“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.

Friday, June 10, 2011

On Log-Rolling In An Istanbul Smoking Lounge

I was in the smoking lounge at Istanbul Airport a couple of weeks ago, as isn’t my wont, during a layover for our flight to Northern Cyprus, when I got an email from Kevin McCarthy, he of PEELER fame, that pretty much made my holiday even before it properly began. I’d given Kevin an m/s of my forthcoming ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL as part of my ongoing campaign to generate blurbs that might pique readers’ interest, with the proviso that if he didn’t like it, he was perfectly entitled to assert his right to remain silent and / or take the Fifth. I should also point out, in the interests of accountability and transparency, that I liked Kevin’s debut PEELER very much, and said so when I reviewed it for the Irish Times, and that I’ve since met with him a few times and shared a couple of beers. So you might want to factor in all the potential for log-rolling when I present Kevin’s verdict below. To wit:
“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is that rarest of things - a novel that makes you stop and think and scramble to finish at the same time. A novel of ideas as well as a first rate thriller, it sees Burke stretching the crime thriller genre until it snaps and then sewing it back together with some of the finest prose and funniest dialogue you’ll encounter this year. It’s a novel that reveals the perverse combination of anomie and lunatic optimism that all novelists feel when in the throes of creation. A brilliant x-ray revealing Greene’s shard of ice in the heart of every writer; the secret sharer in the dark cabin of the novelist’s imagination. Quite simply, one of the finest Irish novels written in a long time.” - Kevin McCarthy
  So there you have it. I thank you kindly, sir.
  By the way, the inimitable Critical Mick reviewed PEELER over at his interweb lair recently, with the verdict running thusly:
“Speaking as both a history nerd and a book nerd, there’s nothing better than discovering a new novelist who completely satisfies both interests. Kevin McCarthy has interwoven literature and historical research, fiction and reality. PEELER is a cracking good tale - an eye-opener in many ways. Consider it personally recommended from me to you - PEELER is the first addition to Critical Mick’s list of Best Books Read in 2011.”
  Meanwhile, and just as my spirits were flagging out in Cyprus, I got a google alert for Eoin Colfer, which proved to be an interview with Eoin published by Kirkus Reviews. The relevant (to me, at least) gist ran thusly:
PLUGGED nails that staccato noir style that keep crime novelists and airport bookstores in business. Stylistically, where do you draw inspiration for the writing of this novel?

“I have been immersing myself in this style for decades and for at least one of those would not read anything but crime. If nobody died horribly, I did not want to know. Of course I loved the classics, but we have our own classics standing the test of time right now: Michael Connelly and John Connolly, Ken Bruen, Mark Billingham, Ridley Pearson, Carl Hiaasen, Declan Burke, Colin Bateman … I want to get on a shelf with these guys and take a photo.” - Eoin Colfer
  Steady on, Tiger! Oh, you mean you want to take a photo of the books … right.
  Anyway, you can take it that I’m pretty damn flattered to be mentioned in such august company. Providing, of course, that Eoin wasn’t confusing me with either Declan Hughes or Edmund Burke. Which happens more often that you’d think. The latter, mostly.
  The Big Question: is log-rolling the new Irish national pastime and / or only growth industry in these benighted times, and should we lobby for it to be introduced as an Olympic sport? Over to you, people …

2 comments:

Darlynne said...

I don't know anything about log-rolling, but I can recognize a great blurb when I see one. Congratulations on both counts, from Messrs. McCarthy and Colfer. And not an exclamation mark in sight, which always seems like the wink at the end of a glowing review, putting the lie to it.

I'm new to your work and website, but The Big O is in my TBR stack and I'm eager to get started.

Declan Burke said...

Darlynne -

I thank you kindly, ma'am. And do let me know how The Big O treats you ...

Cheers, Dec