“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, October 12, 2010

The Long Tale

Some days, said he, at the risk of blowing things out of all proportion, I think I know how those Chilean miners might feel. I’m talking about ye olde wryting, of course, which is not a case of life or death, but is - if I can paraphrase Bill Shankly on football - much more important than that.
  Trapped underground, scrabbling around in the dark, desperately hoping for a shaft of light / ray of hope … These are things that I think most writers have in common with the Chilean miners, if only in a metaphorical sense. Unless, of course, you’re a writer who prefers to do his or her scribbling in a collapsed mine a mile underground, in pitch darkness, in which case I salute you. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
  Anyhoo, it looks like the Chilean miners will soon be emerging blinking into the light, and God bless them all. Meanwhile, my very own sliver of hope was delivered last week, courtesy of The Irish Echo, when journalist Peter McDermott asked a number of people to recommend some titles in the crime genre. Joe Long, Noo Yawk bon viveur-about-town and long-time friend to Irish crime writers, and now an ‘Irish noir aficionado’, apparently, made eight recommendations, all of them Irish. To wit:
1. “Every Dead Thing,” by John Connolly; 2. “City of Lost Girls,” by Declan Hughes; 3. “Borderlands,” by Brian McGilloway; 4. “The Big O,” by Declan Burke; 5. “Undertow” by Arlene Hunt; 6. “Dark Times in the City,” by Gene Kerrigan; 7. “The Ghosts of Belfast,” by Stuart Neville; 8. “Winterland,” by Alan Glynn.
  Which is very nice indeed. Sometimes all that’s needed to get you to the desk for another month of pointless, pitiless grind is the merest flicker of hope, just the faintest reminder that someone, somewhere has read your book(s), and liked it / them, and is willing to embarrass themselves in public by saying so aloud. And not only that, but THE BIG O is mixing in some rather fine company there - in fact, I’d go so far as to say that those seven names are amongst the finest practitioners of the dark art operating today.
  So God bless you too, Peter McDermott, and especially ‘Irish noir aficionado’ Joe Long. If anyone bumps up against the Long Fella at B’con (it’ll very probably be in the bar - he’s the sociable kind), buy him a drink for me. A Guinness, preferably.
  The Big Q: what Irish writers could / should Joe Long have included in his Top 8? I’ll start you off with Adrian McKinty’s FIFTY GRAND …

7 comments:

Michael Malone said...

The only one I've not read on that list is Arlene Hunt and IMHO you deserve your slot in that list

Alan Griffiths said...

Congrats on making the list Dec and very well deserved.

Can’t believe Sir Ken has not made the line up. I’d like to add The Guards.

Cheers.

Naomi Johnson said...

You have earned your place on that list. Big O is a rare treat.

Add McKinty's Fifty Grand, certainly, and almost anything by Bruen.

Declan Burke said...

Many thanks, folks ... much obliged. I was just thinking out loud, really ...

Ken Bruen should on any list of Irish noir, without doubt. Tana French? El Maestro Colin Bateman? What about Benjamin Black? Or Alex Barclay? Paul Charles?

Cheers, Dec

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Congrats Dec, well deserved! I'd humbly add Adrian McKinty's "Dead I Well May Be" to the list. Lot's of great stuff, some of which I still need to and willread.

Josh Schrank said...

Now Dec, I've just finished me seventh glass of Jameson's for the evening. How much ado will I be stirring up in Dublintown if I let my ever so slightly inebriated wit get the better of my good graces?

janebbooks said...

Congratulations, Dec Burke. I may have to read that Sligo book after all!
Meanwhile, over on the West Coast of USA is Bouchercon. And Stuart Neville is up for an Anthony award for best first mystery!
Didn't you do a piece on him and his book? Need links.

Jane