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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

THE TWELVE: This One Goes Up To Eleven

Being the ornery kind of cynic who tends to assume that a book’s quality declines in inverse proportion to the amount of hype it generates (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO being a case in point for yours truly), I’m delighted to say that, having just finished Stuart Neville’s THE TWELVE, it’s everything it’s cracked up to be. Which is terrific, not least because I know Stuart, and it’d have been embarrassing if it wasn’t. But – huzzah! – it delivers in spades, right from page one. A tale of an ex-paramilitary killer bedevilled by the ghosts of his victims, it’s a timely offering, a superb revenge thriller that is as tender in parts as it is brutal, and a courageously genre-bending story in the way it deploys supernatural elements. No wonder John Connolly loved it. James Ellroy was impressed too, as was Ken Bruen (see vid below for details).
  What’s a little scary for yours truly – this with my writer’s pork-pie on – is the extent to which Irish writers have stepped up a gear in 2009. We’ve already had Declan Hughes’ finest novel to date, in ALL THE DEAD VOICES (not bad going, when you consider his previous novel, THE PRICE OF BLOOD, is up for an Edgar Best Novel), Gene Kerrigan’s superb DARK TIMES IN THE CITY, Colin Bateman’s funniest novel in years, MYSTERY MAN, Adrian McKinty’s excellent FIFTY GRAND, and Alan Glynn’s forthcoming WINTERLAND, which is tremendous. Ken Bruen’s collaboration with Reed Farrel Coleman, TOWER (due in September) is a whole new departure, and we still have to get a sniff of John Connolly’s THE LOVERS. Brian McGilloway has delivered his best to date with BLEED A RIVER DEEP, and Tana French, Arlene Hunt and Alex Barclay are currently beavering away on their latest projects.
  Maybe 2009 will be seen as an annus mirabilis for Irish crime writing, but somehow I don’t think so – at least half of the writers mentioned above are relatively new to the game, and are still on their second, third or fourth novels. Exciting times, people. Very exciting times …
  Meanwhile, the vid below is the book-trailer for Stuart Neville’s THE TWELVE. Roll it there, Collette …