“Can you say funky? Can you say funky and Irish in the same sentence, is that legal? Is it possible? … THE BIG O is a fine, fun and altogether funky read. Take one part Ruthless People, add one part Fargo, mix with three parts black Irish humour, and you’ll still need author Declan Burke's storytelling skills to get it all properly shook up.”Thanking you kindly, Corey, you’ve been a wonderful audience. Meanwhile, Thursday night’s PEN gig was terrific fun. I met up with the luscious Alex Barclay beforehand for a bite to eat, and we had a very serious conversation about art, the craft of writing, and crime fiction’s place in the pantheon of literature. Koff. Anyhoos, the convivial atmosphere was rudely punctured by yours truly asking, “So listen, you know where the PEN gig is happening, right?”
Erm, wrong. But we’ll draw a discreet veil over the sight of two authors who write about detectives and investigators and whatnot running up and down the length of Fitzwilliam Street in search of the United Arts club, and particularly the bit where a taxi-driver was asked for directions outside said club, this about twenty minutes before we actually found the place.
Happily, the PEN folk were kindness personified, and the third member of the panel, Niamh O’Connor (right) had the good grace not to mention our tardiness. There was a terrific turn-out, and the event – once the malfunctioning microphones were dispensed with – was great fun. Not that I had a lot to do with it, naturally. Most of the Q&A queries were directed towards Alex and Niamh, and especially Niamh.
An unfeasibly glamorous crime reporter with the Sunday World, Niamh also writes crime non-fiction, her most recent outing the tale of Sharon Collins, aka ‘Lyin’ Eyes’, the woman who contacted a hitman-for-hire website in a bid to have her lover and his two sons murdered so that she could scoop his €60 million fortune. Actually, the story sounds like a lurid novel – said lover has done his best to have Collins’s name cleared, despite the overwhelming evidence. Clickety-click here for a TV3 interview in which Niamh chats about the case and her book. It’s a fascinating tale, so much so that, if she’d written it as fiction, it’d have been laughed out of town …