Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Blue Jays, The Dodgers And Me

A little post-Bouchercon housekeeping folks, starting with a thank-you-kindly-ma’am to Laurie McFetridge for co-hosting yours truly in Toronto, and for buying some beautiful gifts for Lilyput – although I’m really not sure if I should let the little girl in for a lifetime of pain by dressing her in a Blue Jays romper suit. If I was that way inclined, I’d just go out and get her a Sligo Rovers strip. Still, wouldn’t you love to see the Blue Jays take to the ice in a fetching shade of pink? Hmmmm …
  Anyhoos, it behoves me to flag up the Irish contingent at Baltimore’s Bouchercon, all of whom seemed to be nominated for one award or other. Excepting, of course, yours truly. Dec Hughes lost out in the Shamus category, although there’s no shame there given that the winner was Reed Farrel Coleman’s SOUL PATCH. The first I heard of it was in the bar, when Reed says, “Hey, looks like they’ll have to change the blurb on your book to ‘Two-time Shamus winner Reed Farrel Coleman’.” Nice. Naturally, he was taking the piss out of himself, for which he appears to have a singular talent. During his panel on Saturday morning, he spoke movingly about the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn the year after he was born, and how it was like a still-birth the community knew was coming. For years Brooklyn was in mourning, and Reed always thought the place was depressed because he was born. When he was old enough to know better, he was delighted to discover it was because the Dodgers left. “Yeah,” his dad said, “that too.”
  But I digress. A big CAP shout-out to Tana French, whose unstoppable IN THE WOODS bagged not one but two awards, for Barry First Novel and Macavity Best First Mystery. And she didn’t even turn up! Hell, I was there all weekend and I couldn’t even win an argument with the homeless guy who slept on the bench across the street … John Connolly, meanwhile, took home the Crime Spree Favourite Book of 2007 award, the good folk behind Crime Spree – the Jordan mob – being this year’s Bouchercon organisers, and a terrific job they did too. Three cheers, two stools and a resounding huzzah for Ruth, Jon and Jen …
  As for the rest of the Irish contingent: Ken Bruen was there, stately in his majesty as he was squired about the place attended by a retinue like the last incarnation of an ancient sun king. Nice work if you can get it, etc. There was also quite a bit of talk about Irish writers who were absent, including Seamus Smith, whose RED DOCK has been picked up by a high-profile publisher; Stuart Neville, whose 2009 debut GHOSTS OF BELFAST was being spoken of in hushed tones as ‘unputdownable’; Colin Bateman, who will be dragged kicking and screaming to the next Bouchercon if Jon Jordan has his way; Brian McGilloway, whose BORDERLANDS was getting approving nods and murmurs every time it was mentioned; Gene Kerrigan, whose gritty realism might well be getting a Stateside outing if a certain editor has his way; and Adrian McKinty, whose DEAD I WELL MAY BE was described to me by an editor as ‘the best American novel in the last five years’ – the editor wasn’t McKinty’s, incidentally – and whose FIFTY GRAND is generating quite a bit of anticipation over at Holt.
  As for yours truly and THE BIG O – well, let’s just take the Olympic view and say that it’s the taking part that counts, not the winning. Or the being noticed much. Or the being noticed at all. Still, it can’t be Mills & Boon every day, right?