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?
For the royalties, THE DA VINCI CODE! Other than that, I would love to have written CASINO ROYALE (and the rest). And I would kill for even a fraction of Elmore Leonard’s stylistic chops. The man is a genius of prose.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Trashy erotic fiction ... ’nuff said!
Most satisfying writing moment?
The last few chapters of THE ACCIDENT MAN. I threw away everything I had planned and just let the book write itself. It was incredibly exciting, because I really had no idea what was going to happen next, but I absolutely felt like it was rocking. At the end, I looked back at 15,000 words of incredibly intense psychological trauma, physical violence, sexual passion and even quiet melancholy, and thought, ‘Where the hell did THAT come from?’
The best Irish crime novel is …?
ULYSSES, particularly the car-chase sequence.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
DARKHOUSE, though none of the actresses in it could possibly be as hot as its author Alex Barclay!
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Apart from the insecurity, the grief when the advance runs out and you still haven’t finished, and the fact that you don’t get stadiums filled with screaming, worshipping fans the way rock stars do ... The worst thing is the sheer mental grief of fighting your way through a book, when it seems determined to beat you into a feeble, bleeding pulp. The best thing is working from home, not having to wash, shave or dress in proper clothes, and those rare, wonderful times (see above) when it all suddenly just clicks. That, and pressing ‘send’ on the finished manuscript.
The pitch for your next novel is …?
Insanely complicated! But it’s based on three things that actually happened in late ’97, early ‘98 – the period immediately after the end of THE ACCIDENT MAN. To wit … A Russian general, Alexander Lebed, announced that his country had lost 100 suitcase nukes. Osama bin-Laden issued the fatwa declaring war on Zionists and Crusaders. The FBI began an investigation into Christian fundamentalist groups who might try to bring about the End of Days. So it’s that, plus my man Samuel Carver, his fragile mental state, and his ongoing girl-trouble ...
Who are you reading right now?
Re-reading Flashman – again – in memory of the recently deceased George MacDonald Fraser.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
‘Bloody ... hard ... Work.’ For me, that is. ‘Easy ... to ... Read.’ For everyone else. I hope.
Tom Cain’s THE ACCIDENT MAN is available now.
“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.