“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.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL

Short-listed for the 2011 Irish Book Awards, and the winner of the Goldsboro Last Laugh Award at Crimefest, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL (Liberties Press) is something of a novel novel, as the reviews below suggest. First, the blurb elves:
Who in the right mind would want to blow up a hospital?

“Close it down, blow it up - seriously, what’s the difference?”

Billy Karlsson needs to get real. Literally. A hospital porter with a sideline in euthanasia, Billy is a character trapped in the purgatory of an abandoned novel. Deranged by logic, driven beyond sanity, Billy makes his final stand: if killing old people won’t cut the mustard, the whole hospital will have to go up in flames.

Only his creator can stop him now, the author who abandoned Billy to his half-life limbo, in which Billy schemes to do whatever it takes to get himself published, or be damned …
Cover Quotes:

“A genuinely original take on noir, inventive and funny … Imagine, if you can, a cross between Flann O’Brien and Raymond Chandler.” - John Banville

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is unlike anything else you’ll read this year … Laugh-out-loud funny … This is writing at its dazzling, cleverest zenith. Think John Fowles, via Paul Auster and Rolling Stone … A feat of extraordinary alchemy.” - Ken Bruen

ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL from Liberties Press

ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL from Amazon UK

ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL from Kindle US (& Ireland)

ABSOLUTE ZERO COOK on Kindle UK

The Good Word:

“Metafiction? Postmodern noir? These and other labels will be applied to Burke’s newest; any might be apt, but none is sufficient. ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is largely a literary novel that draws on history, mythology, and literature … Noir fans may not care for this one, but lovers of literary fiction will find much to savour.” - Booklist

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is brilliant … a joy-ride through the history of Western culture … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL will stand comparison to the very best of Italo Calvino, Milan Kundera and Umberto Eco.” - Amazon review *****

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL starts a slow burn that ultimately builds to a literally explosive conclusion … Wickedly sharp, darkly humorous, uncommonly creative and brilliantly executed.” - Elizabeth A. White

“Stylistically removed from anything being attempted by his peers … [a] darkly hilarious amalgam of classic crime riffing (hep Elmore Leonard-isms and screwballing) and the dimension-warping reflections of Charlie Kaufman or Kurt Vonnegut. Like the latter’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL sees another Billy “come unstuck” in what is, frankly, a brilliant premise.” - Sunday Independent

“Among the many crime fiction references, it’s [Patricia] Highsmith that resonates most with ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL (for me) … Declan Burke has cemented his central position in the current wave of neo-noir and contemporary crime fiction.” - Glenn Harper, International Noir

“Burke sprinkles his way-outside-the-box noir with quotes from Beckett, Bukowski, and other literary names as he explores the nature of writing and the descent of personal darkness. Those looking for a highly intellectual version of Stephen King’s THE DARK HALF will be most satisfied.” - Publishers Weekly


“Karlsson is a thrilling creation, up there with the Patrick Batemans of literature … a masterpiece of unsavoury reflection on history and Darwinism blended with a hefty dose of sociopathy, yet always leavened with pitch-black wit … To borrow from [Ken] Bruen's blurb, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is unlike anything else you’ll read this year: funny and disturbing, it also straddles a fine line between the absurd and the profound. It never forgets the conventions of crime fiction, while simultaneously subverting them. A triumph.” - Sunday Times

“Declan Burke’s ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a cigarette paper … [a] sublimely crazy book.” - Stuart Neville

“Thus begins a fascinating hybrid of MISERY, AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS, THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN, and who knows what else … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL isn’t quite like anything else you’ve read, in any genre. It’s clever, intimate, passionate, and funny: altogether a wonderful achievement.” - Irish Times

“What is most refreshing … is its ambition. It is rare that a so-called genre book attempts to wrest free of its constraints and do something entirely different. ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a genre-buster. Clever, funny, challenging, surreal, unexpected and entirely original.” - Irish Independent

“Declan Burke plunges into surreal realms in this exhilarating, cleverly wrought novel … Comparisons to Flann O’Brien’s AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS are obvious, yet Burke’s canny control of his novel means they’re positive ones.” - Sunday Business Post

“A new Irish absurd, the Blazing Saddles of crime fiction … The illogicality that surrounds us, the double speak and unthink, is very much the secret subject of this book … It’s a novel that is mentally stimulating, entertaining, fun, provocative, original and ambitious.” - Arena, RTE

“An ambitious, satisfying black comedy … subverting genres within the very loose framework of a crime thriller. So dark is the novel-within-a-novel premise that it makes Fight Club look like a Marx Brothers knockabout comedy.” - Evening Herald

“We’re into a self-conscious world of meta-fiction, somewhere between Muriel Sparks’ THE COMFORTERS, Bret Easton Ellis’ LUNAR PARK, and Flann O’Brien ... It’s a measure of Burke’s achievement in this funny and clever book that he can stand comparison to these three … the book is witty, philosophical and a page-turning crime thriller.” - The Dubliner

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is an absolutely wonderful read, start to finish. Declan Burke has penned the most original work of cross-genre fiction I’ve read in a long time. Literary, socially conscious, journalistically cynical … an absolute must-read.” - Charlie Stella

“Satire and high art meets screwball noir … ABSOLUTE ZEROCOOLtakes the crime genre and its many tropes and stereotypes and throws them out the window. It’s a genuinely unique tale.” - The View From the Blue House

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a fine example of comedic crime noir … this is an author you need to read.” - Mystery File

“My point is, there is increasing room for super-consciousness, post-rational literature -- particularly in our post-rational world -- along the lines of Woyzeck, Bertold Brecht, Robbe-Grillet, Samuel Beckett, and others. Most recently, Declan Burke’s ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL. My kind of book. Maybe it could be called Gonzolit. Serious as the World Series, clean as Van Gogh’s ear surgery, worthy of our times.” - Malcolm Berry

“This isn’t crime for profit’s sake, with a little hipness thrown in; it’s depravity examining its navel … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is brilliant and baffling, enjoyable and vexing, funny and disturbing.” - One Bite At a Time

“This is not a ‘crime’ book in the normal sense of having a detective, a killer and an easy to follow plot. It is a stunningly beautiful and achingly funny work which probes the type of existential questions raised by works like NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND and CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Dostoyevsky, and works by Sartre, Camus (THE PLAGUE), Kafka, andIreland’s Beckett and Flann O’Brien.” - Amazon review (1) *****

“Burke writes with humour and wit, often sending up the crime genre itself. The reader’s tolerance will be tested with each new sadistic twist.” - Books Ireland

“The most twisted, unusual book I’ve ever read.” - Various Random Thoughts

“On its surface it crackles with wit, aphorisms, black one-liners, erudite literary allusions, popular culture references, and frequently surprising wordplay … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a literary novel and a darkly humorous work of philosophy. It easily falls into that sub-category of intellectual noir … Dante is well served here, all around.” - Little Known Gems

“The debt to Flann O'Brien is clear but unlike O’Brien’s coldly brilliant mindscapes, Burke’s creation has a heart as well as a brain.” - Amazon review (2) *****

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL sees Burke stretching the crime thriller genre until it snaps and then sewing it back together with some of the finest prose and funniest dialogue you’ll encounter this year. I can’t recommend this book enough. Destined to be a cult classic.” - Amazon Review (3) *****

“Dreamlike and invigorating, [AZC] combines surrealism with the best of noir fiction in an enthralling reminiscence of Flann O’Brien’s ATSWIM-TWO-BIRDS … Burke’s writing issharp, funny, and excruciatingly honest … a genuinely original and inventive novel … a clever, personal, and charming story.” - The Crime of It All

“Declan Burke has crafted an exciting, hilarious, thoughtful and moving story … I’ve read a lot of cracking novels this year but ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is my favourite. And it could well be yours, too.” - Mean Streets

“This is a bloody good thriller. It’s also funny, thought-provoking and very satisfying. Some reviews refer to it as possibly becoming a cult classic; I think it deserves to be more.” - Booksquawk

“A challenging, pleasing, provocative, wise-cracking read … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL contains more than enough material for a couple of thousand conventional novels.” - John J Gaynard

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is unlike anything else you’ll read this year … Laugh-out-loud funny … This is writing at its dazzling, cleverest zenith. Think John Fowles, via Paul Auster and Rolling Stone … A feat of extraordinary alchemy.” - Ken Bruen

“A harrowing and yet hilarious examination of the gradual disintegration of a writer’s personality, as well as a damned fine noir novel … Burke has outdone himself this time; it’s a hell of a read.” - Scott Philips

“Declan Burke has broken the mould with ABSOLUTE ZEROCOOL, which is actually very cool indeed. Funny, inventive and hugely entertaining crime fiction - I guarantee you’ll love it.” - Melissa Hill

“Stop waiting for Godot - he’s here. Declan Burke takes the existential dilemma of characters writing about themselves and turns it on its ear, and then some. He gives it body and soul … an Irish soul.” - Reed Farrel Coleman

2 comments:

Josh Schrank said...

Kindle version perhaps? I've drank the Kindle koolaid.

Lrakyawnoc said...

Dec, Kate and I will likely be in the Panama/Columbia direction around then so we won't make it to the launch but the very best of luck with it.

I too I raise my hand in need of a Kindle version!