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?
Quite a few … damn near anything by Ross Macdonald, Loren Estleman or Elmore Leonard … but if I had to pick one I’d probably say THE MALTESE FALCON, if only because I’d want to be able to say that Sydney Greenstreet starred as one of my characters in the movie adaptation … even the way they shot him in that film, the camera down low and him looking gigantic, was pure genius.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Comic books, pulp adventures from the thirties, old issues of Spy Magazine.
Most satisfying writing moment?
When I figure out the ending, usually halfway through the manuscript.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
It’s a high bar, isn’t it? That other Declan, the lovable reprobate Declan Hughes, he wrote a kick-ass novel in THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD. And Ken Bruen writes like a poet — THE MAGDALENE MARTYRS is one of my favourites. Adrian McKinty, I lost count of how many times I recommended DEAD I WELL MAY BE. But since I’m talkin’ to you and I’m not above kissing ass, I’ve no problem saying THE BIG O is a work of pure genius. The sheer unbridled mayhem of it appeals to my world view, sort of a cross between Hiaasen, Guy Ritchie (before he started banging Madonna and got artistically distracted) and Raymond Chandler on meth.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Those listed above, no doubt. Ken’s stuff is almost written like a screenplay, very spare, totally character-driven.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst … deadlines. The need for discipline. My inability to type without looking at the keys. Best …The channelling of the characters into dialogue on the page. Having it done, then reading it as if someone else wrote it. Getting fan mail from folks who loved escaping into your twisted corner of the world and can’t wait to go back.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Elmore Leonard writing an Agatha Christie novel while drinking tequila.
Who are you reading right now?
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
First I’d call Him a prick for forcing such a choice on a man, then I’d probably say … I’d probably say … fuck, I’d probably say read, then when He wasn’t looking I’d burn something to make charcoal so I could use it to write while He slept.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Unapologetic. Visceral. Mayhem.
Tim Maleeny’s GREASING THE PINATA will be published in December.
“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.