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?
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
“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.