“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.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Open Letter To Janet Evanovich

Dear Ms Evanovich -

  I hope you are well. As I understand it, there was a story in the media earlier this year that suggested (perhaps erroneously) that your agent had sought on your behalf the sum of $40 million for your next four books. It was with great excitement, therefore, that I opened your latest novel, WICKED APPETITE, which I presumed would provide me with roughly $10 million worth of humorous crime / mystery japery.
  It would appear, however, that I accidentally received an ARC copy that has had all the jokes taken out, perhaps because your publishers fear some humourless and pedantic plagiarist such as myself might steal said jokes and use them for himself. Would it be possible to get a copy of the novel with all the jokes put back in, please? Or maybe just one joke per chapter, if that’s not risking too much.
  I did, I must confess, enjoy your one running gag of having your characters only ever ‘roll’ or ‘cut’ their eyes at one another, on the basis (presumably) that your heroine is a pastry chef, and spends a considerable amount of time ‘cutting’ and / or ‘rolling’ the various ingredients for her delicious cakes and pies. I did find it intensely irritating at first, of course, but I soon realised that no self-respecting author would so limit themselves so without good reason, and very quickly made the ‘pastry chef’ leap. My only concern is that those readers of yours who lack my appreciation of your subtle wit might not make the same leap as quickly, but I suppose you know best.
  Finally, I’m a little worried that your keyboard is playing up, because it appears to omit the word ‘of’ at crucial moments - for example, ‘a couple muffins’, ‘a couple cupcakes’, ‘a couple stones’, etc. I counted at least 15 examples of this omission, which might irritate readers who are even more pedantic than I. May I make a humble suggestion? If your keyboard is not capable of writing the word ‘of’, simply substitute ‘two’ (if you mean ‘two muffins’) or ‘a few’ (if you mean ‘a few muffins’) instead of ‘a couple of’. It’s a small thing, I know, but some readers may believe you’re trying out a meaningless stylistic tic that is so infuriating it prompts them to run out and buy every copy of WICKED APPETITE they can find in order to build a proper bonfire, and I’d hate for you to think that it was because some humourless pedants believe that WICKED APPETITE is bland rubbish.

  Yours sincerely,

  Declan Burke