“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, May 28, 2009

Great Scott; and, A Cannes-Do Attitude

I’ve mentioned before in these pages that I’m a fan of Scott Phillips (right), and that THE ICE HARVEST was one of the finest books I read last year, of any type or stripe. Anyway, Scott was one of the writers I picked (on) to send a manuscript of The Novel Formerly Known As A GONZO NOIR (we’re calling it BAD FOR GOOD from here on in), and he got back to me yesterday with this:
“BAD FOR GOOD is a harrowing and yet hilarious examination of the gradual disintegration of a writer’s personality, as well as a damned fine noir novel about an evil hospital orderly and his even more evil twin orderly. Burke has outdone himself this time; it’s a hell of a read.” – Scott Phillips, author of THE ICE HARVEST
  Which is all kinds of nice. But then, after meeting him at the Baltimore Bouchercon, Scott Phillips was all kinds of nice too. I picked up a copy of his COTTONWOOD in a second-hand bookshop last week, it being impossible to get first-hand here in Ireland, and I’ve tucked it away with two or three others for my holiday reading next month. Because you know how it is – with space and time so short, you don’t want to bring any dud books on holidays, you want to know the books you have with you will deliver …
  Anyway, the story with TNFKAAGN / BFG is that it went out to some publishers late last week, so if you have any spare chickens lying around, and a predilection for the occasional outbreak of voodoo, this would be a good time to start sacrificing livestock and rattling dem bones and whatnot …
  In other news, I received a rather intriguing text message last Sunday morning, which ran in its entirety thusly: “Hi Declan. In Cannes reading books and scripts. Loving THE BIG O. Who has the film rights? You?”
  Now that’s what I call a Cannes-do attitude. And then I awoke from a feverish dream and … Actually, no. I really did get that message. All the way from Cannes. I know the guy – obviously, or he wouldn’t have my phone number – but he really is a commissioning editor with a film production company. Which is nice.
  Incidentally, I’m sure other writers get the kind of vibe that runs along the lines of, “Hey, I read your book, it was really cinematic.” Like the biggest compliment you can pay a book is that it reads like a movie. I usually say, “I know, I wrote it that way.” And they go, “Really?” And you think, God, why wasn’t I born with a sick compulsion to stack supermarket shelves instead?

11 comments:

Josephine Damian said...

Dec: Love the new title. Fingers crossed and knives sharpened as I chase the chicken (sounds a bit naughty, doesn't it?)

How long before Stuart has some film news? Rumor has it there's a script in the works already.

le0pard13 said...

And you think, God, why wasn’t I born with a sick compulsion to stack supermarket shelves instead?
I've stacked shelves in my early life... and it's over-rated. Besides, those that stack expertly, don't write as well as you. Cheers.

Corey Wilde said...

You don't have to have a compulsion to stack supermarket shelves. Just do it for a week or two, see what happens. Look what it did for Kurt Warner...

Dana King said...

Double good news, Squire. Congratulations. The Big O would amke a fine movie. Sorry if this is American-centric, but I can see Steve Buscemi as Rossi. Maybe Clive owen as Ray?

I finally got around to reading The Ice Harvest a few months ago, and kicked myself for a week for not having got to it sooner. A real treat.

Declan Burke said...

Folks, I've stacked plenty of shelves in my time ... Just one of those jobs, I don't mean any disrespect to anyone who stacks shelves for a living, but it nearly drove me insane. Same goes for making rubber mats, pumping petrol, working on building sites ... hey, most proper jobs are crap, aren't they?

Declan Burke said...

Josephine - is chasing chickens rude now? I've heard that choking the chicken is rude ... but they're hardly the same thing, are they?

Donna said...

Damn - some interesting people have your number. The text messages *I* get usually say things like "Hi Donna, in the pub lying in a pool of my own vomit." And THE BIG O would definitely make a great film.

I read COTTONWOOD a couple of years ago - it's brilliant. Like Little Whore House On The Prairie.

Peter Rozovsky said...

This reminds me of the universal praise accorded The Wire. Almost everyone comments on the series' novelistic qualities, its story arcs that lasted an entire season rather than just one episode. "Just like a novel!" they say. OK, then why not do something even more like reading a novel, and go out and read a novel?

That's no knock against the show, which hired a number of fine crime novelists to write for it. It's more a comment on the terms with which people choose to praise it.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Peter Rozovsky said...

And Scott Phillips rules. If you haven't read his story "The Emerson, 1950" in the second issue of Murdaland, you ought to.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Declan Burke said...

Donna - you're the most interesting person that has my number. Gurn, etc. ...

Peter? Scott Phillips rules indeed. I'm really looking forward to Cottonwood ... I've just started John Connolly's The Lovers, and then I need to read Peter James' latest ...

John Connolly's a fucking terrific writer, you know that? Because you forget, don't you, and then a year goes by, and you start reading his latest one, and you go, "Fucking hell, as well as telling a cracking story, that guy can really write."

You'd think he'd be happy with the 'sexiest crime writer' thing, wouldn't you?

Cheers, Dec

bookwitch said...

Voodoo? What's wrong with witchcraft?