“Busted flat in Baton Rouge / Headed for the train / Feeling nearly faded as my jeans …” Bobby McCue (right, in back behind Sarah Chen, Michael Haskins and Linda Brown) of The Mystery Bookstore in LA does our humble offering THE BIG O proud, choosing it as his ‘other favourite’ in this month’s Mystery Bookstore newsletter, with the gist running thusly: “Another Irish writer new to American readers, Declan Burke is drawing comparisons to Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen.” Which is nice.
Mind you, it’d be even nicer if THE BIG O was his actual favourite, rather than his ‘other’ favourite. His actual favourite? Brian McGilloway’s “terrific debut”, BORDERLANDS. Which would be a stone-cold bummer if yon McGilloway wasn’t as nice a bloke as you could meet. But he is, so it’s not. Brian? Tell Tanya we were asking for her.
Anyhoos, it’s three cheers, two stools and a resounding huzzah for Bobby McCue. All together now: “Feeling good was easy, Lord / When Bobby sang the blues / And feeling good was good enough for me / Good enough for me and Bobby McCue …”
“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.