“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.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jack The Giant-Killer

Another year, another CrimeFest. I didn’t make it to Bristol this year, unfortunately, given that I couldn’t justify the trip on the basis that I haven’t had a book published since God was a boy, and I have to say that I missed the buzz. Not least of which is the anticipation of gaping in amazement at Donna Moore’s latest epic adventure in footwear. Ah well, maybe next year.
  Anyway, the good news is that The Artist Formerly Known As Colin Bateman scooped the Last Laugh Award for THE DAY OF THE JACK RUSSELL, said gong being awarded for ‘the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2009’. The win is hugely deserved - TDOTJR isn’t just laugh-out-loud funny, it’s also a clever deconstruction of the crime narrative. Quoth yours truly:
THE DAY OF THE JACK RUSSELL is the whimsical title to Bateman’s latest offering, and the second title in a year from a new Bateman series which features a hero who goes under the moniker of Mystery Man. I use the word “hero” advisedly: Bateman’s protagonist is the owner of a Belfast bookshop specialising in crime fiction, and a man who likes to dabble in puzzles and the solving of crimes unlikely to put him in any serious danger. He is a whinging hypochondriac, a coward and misogynist, a bookworm nerd who nonetheless gets the girl and saves the day. He may well turn out to be Colin Bateman’s most endearing creation …
  Well done, that man. Incidentally, it’s appropriate that the news of Bateman’s win came to me via The Rap Sheet, which venerable organ (oo-er, missus, etc.) is today celebrating its fourth birthday. Drop on over and blow out Jeff Pierce’s candles (oo-er, missus, etc.) …
  As for my own weekend, I spent it muddling about in the garden. The weather was terrific (apparently we’re promised, according to the BBC’s meteorologists, the best summer in 130 years - woot!), the barbie was dragged out and dusted down, and much mowing, planting, seeding, pruning, clipping, digging and generalised mooching about was indulged in. The results (see below) mightn’t be as impressive as Bateman’s gong (oo-er, missus, etc.) or Donna Moore’s shoetastic adventures, but humble as it is, it’s mine own, etc.

6 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

That's another wiriter I haven't read, though I'm pretty sure he'll blow my skirt up.

Declan Burke said...

Paul - Bateman is well worth catching up on, especially if you enjoy a few giggles with your crime fic ... Highly recommended.

Cheers, dec

seana said...

Very lovely yard.

I have to say that all the blogs from your side of the pond are very uncharacteristically talking about the weather. Though some are complaining about the heat and others are reveling in it so it's hard to get a fix on it.

Michael Malone said...

Nice garden, Dec. You should see mine.Just had central heating changed and the old stuff has been dumped there. I should say its a modern art installation and charge folk to see it.

Completely agree with you on Bateman. Man's a genius.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

"given that I couldn’t justify the trip on the basis that I haven’t had a book published since God was a boy, and I have to say that I missed the buzz."

Just a temporarily hiatus I hope.

The yard looks in top shape. I like the white flowers on the fence, and the mini statue at the lower right. I have a very similiar statue on my porch in the back yard.

Declan Burke said...

We don't see a lot of the sun in Northern Europe, Seana - at least, not the warm version. When it does appear, we emerge blinking from our caves and prostrate ourselves. Then, two days later, we're all complaining about how bloody hot it is all the time, and fretting that the geraniums will wither away ...

Michael - back in the day, reading (Colin) Bateman's DIVORCING JACK was akin to a grenade going off in my head. I didn't realise you were allowed to write like that ...

Sean - that fat-bellied Buddha is my measuring-stick. Once I start to resemble his dimensions, it's time to get out into the garden and start doing some real work ...

Cheers, Dec