“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. “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, July 16, 2009

A Good Year For The ROSES

I guess the reason we’re not talking / There’s so little left to say / We haven’t said …” So warbled Elvis Costello in A Good Year for the Roses, a sentiment that wouldn’t cut much mustard with Garbhan Downey right now. For lo! The author of WAR OF THE BLUE ROSES is rabbiting all over the interweb. Here he is on Culture Northern Ireland:
From the outside 2009 looks like a vintage year for political satirists: expenses scandals rumbling on in Westminster, our own MLAs claims coming under ever greater press and public scrutiny, economic meltdown after years of hubris. ‘But I’d say it’s the opposite - there has never been a harder time to be a satirist’, says Garbhan Downey, a writer who has spent the best part of a decade ripping it out of the political classes on both sides of the border. ‘All these revelations just prove that the real world is so much stranger than anything a novelist could come up with.’
 Truth is stranger than fiction shocker! A pity the truth wouldn’t be half as funny as Garbhan Downey once in a while, but sure you can’t have everything. Anyway, where would you put it, etc. Meanwhile, here’s Garbhan over at the Irish Echo:
“There’s a few things I don’t like about America: nukes, twelve years of the Bush family, illegal renditions. Plus the fact that, for some reason, I can never quite fathom, my home television is now stuck for eight hours a day on the Disney Channel.
  “My novel WAR OF THE BLUE ROSES - though a comedy - picks up on some of these complaints.
  “But it also looks at the age-old kinship and friendship between our two countries, as personified by the taoiseach and the new U.S. president, when they meet up in the White House on the opening page.
  “In the book, the “bromance” between Ireland and the U.S. culminates in the Yanks sponsoring a massive flower-growing competition outside Derry, this to take some of the sting out of the Marching Season.”
  Ah, Norn Iron – the only place where you can still have a March in summer. Finally, here’s Downey over at Crime Scene Norn Iron:
“I thought I’d give McKinty a go because Gerard Brennan clearly rated him – and Ger, along with Peter [Rozovsky] and Dec [Modesty Forbids], is one of the few reviewers I still respect. If they have an angle, I don’t see it. And I say that as someone who has spent his life in journalism looking out for angles.”
  As I’ve told anyone who’ll listen, my angle is I’m in it for the money, the free books and the complimentary reacharounds. Anyway, and while we’re on the subject of Adrian McKinty and/or gobby Norn Ironers, here’s McKinty in the Times introducing his Top 10 Female Sleuths:
“As much as any hairy, beer drinking male can be I believe that I am in touch with my feminine side. I ride a girl’s bicycle, I went to a women’s college at Oxford and I have seen several episodes of Sex and the City (though I am not willing to admit the exact number for fear of damaging my hard-boiled crime writing credentials). As a kid in Northern Ireland I had two older sisters who kept me out of trouble and now I have two young daughters whose agenda is precisely the opposite. I grew up in an era of impressive female role models (Charlie’s Angels, The Bionic Woman, Mrs Thatcher) so I have never had a problem enjoying female protagonists in fiction, especially in detective fiction which became my go-to genre. Now that I have written a XX chromosomed detective in my book FIFTY GRAND, I thought I would share my own idiosyncratic list of 10 favourite female gumshoes …”
  Erm, no Foxy Brown in there, squire?
  Finally, and as this will probably be the only CAP post to reference Elvis Costello and Margaret Thatcher, here’s Costello’s touching paean to the Iron Lady, Tramp the Dirt Down. Roll it there, Collette …

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