“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.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Books As Hangover Cures

Blogger extraordinaire and Spinetingler Award nominee Paul D. Brazill did me up a treat yesterday, when he put together his list of ‘Ten Crime Books To Cure Your Hangover’ for the Mulholland blog. For lo! The name of Declan Burke appeared not once but twice. To wit:
5&6. THE BIG O / CRIME ALWAYS PAYS by Declan Burke

THE BIG O and its follow up CRIME ALWAYS PAYS actually are that oxymoron ‘screwball noir’. These novels are two cracking, fast-paced, clever and very droll road movies with a top drawer cast that includes a narcoleptic called Sleeps and a one eyed wolf. Twists and turns, spicy dialogue and scenes which really make you ‘LOL’, as the young people say.
  Sweet. Thank you kindly, Mr Brazill. For the full list of hangover-curing books, clickety-click here
  Mind you, it’s a yin/yang world. The Mulholland blog linked through to the Good Reads website, and upon investigating further, I discovered that a certain Marta had rated THE BIG O a one-star read, her review in its entirety declaring that THE BIG O was - and I quote - ‘WORST book i have ever read. Period.’ A damning enough review in itself, of course, and deliciously scathing in its semi-punctuated contempt, but matters are further clarified by the fact that Marta has awarded four- and five-star reviews to novels featuring teenage wizards, teenage vampires and sundry tomes variously titled I GAVE YOU MY HEART BUT YOU SOLD IT ONLINE, MY HEART MIGHT BE BROKEN BUT MY HAIR STILL LOOKS GREAT, IDA B AND HER PLANS TO MAXIMISE FUN, AVOID DISASTER AND (POSSIBLY) SAVE THE WORLD, and THE EARTH, MY BUTT AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS.
  So there you have it. Hopefully Marta will like my next novel, I WAS A NEUROTIC TEENAGE VAMPIRE WIZARD FROM OUTER SPACE BUT AT LEAST I HAD THE KARDASHIANS, a little more.
  If not, well, it just goes to prove that you can’t fool all the people all the time. A salutary lesson, indeed.

6 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul D. Brazill said...

Thanks for the hat tip and the help with the hangover.I deleted my last comment, by the way, because it made me sound dodgy!

Dana King said...

I understand the important role reader/reviewers will play for the foreseeable future, but sites that use their reviews would do well to add a little bio of the reviewer at the bottom. Not the usual BS, more along the lines of that person's five (or ten) favorite books or authors. So the rest of us can know if she has a clue.

I would never dream of reviewing romance, or witches, or vampires, but apparently there are a lot of people who lack my restraint. Yep, that's what all my friends say. "That Dana King, he's one restrained gobshite."

michael said...

Dec, as a critic yourself, don't you think writers worry too much over reviews? Do you really think anyone would ignore all the good reviews and decided not to buy the book because Marta didn't like it?

But then look at bestsellers Patterson and Evanovich. They must get nothing but five stars from everyone.

It is nice the Mulholland blog noticed your work. Be sure to include that the next time you submit to Mulholland publishing.

Declan Burke said...

To paraphrase Wilde, Dana - restraint in everything, except restraint.

Michael - I think reviews are pretty important to writers, certainly - they can be a good barometer for a writer as to where he or she is going right or wrong; and of course, enough positive reviews can have a positive effect on sales, and ensure the writer will have another book on the shelf in the future.

To be fair to Marta, I think people who like the kinds of books she likes might think twice about picking up The Big O if she gives it one star; these days, everyone is entitled to broadcast their opinion. My issue with Marta is the brevity of her dismissal; I certainly didn't learn anything from the 'review'. Maybe a better example would be Maddy, who gave the book three stars, and then took the time and effort to explain why. To be honest, and with all due respect to Marta, I'd be much more disappointed with Maddy's review, because Maddy Van Hertbruggen is a woman who knows her crime fiction inside-out, and has a very good reputation as a reviewer and / or critic.

That said, no book is going to please everyone; that's a given before you even start. And I don't believe the really good reviews either, for that matter ...

Cheers, Dec

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