“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, March 23, 2011

Life, The Universe And Everything

It’s my birthday today, according to Facebook, and if Facebook says so then it must be true. The best present of the day actually arrived last night, when I went in to check on the sleeping Princess Lilyput (right), and discovered that, like her silly ol’ Dad, she just doesn’t know when to quit on a good book.
  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 *****
“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
  And, over on Kindle US:
Noir at its Finest *****
“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
  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
  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.

16 comments:

bookwitch said...

41?

Pleased you could make it over to Bookwitch as well, given all the cake and Kindle chores of the day. And you've brought that girl up so well...

Glenna said...

That is one precious picture. Have a great birthday and enjoy that Kindle.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dec, and love that photo of the princess.
Arlene

Dana King said...

Happy birthday, sir. I was a Kindle holdout until I bought one for my mother and her diminished eyesight. Now I have one and love it.

Not trading in my paper copies of EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, THE BIG O, or, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS. Those are keepers.

Naomi Johnson said...

Have a frabjous day!

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Happy Birthday and great news about Eightball!

Ray said...

Happy birthday, y'auld bastard. Consider another one sold. Don't say I don't do nowt for ya.

Declan Burke said...

Much obliged, folks - as someone even older than me once said, you've made an old man very happy.

Ray - word (aka your latest blurb) has it you're now hanging out in Al Guthrie country. WTF, dude, etc.?

Cheers, Dec

Anonymous said...

I just finished The Big O (on paper) and enjoyed it very much. I do have a copy of Eightball Boogie but it is in French - I've since learned to look more closely at the product details on Amazon - and seems to be the only version available from the the usual online retailers in Canada.

Anyway - the reason for posting is just to say I enjoyed the book and to keep at keeping at. From following you blog for the past year or so I know you have been questioning whether it was time to give up but given your talent and the support you seem to be getting from other writers I'm absolutely sure that you will find an audience.

Regards,
M. Ilard
(A Canuck thorougly enjoying the Celtic Noir wave)

Anonymous said...

Cheque coming soon for the paper copy of Eightball. Missed the original post so thanks for the link in your latest post.

As an aside - am I the only one that was hoping for Rossi to get away clean in the Big O - for an eyeball popping psychopath I found him kind of endearing.

Again,
M. Ilard

Craig said...

We can expect a review of the 12 Princess Stories, yes?

Ah, and Happy Birthday!

seana said...

Happy birthday--although one of those social networking sites tells me that it's my sister's birthday when it's actually Mother's Day, I'm assuming you actually have some idea of the date.

Working in an indie bookstore, I obviously have conflicted feelings about Kindle, but as a reader, I'm basically happy to hear people are reading at all.

I was thinking about why I still like print books, and it's partly the separation from the digital, electronic, virtual world they provide.

I know. So old school.

bookwitch said...

M. Ilard - you need to read Crime Always Pays. The book, not the blog, obviously. Although reading the blog is also very nice. Plenty more on Rossi in CAP.

Ray said...

Dec - Yep, I'm back in Embra. I heard there was a shortage of crime writers up here. I was horribly misinformed.

Declan Burke said...

M. Illard - Many thanks for the kind words, for the books and the blog. As Ms Witch kindly points out, Rossi features quite heavily in the sequel to The Big O, Crime Always Pays - in fact, the book opens with him. I'm with you - the longer the story went on, the more I came to like the guy, or at least commiserate with his circumstances.

Seana - That's a pretty good point you make, about books being a way to get away from the digital world. I'm still far more comfortable with books than the e-reader - I think I'll always love books more. Still, in this day and age, when time is my enemy, convenience is a massive element of anything I do.

Ray - I think what they were saying was, the crime writers in Edinburgh are short. A few strapping six-footers is exactly what that city is looking for ...

Cheers, Dec

kathy d. said...

Happy birthday!

Best wishes with Eightball being a stunning success!

And, congratulations on bringing up a young, enthusiastic reader! Way to go! Gosh, does she ever have book adventures in her future!