“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.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Future Is Bright, The Future Is THE BLUE ORANGE

A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: It’s been a week of minor landmarks, people, what with Crime Always Pays being nominated for Best Specialist Blog at the Irish Blog Awards just as the witless witterings of the elves propelled the blog past the humble figure of 40,000 page impressions since it kicked off in April, 2007. The Grand Vizier also acquired a new editor at Harcourt, the very well spoken of Thomas Bouman, and finished the latest draft of the sequel to THE BIG O, which is currently labouring under the unlikely working title of THE BLUE ORANGE.
  It’s a time of taking stock at CAP Towers, then, and not least because the Grand Vizier and Mrs Vizier (right) are due to be delivered Baby Vizier in roughly three weeks time. Which means that we’re all feeling unduly optimistic about life in general here at Crime Always Pays. We’re feeling mostly pleased about the current draft of THE BLUE ORANGE, which is an unusual state of affairs at Chez Vizier. We’re disappointed Stacia Decker has left Harcourt, naturally, but we’re very much looking forward to working with Thomas Bouman. We’re also looking forward to proving wrong Sarah Weinman’s gloomy prognosis for the writers Stacia signed to Harcourt, on the basis that the novels we’ve read of Allan Guthrie, Ray Banks and John McFetridge are top class examples of modern crime fiction (we’ve yet to read James Sallis, but according to a Ken Bruen-shaped birdie, “With Jim Sallis, CYPRUS GROVE is a masterpiece and his Lou Griffin series is awesome, not to even mention his biography of Chester Himes.”). We’re also pretty sure, given her unstinting support for crime and mystery fiction, that no one will be happier to see Sarah Weinman proved wrong than Sarah herself.
  So where to now? With the Grand Vizier in unusually honest mode, he has pronounced himself entirely unsure. To date THE BIG O has been a grand adventure, going from its humble beginnings as a co-published novel with the tiny but perfectly formed Irish publisher Hag’s Head Press, under the guiding hand of Marsha Swan, to Harcourt making real the Grand Vizier’s life-long dream, that of having a book published in the U.S., the spiritual home of hardboiled crime. Which is wonderful in itself, but as Lou Reed once croaked, a baby is the beginning of a great adventure. Will writing even matter as much when Baby Vizier arrives? Will it matter at all? Is it possible that the Grand Vizier will come to resent his compulsion to write on the basis that it will eat into the time he can spend with Baby Vizier? Only time, that notoriously doity rat, will tell …
  One thing we do know is that the Grand Vizier will not be spending as much time at CAP Towers as of yore. So the elves would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to all crime writers, their agents and publicists to take advantage of all that potential blank space by forwarding suggestions for guest blogging posts to the Minister for Propaganda Elf, c/o dbrodb(at)gmail.com, putting ‘I can do better than that rubbish’ in the subject line (Crime Always Pays offers precisely three molecules of publicity oxygen, but hey, we can’t all be The Rap Sheet).
  Finally, we’d like to offer a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has played their part in bringing us to this point, and we sincerely hope you stay on board to ride the train all the way to the end of the line. Oh, and apologies for all the sentimental guff – normal service will be resumed forthwith. The future, after all, is blue-ish orange …