“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.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stop The Press: Dublin Dead!

As a title, DUBLIN DEAD may well be the Platonic essence of the current wave of Irish crime writing, quite a lot of which is set in Dublin, and - unsurprisingly - features dead bodies. It’s the second offering from Gerard O’Donovan, following on from his debut PRIEST, and features that novel’s journalist Siobhan Fallon and DI Mike Mulcahy. Quoth the blurb elves:
Journalist Siobhan Fallon needs the help of DI Mike Mulcahy with a story she’s covering about the disappearance of a young woman from Cork. When he agrees, the duo find themselves dragged into the ruthless world of international drug smuggling - and finding a link between the murder of a retired drug dealer in Spain, the suicide of an estate agent in Bristol and a yacht abandoned off the south coast of Ireland. Once again justice and journalism make awkward bedfellows as Mulcahy and Fallon run a desperate race against a remorseless enemy determined to silence the one person alive who knows the truth ...
  Given the number of Irish criminals who operate out of southern Spain, it’s remarkable that it has taken this long for a writer to embrace the Mediterranean as a setting, even in part. Is there anyone out there writing an Irish crime novel set entirely on the south coast of Spain? Or, for that matter, Amsterdam? I know that Ava McCarthy’s forthcoming HIDE ME is set in the Basque region …
  Gerard O’Donovan, incidentally, is yet another former or current Irish journalist turning his hand to crime writing: the list, in no particular order, includes John Connolly, John Banville, Niamh O’Connor, Liz Allen, yours truly, Brian O’Connor, Gene Kerrigan, Colin Bateman, Conor Fitzgerald, Alex Barclay, Ingrid Black, Garbhan Downey and Ruth Dudley Edwards. Is there something about the Fifth Estate that turns a writer’s fancy to blood and gore? Is the daily grind of pursuing facts so punishing that it persuades an unsuspecting scribe to write fiction? Or is it that said authors wanted to be writers all along, and journalism was a substitute in order to earn a crust? Or is it simply the pursuit of the publishing game’s (koff) glamour?
  Answers on a used €50 note to Declan Burke’s Bouchercon Fund, c/o Funny Money Investments Inc., Grand Cayman, The Caribbean, The World. Alternatively, you could just leave a comment in the box below …

3 comments:

Michael Malone said...

my theory is that journalism is much maligned in this day 'n age and novel publication brings a validation that smooths the furrowed and put-upon brow.

Or - the novel was the aim all along and the day job allows you to write for a living until that day dawns. Finally.

lil Gluckstern said...

I think journalism teaches the discipline and certainly provides the background for novels where strange things that do happen in the real world can be tidied up to some degree. It certainly helps the reader who likes to see some form of justice-even if it is only in a book.

Graham Jones said...

The comforts of newspapers and crime novels - and by extension the comforts of being a journo or crime novelist - definitely overlap.

When writers deal with crime and current affairs, i.e. with the depressed score of life beyond them, it's easier for them be stoic and let their philosophy run rampant. It can be deeply reassuring for readers - and certainly isn't a negative thing because it allows the writers feel safe and open up and yields great pieces of work.

But it might be good if more people did what Banville did, just in reverse - i.e. if the crimes in a crime novelist's body of work became smaller and smaller, they might become more and more interesting.