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?
IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. No doubt about it. And I know it’s not a ‘novel’ per se, but what the hell? That’s the one for me!
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Holmes. For the coke and the opium and the violin-playing. No, seriously, just for the sheer intellect of the man.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Anything by Annie Proulx. And it’s a guilty pleasure because I’m supposed to read Chandler and Hammett and Cain, not someone who writes homo-erotic cowboy stories!
Most satisfying writing moment?
When A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS was selected for Richard and Judy, because I knew it would open the door to translations, further publishing contracts, and a future. For me, it was as if I suddenly realized that I might be able to get away with doing this for the rest of my life.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
Impossible to answer. Even ULYSSES has been hailed as a murder mystery so that would have to figure in the ranking. I read Bruen, Burke, McGilloway, Hughes, and they are all superb.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Not an Irish writer, but it is an Irish novel; THE GOLDEN DOOR by Kerry Jamieson. I say this simply because I possess a profound fascination for New York at this time (Prohibition-era), and it was the Irish who built much of what we now consider to be New York.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best thing is to have been given the privilege to do what you love for a living. Worst thing is the mind-numbing, bone-deep exhaustion of endless touring. Like thirty-two hour journeys back from New Zealand - five flights, nine films, no sleep ...
The pitch for your next book is …?
Orphaned by an act of senseless violence that took their mother from them, half-brothers Clarence Luckman and Elliott Danziger start life with two strikes against them. Raised in state institutions, unaware of any world beyond the confines of rules and regulation, their lives take a sudden turn when they are seized as hostages by a convicted killer en route to his execution. Earl Sheridan, psychopathic murderer, could be their salvation or their downfall. A road trip ensues – Sheridan and the two brothers on the run from the law through California and Texas, but as the journey continues the two brothers must come to terms with the ever-growing tide of violence that follows in their wake, a tide of violence that forces them to make a choice about their lives, and their relationship to one another. Will the brothers manage to elude the dark star that has hung over them since their mother’s death, or will they succumb to the pull of Earl Sheridan’s terrifying, but exhilarating vision of the world? Set in the mid 1960s, this is a tale of the darkness within Man, the inherent hope for redemption, and the ultimate consequences of evil.
Who are you reading right now?
DISPATCHES by Michael Herr, FAT CITY by Leonard Gardner and THE DISENCHANTED by Budd Schulberg.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Write. No question. No doubt, no hesitation. It’s the only thing that keeps me crazy.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
RJ Ellory’s SAINTS OF NEW YORK is published by Orion.
“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. “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.