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?
THE MALTESE FALCON.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
The crime novels of the ’30s and ’40s – anything by Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. And from the ’60s, John D. McDonald. I love the characterizations and the breezy entertaining quality of these works.
Most satisfying writing moment?
When COMPELLING EVIDENCE, my second novel, became the object of a bidding war between the Book of the Month Club and The Literary Guild. This served as the first confirmation that I had arrived as a writer.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
While I love Irish humour I am sorry to say that I don’t think I have ever read a genuine Irish crime novel unless THE GLASS KEY and RED HARVEST qualify. They were after all the basis for the film Miller’s Crossing, and if that ain’t fictional Irish crime, nothing is.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worse thing about being a writer is that you are never finished. The best thing for me is that I am most content it seems when I am writing. So figure that out.
The pitch for your next book is …?
It is likely to have a certain Latin flair as it will have scenes set in Central and South America, though the trial, as always in my Paul Madriani novels, will take place in Southern California. Who are you reading right now?
Joseph Ellis – AMERICAN SPHINX. Sorry to say I don’t read the genre in which I write in as that presents the dangerous spectre of having your voice mutate to that of another author.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I would have to go to Hell to see what the devil allows.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Painful (as I am never finished polishing the prose), Therapeutic (as I have always found a certain quality of peace in pounding on a keyboard), and Never-ending (except, as Jefferson said, “by the all-healing grave”).
Steve Martini’s latest novel, SHADOW OF POWER, will be published on May 27 by William Morrow.
“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.