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.

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?