“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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Foxing Clever

The Thought Fox - aka Faber editor Katherine Armstrong - posts a piece on her blog titled ‘In Praise of Emerald Noir’, in which she offers a list of the ‘25 best writers of Emerald Noir’. It’s a comprehensive list - so comprehensive, in fact, that it even includes yours truly - with proceedings kicking off thusly:
“I grew up in Northern Ireland in the eighties and nineties, which was probably not Judith Chalmers’ first point of call for Wish You Were Here but still, it was home. As most people will remember, Northern Ireland during that period was an interesting place to be if you were particularly keen on scaring yourself silly. The television most evenings would have talk of car bombs, murders, knee-cappings and other assorted terrorist activities. Going to school in Belfast every day on the train you became used to having to get a replacement bus service due to bomb scares. For anyone who wanted to skip class the various alphabetical groups bent on death and destruction could guarantee that no one would question your excuse for being late – there always seemed to be a bomb scare somewhere.
“Throughout the difficult years there were books that focused on the Troubles – you know the stuff – where an English spy from British Intelligence would invariably fall in love with a Catholic girl who would betray him to the IRA and he’d be executed. But there was a huge gap in the market for really good home grown crime fiction. Over the past twenty years or so there has been an emergence of what has become known as Emerald Noir. It’s gritty, it’s realistic, and contemporary Ireland – both north and south – is a whole lot better for it …”
  For the full list of 25 Irish crime writers, clickety-click here
  Naturally, and given the nature of such things, even a list of 25 Irish crime writers is going to miss out on a few names that really should be in there. John Connolly doesn’t make the cut because he doesn’t set his novels in Ireland, but Armstrong’s roll-call of honour doesn’t include Julie Parsons, Paul Charles, Liam O’Flaherty, Garbhan Downey, Ava McCarthy, Peter Cunningham, Hugo Hamilton, Rory McCormac, Vincent McDonnell, Cora Harrison, or - shock, horror! - Twenty Major. On the upside, it’s nice to see that the list does include EilĂ­s Dillon, Eugene McEldowney, Jim Lusby, Andrew Nugent and Vincent Banville, all of whom tend to get overlooked in discussions about Irish crime writing.
  Perhaps understandably, the list is also short on recent debutants, such as Niamh O’Connor, Kevin McCarthy, Gerard O’Donovan, Gerry O’Carroll and Rob Kitchin. There are also a number of mavericks who deserve a plug, like TS O’Rourke, John Kelly, Patrick McGinley and Seamus Smyth, all of whom were writing Irish crime fiction when it was neither popular or (even less) profitable.
  So there you have it. Any names that should be on that list, but aren’t? You know what to do …

2 comments:

Bob said...

Yay - let's hear it for Seamus Smyth. Quinn is a truly wonderful novel that deserves recognition.
Nice one Dec

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Great list. Makes it easy to know what to read next. Congrats to all you made the cut and some who should have, but didn't.