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?
Probably Chandler’s THE LONG GOODBYE. It’s hardly a crime novel at all, but a real exploration of friendship, lost love, and what it means to have a dark heart.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Anybody other than Jack Taylor.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
None of my reading is a guilty pleasure. I’m proud of it all, even the crap. I read everything, from crime to westerns to horror to mainstream to male adventure stuff like The Destroyer and Ninja Master series. I like old novels and series based on television shows and films. None of it makes me feel guilty so long as I enjoy it, because it all goes into the stew of my own writing.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Nothing beats selling your first novel. A close second was when Dean Koontz said he liked my writing. When one of the world’s bestselling authors says he digs your work, you stand a little straighter.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Possibly Ken Bruen’s AMERICAN SKIN. Dark as hell in intent and mood, with a lush Irish atmosphere made even more prevalent because it’s transposed to a dusty area of America.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I’d love to see Declan Hughes’ BLOOD series turned into films. They’re truly gripping stories, but more than that there’s something inherently disturbing and even creepy about them. How the crimes involved are always so connected by family and history and working class neighborhoods. I think they’d really do well on film.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
No health insurance or real stability/getting to sleep until noon & being your own boss & not having to deal with rush hour traffic
The pitch for your next book is …?
THE COLD SPOT, due out from Bantam in April, is about a young car thief who splits from his brutal career criminal grandfather, goes straight, finds happiness, and then years later when tragedy strikes has to get back in touch with the old man on a mission of vengeance. The novel after that is SHADOW SEASON, which I’m currently working on, is about an ex-cop now blind school teacher at an isolated girls’ school who has to take care of some unfinished business with some bad guys who show up one day.
Who are you reading right now?
Michael Marshall’s THE INTRUDERS.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
God appears every Saturday night after a few Jamesons, and he’s never said that to me yet. I think you’re just baiting me now.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Fuck that, I’m a writer. You think I’m going to describe my own work and process in three measly words, or even try. You’ve got the wrong boy. Just read them, then you can pick and choose your own descriptions, folks.
Tom Piccirilli’s THE COLD SPOT will be published in April
“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.