“Two Grand Prix are awarded each year,” says Peter Rozovsky over at Detectives Beyond Borders, in his post about Ken Bruen (right) winning the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere 2009 for PRIEST, “one to the best crime novel, and one to the best international crime novel in France. They’ve been awarded since 1948, which suggests the French got onto this international crime fiction thing before many of the rest of us.”
The post-WWII period being when Cahiers du Cinema dubbed film noir, well, film noir, Mr Rozovsky may have a point. And, of course, Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, first published in 1841, is regarded as the ur-text when it comes to crime fiction. Can it be mere (and retrospective) coincidence that the story is set in Paris?
Erm, yes. But that’s not the point. The point is that, with two novels out this year, including TOWER, the collaboration with Reed Farrel Coleman (and a rumour that the chaps are going to collab on a musical next (!)), two movies of his novels in the pipeline, and a French gong in his back pocket, 2010 will probably be the year in which Ken Bruen ascends into heaven in a flaming chariot.
All kidding aside, and leaving all else aside, Ken Bruen’s annus mirabilis will please no end of people, but chiefly, I’d imagine, the legion of wannabe aspiring scribes (yours truly included) whom Ken Bruen has so generously and selflessly lent a hand to over the years. I don’t know if I really believe in karma, but if it doesn’t exist, then it’s a beautiful symmetry / coincidence that good fortune has showered Ken so extensively in 2009. Allez, Mr Bruen, et bon chance, mon ami.
“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. “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.