“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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Very Irish Noir

Some whippersnapper called Otto Penzler has been making predictions about the ‘Future Masters of Noir’, and of the five tipped for the top (or bottom, if you’re being noir-ish about it), two are Irish. Not bad going, chaps. The two are Ken Bruen and Stuart Neville (right), authors of the recently published THE DEVIL and COLLUSION, respectively, and while I’m certainly not going to quibble about the inclusion of either, you’d have to question the bit about Ken Bruen being a ‘future’ master of noir. Which is to say, Sir Kenneth of Bruen has been writing some of the most provocative noir for the best part of 20 years now - although Otto does hedge his bets a little there, suggesting that Ken is already a master, even if the mainstream has yet to embrace his bleak, twisted vision of the world.
  Anyhoo, it’s all kinds of good news for both men, and well deserved to boot. For the full list of Penzler’s ‘Masters of Noir’, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, Stuart Neville had a piece on ‘Emerald Noir’ published in the Sunday Tribune last weekend, and a fine piece it is too, with Stuart waxing lyrical on the origins of the current boom in Irish crime writing and invoking names such as John Connolly, Declan Hughes, Adrian McKinty, Colin Bateman, Ken Bruen, Arlene Hunt, Gene Kerrigan and FL Green. Quoth Stuart:
“Perhaps the blossoming of home-grown crime fiction can be better explained by a change in attitude, rather than circumstance. Having more money in our pockets, however fleetingly, was a symptom of change, rather than a cause. The simultaneous transformations of the Celtic Tiger and the peace process went hand-in-hand with a deeper, more permanent shift that occurred on this island: Ireland, north and south, began to look outward rather than inward. With that change came a greater willingness, particularly in the Republic, to discuss and confront the uglier aspects of its own history, such as state and church abuse against children.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

2 comments:

Naomi Johnson said...

So Otto is saying to be a true master of noir, your books have to be NYT bestsellers? I feel ill.

Richard L. said...

Seems to me a good many Irish authors are left off the list, including Declan Burke obviously.

I'm an American who has discovered and is just now catching up on "Emerald Noir." It's nice to discover authors with such quality backlists left to read.

It's also nice to see that so many authors are influenced by Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. I see it in John Connolly's THE KILLING KIND, and one of the attractions to reading Ken Bruen is the number of literary references in his books.

All I can say is, gentlemen and ladies, please keep up the good work.