“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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Best Things In Life Are Free … Books

He’s a nice guy, Eoin Colfer. I sat down with him last week to interview him about PLUGGED, and was more than a little disconcerted to realise that he looks - with a new and neatly trimmed beard (not pictured, right) - not unlike Al Pacino’s younger brother. The quietly spoken one, who doesn’t need to beat his chest and hoo-yah! every five minutes.
  The result of that conversation will be turning up one these pages in a couple of days from now, but as always, many important things got left behind on the cutting floor when the interview went to press. Here’s Eoin on Ken Bruen, to whom PLUGGED is dedicated:
“The story I tell is that he’s the only writer I’ve ever written a fan-letter to. This was before I knew him. When I read THE GUARDS, I just couldn’t believe it, because you’re expecting one thing - and you get that - but you also get so much more. What I like about Jack Taylor is that he doesn’t really do anything, he just kind of walks around and goes to the pub, and things just happen to him. On occasion he’ll make the effort, but you’re basically rambling around Galway with this guy, and yet it’s incredibly entertaining and also touching, and you just know that it isn’t going to end well. It’s a bitter-sweet thing. If you read that series of books and someone comes into it you like, just don’t get attached to them, because if Jack likes them, they’re doomed. So it’s a weird way to read a series. It’s a bit like the way Dickens wrote about London, when people were afraid to like his characters, in case Charles decided to kill them off (laughs). So yeah, I’m a huge Ken fan. It’s just a nod, but then I wouldn’t want to copy him, even if I could. He’s copied so much now, and that’s when you know you’ve made an impact. He’s a real writers’ writer. I travel around the States a lot, and every crime store you go to, they love him. People here don’t realise how popular he is. Everybody loves Ken. An incredibly generous man, too, with his praise and his time, and his willingness to work with other people.”
  Hard to argue with that. I liked PLUGGED a lot, by the way. Here’s an excerpt from the review I wrote for the Irish Times:
“The result is a gloriously ramshackle comedy crime caper; as a narrative vehicle, the story is a getaway car careering downhill and losing wheels at every corner. Colfer, however, is too experienced a storyteller to get carried away himself. The propulsive chaos masks a palpable appreciation of the crime novel itself, not simply in terms of his playful subversion of the genre’s tropes, but also in Colfer’s willingness to warp the parameters of what is essentially a conservative narrative form.”
  Anyway, after the interview was finished, Eoin asked if I’d like a signed copy of PLUGGED to give away on Crime Always Pays. Erm, yes, please. To be in with a chance of winning said tome, just answer the following question:
PLUGGED is Eoin Colfer’s first foray into adult crime fiction. What non-crime author would you like to see turning his or her hand to crime writing, and why?
  Answers via the comment box, please, leaving a contact email address, using (at) rather than @ to confound the spam monkeys. The closing date is noon on Friday, May 19th. Et bon chance, mes amis …