“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.

Friday, June 6, 2008

“No, I’M Donald Westlake, And My Wife Is Too.”

A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: “The Grand Vizier would have it be known that he is abandoning his beautiful wife and child, Mrs Grand Viz and the Princess Lilyput (right), the heartless bugger. A temporary measure, the separation will nonetheless last the entire weekend, the duration of which the Grand Viz will spend in the Gomorrah-style flesh-pit of Bristol at the Crime Fest with all the other heartless buggers who have abandoned their families for the sake of crime fiction.
  “Once there, of course, all those wonderful writers, bloggers, readers, editors, publishers and publicists the Grand Viz has met through Crime Always Pays will very quickly realise that dropping by the blog to catch up for five minutes on a daily basis is really as much as any sentient human being can stick of him. Still, it can’t be Mills and Boon every day, right?
  “Anyhoo, given that the Grand Viz will be away, the elves will party hearty all weekend, turning CAP Towers into a Bond villain’s lair stocked to the rafters with supermodels with a PhD in titillation. Belly-dancing dwarves, nose-ning, sequins and a large vat of our Patented Elf-Wonking Juice™ are also likely to feature heavily.
  “As a result, the Crime Always Pays blog will only be updated in the very unlikely event that the Grand Viz comes first in the Last Laugh Award by means other than (a) foul or (b) alphabetical. To wit:
The Last Laugh Award nominees:
Declan Burke, THE BIG O (Hag’s Head Press)
Ruth Dudley Edwards, MURDERING AMERICANS (Poisoned Pen Press UK)
Chris Ewan, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM (Long Barn Books)
Alan Guthrie, HARD MAN (Polygon)
Deanna Raybourn, SILENT IN THE GRAVE (MIRA Books)
Mike Ripley, ANGEL’S SHARE (Alison & Busby)
L. C. Tyler, THE HERRING SELLER’S APPRENTICE (Macmillan New Writing)
Donald Westlake, WHAT’S SO FUNNY? (Quercus)
  “Of course, once it’s announced that Donald Westlake won’t be turning up to collect his gong in person, who’s to say who did what to who and how in the ensuing stampede to the podium to swipe his award? Dignity schmignity, eh?
  “And now, if you don’t mind, I have a small tumbler of Patented Elf-Wonking Juice™ awaiting my tender ministrations. Peace, out.”