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?
Just one of James Patterson’s, obviously! No, maybe THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS by John Buchan, or Sherlock Holmes ... something that changed things. Too many of today’s crime novels are exactly the same, and if you read them blind … sorry, that’s not possible, unless they’re in Braille, or they’re audio books ... sorry ... you wouldn’t have a clue who wrote them.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
The guy out of ‘Death Wish’. I’m not a man of action at all, I’m a huffer, and I’ll bear a grudge forever. But one day I’ll be pushed too far.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Not who, but what: like many middle-aged men who’ve never fired a shot in anger, except at football, I’m quite fascinated by World War 2, the sheer scale of it and the bravery. I mean – Stalingrad! I would have retreated to Berlin at the first sign of rain.
Most satisfying writing moment?
Never satisfied! I don’t enjoy whatever success that comes along as much as I should. It may just be me or it may be a writerly thing. Maybe JK Rowling sits and worries about her sales in Moldova. But obviously the first book coming out, it really did change my life. And if I’m very lucky, once in every book, I’ll laugh out loud and say that really is funny.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Modesty forbids. (DIVORCING JACK – Ed.)
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Well, not that modest …
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst is that you never quite switch off. Except maybe on the five-a-side field. And the inability to enjoy a book or movie without thinking I could do better than that, or I’ll never be as good as that, or examining it with a professional eye. They say in Hollywood, apparently, that nobody ever came out of a movie going, ‘Wow, it came in under budget!’ But I do sometimes! You can know too much about things these days, the innocent pleasures are gone. Best – being able to do this for a living. Making stuff up! The nice things people say. People tend not to cross the street to call you an idiot. And the satisfaction of a plot coming together in the last couple of chapters, even though you’ve worked none of it out in advance.
The pitch for your next book is …?
Modern dance, Nazis, allergies, bodies, sex. Then on to Chapter Two ...
Who are you reading right now?
I read surprisingly little fiction, but I’m currently enjoying a proof of Stuart Neville’s THE TWELVE.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I would ask him why, and then demand to know what he’s going to do about the refugee camps in Sudan and Liverpool’s crumbling title challenge.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Profound. Nuanced. Not.
Bateman’s MYSTERY MAN will be published on April 30th
“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.