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?
Difficult. Toss-up between Ellroy’s WHITE JAZZ and Philip Kerr’s A PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATION (I only wish I had the nerve to have a serial killer called Wittgenstein).
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Sherlock H. Rude, brilliant, stoned and nifty with his fists.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
P D James. Don’t agree with her politics and can’t stand the lengthy descriptions, but she gets to the meat of things for all her Golden Age credentials.
Most satisfying writing moment?
If you mean literally writing, it would be nailing the death-bed vision of old Maro in A DEEPER SHADE OF BLUE (soon to be republished as CRYING BLUE MURDER) - after about fifty attempts. If you mean more generally, I’d have to say winning the Sherlock Award (see above) for THE LAST RED DEATH - a novel I literally nearly died writing (thanks to cancer).
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Do you mean written by an Irish person or set in Ireland? If the former, John Connolly’s THE KILLING KIND. The latter, Declan Hughes’s THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD. (They’re two of a ‘kind’...)
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst - the first sentence every day. Best - the unexpected appearance of a deeply sneaky plot twist or such like from the subconscious.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Nazis, Satanists and the FBI - who are the scariest of them all?
Who are you reading right now?
Declan Burke (no, really...)
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
If he was paying me for it, read - much easier.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Ideas above (his) station (quote J Connolly).
Paul Johnston’s THE SOUL COLLECTOR has just been published by Mira Books.
“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.