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.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I’d Love To Set A Thriller On The Moon, But …

Atmosphere or no, it’s amazing there aren’t more thrillers set on the moon*. Exotic locations are growing more and more popular with the crime fic fraternity, to the point where it can be argued – I think some po-faced critic did so recently, actually – that the novels are becoming as much travelogues as they are thrillers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I discovered Paul Johnston, for example, because he set the first Alex Mavros novel on a Greek island – but there can be times when writers overstep the mark and wallow in exotica to the exclusion of formerly vital components of the crime novel, such as tension and dead bodies.
  Anyway, kudos are due yet again to the Irish Times for their ongoing support for crime fiction, which this weekend manifested itself as a double-page spread feature on exotic locations for crime fic novels. To wit:
“BAD THINGS happen in beautiful places,” the doyenne of British crime fiction, PD James, recently observed. She’s so right. When we’re sunning ourselves on some idyllic beach or downing grilled prawns and dry white wine in some sheltered harbour, we like nothing better than a good murder – fictional, of course – to keep us entertained. A strong sense of place is one of the most attractive elements of a top-notch crime novel, and it needn’t be a remote wilderness place, either; it can be a pulsating city neighbourhood, or even a single apartment building. Arminta Wallace suggests some striking locations for a spot of summer sleuthing.
  The locations Wallace picked are Louisiana, Yorkshire, Venice, Boston, Bangkok, Donegal, Alaska, Shanghai, Botswana, Reykjavik, Washington DC, Sicily, London, Breslau, Dublin, Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Seville, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Nairobi, Maine, Sweden and Norfolk, although I’m sure Peter Rozovsky could suggest a few more. I’m thinking, off the top of my head, Tibet, Egypt, Australia, Greece and Brazil …
  And in the week that’s in it, given that it’s getting its UK publication, how the hell could they miss out on Cuba and Adrian McKinty’s FIFTY GRAND?
  Quibbles apart, it’s a fine piece. Clickety-click here for all the details

* Funnily enough, Duncan Jones – aka Zowie Bowie – has just directed Sam Rockwell in Moon, a Phil Dick-style existential thriller of paranoia, cloning and double-cross set on the moon, which is due out in Ireland on July 17, and comes warmly recommended by your genial host. Oh, and expect to see every newspaper feature dealing with Moon titled ‘Space Oddity’.