“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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A GONZO NOIR: Reed All About It, Etc.

I’ve mentioned the Holden Caulfield impulse before on these pages, the Holden Caulfield impulse being the one where Holden says that sometimes when you finish a book you’d like to be able to call up the author and tell him what a great book it was. Thanks to the interweb, I’ve been able to act on that impulse a couple of times over the last few years. One of those times was shortly after I read Reed Farrel Coleman’s (right) THE JAMES DEANS, which I read in one sitting out on a balcony on a rainy day in Croatia while my beloved went shopping: just me, coffee, cigarettes and Moe Prager. A damn fine day it was too, rain or no rain. Anyway, I dropped Reed Farrel Coleman a line to tell him how brilliant I thought the book was, and one thing led to another, and he ended up writing me a very generous blurb for THE BIG O. Which was nice.
  What was nicer was, at last year’s Bouchercon in Baltimore, I was at the bar with John McFetridge when I spotted Reed Coleman. “Hold on,” says I, “there’s Reed Coleman. I need to buy that man a drink.” Except Reed Farrel Coleman went, “No, man – I’m buying you a drink.”
  As Holden Caulfield might say, albeit without the sarcasm, the man’s a goddamn prince.
  All of which is a long-winded preamble to saying that Reed Farrel Coleman has been kind enough to blurb A GONZO NOIR. To wit:
“Stop waiting for Godot – he’s here. Declan Burke takes the existential dilemma of characters writing themselves and turns it on its ear and then some. He gives it body and soul … an Irish soul. If you want to think while you’re being entertained, read this book.” – Reed Farrel Coleman, two-time Shamus Award-winning author of EMPTY EVER AFTER
  Like I say, the man’s a gent …
  In one of those lovely twists of fate the universe offers up once in a while, the aforementioned John ‘Fetch’ McFetridge (right) chipped in with his two cents early the following morning. As with Adrian McKinty, the man’s a mate, a good bloke and a terrific writer, and not necessarily in that order. Anyway, quoth John:
“In this era of formulaic, pre-fab, test-marketed, focus-grouped, pre-packaged, no-risk sequels, remakes and the same-old same-old all over again, A GONZO NOIR is shockingly original and completely entertaining. Post-modern crime fiction at its very best.” – John McFetridge, author of EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE
  Two things I’m liking about the reactions to A GONZO NOIR. Well, three, given that I’m chuffed people seem to like it, obviously. But one thing I do like is how quickly the reactions are coming back, given that the manuscripts only went out about 10 days ago; and another thing is that the people who’ve been so generous already, namely Ken Bruen and Adrian McKinty, and now Reed Farrel Coleman and John McFetridge, are writers who don’t stand to benefit anything by doing so. I’ve raised the spectre of log-rolling already, but I’m only flattering myself when I do that – these guys have nothing to gain by lending me a hand, because a bottom-feeder like me is no position to return the log-roll favour. I can write about them on Crime Always Pays, of course, but that amounts to about three molecules of publicity oxygen …
  Anyway, you can analyse these things too closely. The bottom line is that terrific writers seem to like the book, and that they’re prepared to say so. All hopes of publication and / or earning nappy vouchers aside, that kind of reaction is priceless …

2 comments:

Dana King said...

I can think of two explanations for the quickness with which you're getting back the blurbs, both of which are probably accurate:

1. Those are genuinely nice and conscientious people you're dealing with, aside from their writing talent. I know John McFetridge a little personally, and have corresponded with Asrian McKinty. Both are genuinely nice guys. I don't know Coleman and Bruen aside from their work, but I've heard enough about both of them to assume the same.

2. You're also a kick ass writer, and this is likely a kick ass book. The Big O certainly was.

I'm looking forward to seeing Gonzo in print.

Declan Burke said...

Appreciate the shout-out, Dana ... much obliged. And yeah, that's the nice bonus about these guys ... they're good blokes as well as terrific writers.

Cheers, Dec