“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.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Gene Kerrigan

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?

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. And I know Cormac McCarthy has been called America’s greatest living writer, but I’d still have the impertinence to fix the ending.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
God.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Every now and then I buy the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine – in the hope it’ll be as good as it was when I was a teenager. It never is.

Most satisfying writing moment?
When the book is done and it’s time to cut, re-write and fix it up.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
HAVOC, IN ITS THIRD YEAR by Ronan Bennett. I know it’s set in seventeenth century England, and features an English coroner/detective – but Bennett is Irish and the accused is an Irish peasant, Katherine Shay, so it qualifies. It works as a crime mystery, it works as history and as a parable about the dangers of a New World Order. The tension is relentless and it’s superbly written.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
HAVOC, IN ITS THIRD YEAR – hasn’t anyone sent a copy to the Coen Brothers yet?

Worst/best thing about being a writer?
There is no worst. Best – the moment you go back to the top of the page and start reading, and you find something worked better than you thought it did.

The pitch for your next book is …?
As the Celtic Tiger begins to crumble, two men walk into a Dublin pub, carrying guns. An everyday tale of entrepreneurial gangsters and revenge.

Who are you reading right now?
I read the first two Omar Yussef novels by Matt Rees last year, and I’m into the third at the moment. On one level it’s the old amateur sleuth gig, but set in the modern day Middle East. A decent old Palestinian tries to uphold the eternal values amid the gunmen – whether Palestinian or Israeli – who cheapen life.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?

I couldn’t live without reading. I couldn’t make a living without writing. I’d tell him to go find something constructive to do. And there’s no shortage of things need doing, God knows.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Tense, unpredictable, plausible. At least, that’s the general intention.

Gene Kerrigan’s DARK TIMES IN THE CITY is published by Harvill Secker

5 comments:

adrian mckinty said...

I would have asked is that a bold 70's style tache or just a shadow?

critical mick said...

What evil lurks beneath the noses of men.....

I'm picking me up a copy of DTITC tomorrow and it's marching to the top of my TBR stack, carrying guns. Kerrigan's earlier novel, TMC, ranks within my all-time top three faves of Irish crime.

Declan Burke said...

I thought Little Criminals and Midnight Choir were terrific, Mick, but I think Dark Times ... is a step up onto another level. Really hoping it's his break-out book ...

Adrian? My wife and I have a 'no unnecessary and/or facetious facial hair comments' policy on this here manor ...

Cheers,

Dec

Matt Beynon Rees said...

hi Declan,
I'm delighted Gene's enjoying my novels. I met him last year at a crime novel conference in France. He was one of the most delightfully self-effacing, charming men I've met. As an experienced investigative journalist I think he gives his novels the kind of gritty veracity that I love in a crime novel. His Midnight Choir is one of my favourite reads for some years (and I notice that Clive James praised it in The New Yorker, no less). I'm looking forward to his new one. As for the facial hair, well, I've still got my sideburns from the early 1990s, so I wouldn't crucify Gene for the mustache. Matt Rees

Declan Burke said...

Matt - Gene's latest is his finest, I think ... it really is terrific stuff. If you wander back this way again, drop me a line at dbrodb(at)gmail.com, if you fancy doing a Q&A for the blog ...

Cheers, Dec