Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Baby Killers: Good Times For A Change

Good times for a change / See, the luck I’ve had / Can make a good man turn bad …” I don’t invoke those mopey depressmeisters The Smiths very often on these pages, but believe it or not, it is, and for once, good times and good news at Crime Always Pays. As all Three Regular Readers will be aware, I’ve been struggling for quite a while now to get my latest opus, THE BABY KILLERS, aka BAD FOR GOOD, published. There have been ups and downs along the way, and many pleasant rejection letters to peruse, and much by way of support from those of you who wander by here once in a while; indeed, there was much love last year for my proposal to self-publish the book via ‘crowd-sourcing’, with all (any) profits being donated to charity.
  But lo! It has come to pass that a small but perfectly formed Irish publisher has made an offer to publish THE BABY KILLERS. The deal proposed is also small but perfectly formed, to the extent that it’s fair to say that my plan of buying a Greek island will have to be deferred until the publication of my next book, at the very least. I do like the publishing model, though. It’s based on small print runs, firm sales (i.e., no sale-or-return), and a commitment to no-frills publishing of quality, quirky books for readers with an appetite for books that don’t necessarily conform to mainstream publishing’s idea of a commercial prospect. All of which is music to my ears.
  Now, the deal wouldn’t necessarily appeal to every writer. For one, there’s no advance involved, which effectively means that I’m giving away my book for free. Given that I was planning to self-publish it anyway, that’s not an issue for me; far better that the book, which was gathering dust on the shelf, be published without earning an advance than not published at all, or cost me to publish, particularly in these straitened times. It also removes the pressure of earning out the advance, and / or feeling indebted to a publisher.
  In effect, the deal will accomplish everything I wanted to achieve through self-publishing, with many added benefits, the most important of which are that the publisher already has a good reputation for publishing interesting books, and that the publisher also absorbs the cost of publication, and provides the distribution and - crucially - the experience.
  For my own part, I get to see a beautifully produced (if the publisher’s previous offerings are anything to go by) book of mine on the shelf, and to feel a little less of a charlatan when I mumble that I’m a writer in my spare time. Equally important, I get to fulfil that commitment I made to the Three Regular Readers last year, of donating all royalties from the book’s publication to charity. Given the content of the book, and the fact that the story revolves around a sociopathic hospital porter’s plot to blow up the hospital where he works, the charity to benefit will mostly likely be that of a children’s wing of a local hospital.
  So that’s it in a nutshell. Contracts have yet to be issued and details formalised, so it’s only fair that I mention no names as of yet. I have to say, though, that I’m hugely energised right now, enthusiastic and upbeat. Suddenly, naively, everything seems possible again.
  The early word, in terms of blurbs at least, has been good. To wit:
“A genuinely original take on noir, inventive and funny. Imagine, if you can, a cross between Flann O’Brien and Raymond Chandler.” – John Banville, author of THE SEA

“If you want to find something new and challenging, comic crime fiction is now the place to go … Declan Burke [is] at the vanguard of a new wave of young writers kicking against the clichés and producing ambitious, challenging, genre-bending works.” Colin Bateman, author of THE DAY OF THE JACK RUSSELL

“THE BABY KILLERS is unlike anything else you’ll read this year … Laugh-out-loud funny … This is writing at its dazzling, cleverest zenith. Think John Fowles, via Paul Auster and Rolling Stone … a feat of extraordinary alchemy.” – Ken Bruen, author of AMERICAN SKIN

“Burke has written a deep, lyrical and moving crime novel … an intoxicating and exciting novel of which the master himself, Flann O’Brien, would be proud.” – Adrian McKinty, author FIFTY GRAND

“Stop waiting for Godot – he’s here. Declan Burke takes the existential dilemma of characters writing themselves and turns it on its ear, and then some. He gives it body and soul … an Irish soul.” – Reed Farrel Coleman, author of EMPTY EVER AFTER

“THE BABY KILLERS is shockingly original and completely entertaining. Post-modern crime fiction at its very best.” – John McFetridge, author of EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE

“A harrowing and yet hilarious examination of the gradual disintegration of a writer’s personality, as well as a damned fine noir novel … Burke has outdone himself this time; it’s a hell of a read.” – Scott Philips, author of THE ICE HARVEST
  So there you have it. The plan is to publish THE BABY KILLERS later this year, with attendant trumpet blasts and the strewing of garlands. In the meantime, and if the spirit so moves you, feel free to pre-order a copy by leaving your name and a contact email address (using (at) rather than @ to confound the spam monkeys) in the comment box below.
  Finally, and at the risk of sounding mawkish, I’d like to thank everyone who has ever expressed an interest in this book. It’s people like you who make all the difference, who give writers like me that most elusive and precious of all commodities in this writing game - hope. God bless you, every one.