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.

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.