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?
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE by George V. Higgins. My father, Elmore Leonard, gave me the book right after it came out. He said, “Read this. You won’t believe how good it is.” And he was right.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
James Bond. Looks like he has a pretty good time.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I read ‘People’ magazine, which chronicles the comings and goings of American movie stars, important stuff like who’s dating whom, where they vacation, what clubs they frequent.
Most satisfying writing moment?
My agent called telling me St. Martin’s Press had made an offer on QUIVER,
my first novel.
The best Irish crime novel is …?
THE GUARDS by Ken Bruen. Jack Taylor is a wonderful character, and Ken is a hell of a writer. His prose is gritty, violent and funny. I read it in one sitting.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
IN THE WOODS by Tana French.
Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst is probably the sting of a bad review. The best, I get paid to invent characters and tell stories. What could be better than that?
The pitch for your next book is …?
It’s 1971. A Holocaust survivor’s daughter is killed in an auto accident by a German diplomat. Harry Levin, a scrap metal dealer from Detroit, goes to Washington D.C. to claim his daughter’s body and find out what happened. A D.C. detective named Taggart tells Harry the incident has been covered up by the U.S. State Department. The diplomat, who was drunk, has been released from police custody and given immunity. Harry flies to Munich to get revenge and learns that the diplomat, Ernst Hess, figures in his past.
Who are you reading right now?
MR. PEANUT by Adam Ross.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Write. It’s too compelling to give up.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Peter Leonard’s ALL HE SAW WAS THE GIRL is published by Faber and Faber.
“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.