Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...
What crime novel would you most like to have written?
I suppose everyone says THE BIG SLEEP, don’t they? It’s THE GREAT GATSBY of crime fiction. And I like to think that I’d be just slapdash enough to forget, in true Chandleresque style, who killed that chauffeur.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
James Bond. I remember being very impressed, as a kid, when I read GOLDFINGER and learned that Bond concealed his Walther PPK in a book called THE BIBLE DESIGNED TO BE READ AS LITERATURE. I think that was when I realised that true style is in the details.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
The Spenser novels by the late, great Robert B. Parker. Starting with THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT in 1973, Spenser evolved into one of the great heroes of American popular fiction. Spenser isn’t really a noir protagonist in the true sense – he never compromises, and he’s always right. The Spenser books are basically romances in which the questing hero always triumphs, which I reckon is what makes them so satisfying.
Most satisfying writing moment?
When I was about thirty pages from the end of BAD DAY IN BLACKROCK, I suddenly knew what the last paragraph would be, and I scribbled it down then and there. The most satisfying moment was realising everything else was done and I could finally type that final paragraph.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Declan Hughes’s Ed Loy novels are turning into a running commentary on the state of the nation, using the PI genre as a hook. I suspect Ed is the first fictional gumshoe ever to find himself in negative equity. And Hughes can really write, too.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
THE KILLING KIND by John Connolly. Because of the villain, mostly: Mr. Pudd, the unbelievably creepy arachnophile psychopath who kills people by jamming their mouths with chloroformed black widows. You could traumatize a lot of people by putting Mr. Pudd on screen.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
I can’t see much of a downside. The best thing is when you know you’ve got something right – a sentence, a paragraph, even a section title.
The pitch for your next book is …?
I have to write the bleedin’ thing first.
Who are you reading right now?
In my non-writing life I’m supposed to be doing a PhD on Norman Mailer, so I’ve just read a memoir called MORNINGS WITH MAILER by Dwayne Raymond, who was Mailer’s personal assistant for the last four years of his life. What amazed me was the account of Mailer’s work ethic. The man revised everything five or six times, even if it was just a Christmas card.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I think if God appears, I’ll have bigger problems ...
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
I aim for clarity, honesty, and what you might call “flow” – I want people to turn the pages.
The paperback edition of Kevin Power’s BAD DAY IN BLACKROCK is published by Pocket Books.
“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.