Elsewhere, Mrs Lovely Wife presented me with a Kindle to mark the occasion. A strange feeling: why should I feel like a traitor for liking my birthday present so much? Anyway, the early signs are good, and the actual reading experience was so positive that it was only afterwards I realised I’d had no issues with reading off a machine. Unsurprising, perhaps, when I spend 10-12 hours per day reading off machines, but I was worried that the Kindle might somehow make the reading of books a more mechanical or clinical experience than reading good old-fashioned dead trees. Not so.
Naturally, the first ebook I downloaded was EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, mainly because I’ve been plugging the bejasus out of said tome for the last few weeks, and I wanted to make sure it looked the part, and that no one is being cheated when they fork over their hard-earned $0.99c or £0.86p.
The readers’ reviews suggest that they’re not, and pardon me for a moment while I dust down ye olde trumpet and give it a lung-bursting blast. There have been four readers’ reviews to date, which isn’t a lot, but I’ll take quality over quantity any day, and they’ve all been five-star big-ups. Here’s the skinny from Kindle UK:
Eightball Masterclass *****And, over on Kindle US:
“You want a book with heart, humour and brains then look no further than EIGHTBALL BOOGIE … I am quite frankly in awe of Declan Burke’s ability with a sentence. His writing is at turns lyrical and succinct; his dialogue snaps in your ear and his characters are so real they stay in your head long after you’ve turned the last page. Simply can’t praise this writer enough. Get yourself a copy now!” - Michael Malone
Boogie On Down *****
“Harry Rigby. Great protagonist. Wish I had his knack for one-liners. They’re a defining feature of the novel. I didn’t do a formal count, but there has to be at least a couple of wisecracks on every page. Wise mouth, cocky attitude, low self-esteem … I loved the book.” - Gerard Brennan
An Irish Crime Classic *****
“Much has been written about the new wave of quality crime fiction coming out of Ireland at the moment and arguably, EIGHTBALL BOOGIE is the novel that kicked it all off. EIGHTBALL is a blistering amalgam of hardboiled, Irish noir reminiscent of Chandler, Hammett, Willeford or Elmore Leonard but wholly unique and wholly Irish at the same time. In EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, Burke is one of the first writers to recognise just how ‘noir’ life can be in Irish towns - Ken Bruen is another … What elevates EIGHTBALL BOOGIE to its status as a small classic of Irish crime writing, however, is its prescience. In its portrait of an Ireland at the height of its slow, self-satisfied orgy of consumption - of cocaine, dodgy property deals, dodgier sex, Mercs and facelifts (EIGHTBALL does them all well and more) - it is as if the novel was written with the coming crash in mind. EIGHTBALL BOOGIE is witty, hilarious at times, violent, biting social commentary which also manages to be a little bit sad and brilliant at the same time. An outrider for the sub-genre of Irish crime fiction and a small classic of the genre. Buy it.” - Kevin McCarthy
Noir at its Finest *****I thank you all kindly, folks. Meanwhile, if you’re of a mind to dip a metaphorical toe into EIGHTBALL but don’t own a Kindle, there’s always the option of getting a paperback copy for free (plus postage & packaging). For more, clickety-click here …
“At times the book is like a phantasmagoria, with vivid characters and lurid scenes appearing out of the murky Northwest Ireland winter, and fading again. The dialogue sparkles with one-line zingers, the exposition (descriptions of snow, ice, winter) is perfect, and the sense of menace is all-pervading. A scintillating read -highly recommended.” - Frank McGrath
So there it is. The title of this post will give most of you a fair idea of how old I am, although I have to say I’m a tad disappointed that the wisdom of the ages and / or cosmos has yet to seep through. Maybe that comes after the cake.