Ouch! How hardboiled can you get? EIGHTBALL BOOGIE by Declan Burke bounced me straight across the Atlantic and back again. If there hadn’t been the odd reference to things Irish, I wouldn’t have believed it could be anything but American.You heard the Book Witch, people – fly, my pretties! Fly!
For two days now I’ve had an Irish Humphrey Bogart swanning around inside my head, double-crossing and getting double-crossed. I’m exhausted by the beatings and the gunshot wounds, to the extent that I believe I’ve been at the receiving end of them myself. And I’ve felt the cold, and I’ve panicked slightly over being late for Father Christmas.
By the way, what exactly is it that’s hardboiled in hardboiled fiction? Eggs? I’ve only just started wondering about this, and realised my ignorance.
Declan is very good with language. I’d be more concerned about him overdoing it, if I hadn’t been a regular reader of his blog, which has accustomed me to his clever and witty way of expressing more or less everything. “One eye tied behind his back,” indeed!
The plot is pure Mills & Boon, if you know what I mean. It’s a case of you get what you want and expect, and it’s perfect. It’s an intricate web of drugs and politics and, as previously mentioned, lots of double-crossing. In fact, I completely lost the plot, amongst all the turns here and there.
Daughter walked past and pointed out the f-word at the bottom of page 211, as it caught her eye, but I replied that it pops up around twenty times per page, so was nothing to get excited about.
This is a great first book, which has been out a few years now. Declan’s second book, THE BIG O, was published last year. So, some lucky readers have both to look forward to. Go out and buy. - Book Witch
“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. “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, February 16, 2008
Yessir, We Can Boogie: The Mills & Boon Years
Ah, the Book Witch (not pictured, right) – if she was just to give us a pair of magic red shoes, we’d be back in Kansas in no time. Failing that, however, we’ll just have to make do with her review of our humble offering EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, in which she compares us to Mills & Boon. Favourably, as it happens. To wit: