot (right), due next month. Oh, and he's editing a new anthology of short stories (scroll down) from Blackstaff Press. The lazy bugger ... Whatever happened to the Protestant work ethic, eh?

Lost Classics # 2,091: Death Call, TS O'Rourke

As blunt and effective as the average anvil, TS O'Rourke's prose in Death Call was hardboiled, pickled and left out to dry under a post-apocalyptic sun. Set in London, where DS Dan Carroll and DC Samuel Grant shark a psychopath preying on prostitutes, the novel was in the vanguard of Irish crime fiction, albeit a little ahead of its time. "He has caught onto something which will stand him good stead in his following novels – how to gross-out the reader," reckoned one palpably unnerved reviewer, before awarding it five stars. Are we hereby instigating a campaign for it to be republished forthwith and post-haste? Yep, you betcha.

John Connolly: Pimp My Book Of Lost Things

In all the fuss surrounding the launch of The Unquiet, don't miss out on No Alibis' launch of a very special limited edition of John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things - a labour of love courtesy of Anne Anderson, Liam McLaughlin and Dave Torrans of No Alibis - that's bound in Chieftan goatskin, no less. For more info, contact Dave at david@noalibis.com. Meanwhile, jump over here for John's interview with The Independent on the release of the original.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"And This Year's Award For Gratuitous Use Of The Word 'Fuck' Goes To ... Jennifer Fucking Jordan!"

Courtesy of that fine crime blogging experience Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind comes the news that the anthology formerly known as Fuck Noir is to be relased in November by Bleak House Books as Expletive Deleted, with the ubiquitous Ken Bruen contributing a tale in homage to "that granddaddy of all cusswords; that most adaptable and descriptive grouping of letters; that searing, offensive, musical, perfect sound: fuck." Which is nice-ish ... The book is edited by Jennifer Jordan, sister of Jon, the editor of the rather brilliant Crime Spree magazine who was kind enough to say this this to say about your correspondent's Eight Ball Boogie when it came out all those light years ago. Sure isn’t that only lovely?

The Weekly Seamus Smyth Update: Some Streets Are Meaner Than Others

Yep, we managed to track down Irish crime fiction's JD Salinger last week ... the story with Quinn (a hardboiled lost classic, folks - think Paul Cain's Fast One transplanted to '90s Dublin) is that the publishers managed to screw up its potential (quelle surprise, eh?), which included no less than seven bona fide movie offers. "By turns exciting, intriguing and horrifying, the book never fails to keep you hooked," claims this reader's review (scroll down), which is only one reason why we're starting a campaign to get Quinn republished (see sidebar, right). Stay tuned for a Seamus Smyth Q&A and some kind of petition flummery in the weeks to come ...

'No Such Thing As Bad Publicity' Dept. # 3,019: The Torso In The Canal, John Mooney

So where were you when you first heard about the torso in the canal? The news that Kathleen Mulhall is to be brought back from Britain to face charges over the murder and dismemberment of Farah Swaleh Noor in 2005 reinforces the shocking content of John Mooney's bestselling non-fiction offering from Maverick House:
"The Torso in the Canal explores the circumstances surrounding the notorious killing and the effect it had on those involved. Based on exclusive interviews with relatives, friends and investigators, this comprehensive book reveals new information about the investigation and the backgrounds of both the killers, and their victim."

Jump here for an interview with John Mooney and here for an extract from the book ... Gerry Ryan liked it, but don't let that put you off.

Declan Hughes @ Rocky Sullivan's: How More Oirish Do You Need It To Be, Exactly?

HarperCollins are plugging the bejasus out of Declan Hughes' The Colour of Blood, and why not when he's the critics' darling du jour? New Yorkers can hear Declan's dulcet tones at Rocky Sullivan's at 129 Lexington Avenue @ 29th on Wednesday night. It's an 8pm kick-off, but we'd get there early if we were you ... this is one Buzz that's going stratospheric.

Beanz Meanz Classicz: 'Tis Beantown, Begorrah!



Whaddya mean, ya haven't seen Beantown yet? Bloody philistines ... "A blood-soaked chronicle of the final desperate gang war between Boston's Irish and Italian mobs," no less, with the Winter Hill mob, headed up by Sheep-Shaggin' Sean MacDoogle, going to war with the dastardly Eyeties, fronted by Sergio 'The Director' Leone. Actually, no, they're utterly serious ... check this for an interview with director Timothy Norman, and this for ZeroHour's proposed comic book prequel. Multi-media, people - it's the only way forward.

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down At The Station, Punk?" # 43: Ken Bruen

Yep, it's rubber-hose time, folks ... a rapid-fire pick-'n'-mix Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...
What crime novel would you like to have written?
The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Jason Starr.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Putting the end to my new stand-alone title, Once Were Cops.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
The End of the Line, KT McCaffrey.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
The Wrong King of Blood, Declan Hughes.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst, the continual self-doubt; best, meeting the readers.
Why does John Banville use a pseudonym for writing crime?
’Cos he’s a condescending wanker, like the rest of the Irish lit Mafia.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Brief, terse and challenging.

Ken Bruen's Cross is now available at all good book shops, but jump on this for regular news updates ...

Ordinary Decent Criminology: Martin Cahill's Daughter Has Her Say

We've had Brendan Gleeson (left) playing him, and Kevin Spacey, and Paul Williams has written a bestseller ... those tales about Ireland's much mythologised and romanticised Robin Hood just won't go away. Now a little birdie at New Island tells us that they've an intriguing release due this autumn ... Martin Cahill, My Father, by Francis Cahill, aka the General's daughter. At the very least, it should make for a testosterone-free take on The General in his labyrinth, no? Which will be nice ...

The Write Stuff: Critical Mick Wants To See Bleeding Fingers, People

The weekly carrier pigeon arrived from Critical Mick this morning, panting hotfoot-ish in a most unpigeonly fashion with news about the Writing Show's 'First Chapter of a Novel' writing contest. There's prizes galore for everyone who makes a submission, apparently, including a guaranteed 750-word critique of your work. "Tell the people!" roared Critical Mick, and when Critical Mick says 'Jump!', we mumble, 'Through exactly how many hoops, sir?" Hey, if you knew Critical Mick like we know Critical Mick ...

The Monday Review: Garbhan Downey, Take A Bow

Slim pickings in the weekend review sections for crime wibblings, folks: the Indo's Ian O'Doherty (what's the story, Indo-types - no link?) gave John Connolly's latest The Unquiet loads of elbow space but finished up with a Mr Garrison-ish 'Mmmmkay' verdict ("... another riveting read - although longtime fans may be rather disconcerted by the ending"), while Stephen Price enthuses about Richard Stark's Ask the Parrot in the Sunday Business Post ("Chandler it ain’t, but there is the same wry, fast-paced entertainment that’s to be had from just about anything Westlake turns out") before getting all pissy about the John Banville endorsement on the Irish edition. The big thumbs-up came from the Indo's Siobhan Cronin for Garbhan Downey's Running Mates ("Its rapid-fire pace, intriguing twists, high body count and brilliant dialogue make it a really exciting read, and a worthy addition to the ever-growing list of classy Irish crime novels"). Which is nice ... Jump here for an audio interview with Garbhan that includes him reading some excerpts from Running Mates and his upcomer, Across the Line.

Irish Crime Classics # 247: Nun More Deadly, Part 1



"Hard boiled crime novelist Raymond Chandler spent his childhood summers in Waterford City.

"It was the setting for a novel he planned to write shortly before his death in 1959.

"It was never written ..."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Irish Crime Classics # 247: Nun More Deadly, Part 2



"Can’t a man take a vacation without having to wade through the darker recesses of the human condition? I just wanted to sleep ..." A cracking 13-minute Chandler homage courtesy of the WYD-Eye Film Unit from 2005 (tongue in cheek optional), written by Rodney Lee and directed by David O'Sullivan, Nun More Deadly hustled itself a veritable bushel of awards, including Best Irish Short at the Cork International Film Festival, Best Fiction at the Sligo Short Film Festival and the Tiernan MacBride Award for Best Irish Short at the Galway Film Fleadh. Someone give those guys a proper budget, fer Chrissakes ...