“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. “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.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It’s Not Quite Dead Yet

I don’t know about you, but I like good books. I’m not too demanding: a gripping story, fascinating characters and an inventive use of language are generally enough to make me happy. Like, say, Adrian McKinty’s debut, DEAD I WELL MAY BE, which at the time I read it seemed not entirely unlike a Bourne novel rewritten by Cormac McCarthy.
  The folks at National Public Radio seem to like it too, given that the novel has been chosen as one of its ‘Killer Thrillers’ - “the 100 most pulse-quickening, suspenseful novels ever written”, according to the NPR.
  Marvellous news for McKinty, and for Tana French and Ken Bruen, both of whom are also flying the Irish flag. Or so you’d think. Quoth McKinty over at his interweb lair:
“Somehow DEAD I MAY WELL BE has been long listed as one of National Public Radio’s ‘Killer Thrillers’. I say somehow because unlike every other book on the list DEAD I WELL MAY BE isn’t even in print anymore.”
  Now, between you and me, the fact that DEAD I WELL MAY BE went out of print isn’t just a disgrace, it’s something of a metaphor for how rotten is the state of Denmark, if we can in turn accept ‘Denmark’ as a metaphor for ‘the publishing industry’. In fact, so disgraceful is it that I can’t muster the requisite anger and indignation - it’s kind of bone-crushingly depressing, to be honest. I can rant and rave about the fact that I can’t get published, and people are perfectly entitled to say, ‘Listen, mate, you’re actually not very good - get over yourself.’ They can’t say that to McKinty, because the man is a brilliant writer, and has the critical kudos and awards to back him up.
  What to do? Well, you can vote for DIWMB over at the NPR site here - the poll closes on August 2nd. And once you’ve done that, you can hoppity-skip-jump over here, because it appears the good folk who decide such things are reprinting DEAD I WELL MAY BE. And not a moment too soon, even if it is (or appears to be) a POD edition.
  God bless your cotton socks, NPR.