“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.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Two Tales, One City

Work commitments – not to mention an irrational phobia of bowler hats – will keep me away from Belfast next Wednesday evening, although maybe that’s just as well, given that there’d be something of a conflict of interest were I to wander north. For lo! There’s not one but two quality book launches happening that evening in Belfast, the first for AFTERMATH, Ruth ‘Cuddly’ Dudley Edwards’ new tome about the Omagh bombing. Quoth the blurb elves:
The Omagh bomb was the worst massacre in Northern Ireland’s modern history - yet from it came a most extraordinary tale of human resilience, as families of murdered people channelled their grief into action. As the bombers congratulated themselves on escaping justice, the families determined on a civil case against them and their organisation. No one had ever done this before. It was a very domestic atrocity. In Omagh, on Saturday, 15 August, 1998, a massive bomb placed by the so-called Real IRA murdered unborn twins, five men, fourteen women and nine children, of whom two were Spanish and one English: the dead included Protestants, Catholics and a Mormon. Although the police believed they knew the identities of the killers, there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. Taking as their motto ‘For evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing’, families of ten of the dead decided to pursue these men through the civil courts, where the burden of proof is lower. This is the remarkable account of how these families - who had no knowledge of the law and no money, and included a cleaner, a mechanic and a bookie - became internationally recognised, formidable campaigners and surmounted countless daunting obstacles to win a famous victory. How these mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers turned themselves into the scourge of the Real IRA is not just an astonishing story in itself. It is also a universal story of David challenging Goliath, as well as an inspiration to ordinary people anywhere devastated by terrorism.
  The launch for AFTERMATH takes place at the Bookshop at Queen’s University on Wednesday 8th, with the gig kicking off at 5.30pm and featuring Michael Gallagher, Brett Lockhart QC and Jason McCue as speakers.
  Meanwhile, over at No Alibis on Botanic Avenue, Adrian McKinty (right) will be doing a reading from FIFTY GRAND, to mark the UK publication of said opus, that event kicking off at 6pm. I’ve pretty much run out of superlatives to describe FIFTY GRAND, so suffice to say that if you scroll down a smidgeroo, you can avail of the opportunity to win a signed copy of this very, very fine novel.
  Happily, Belfast is a pretty compact city, and those of you dedicated to the cause can scoot along to Queen’s for the AFTERMATH launch, and then nip around the corner to Botanic Avenue for the McKinty jamboree. If you time it right, you might even get to skip the boring bit (McKinty reading) and cut straight to the entertainment (McKinty trying to juke out of paying his round for the rest of the evening). Bon chance, mes amis

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