“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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taken, Not Stirred

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself referring frequently to an Irish Top Ten bestsellers list from about two months ago, in which eight of the ten titles were crime fiction. Proof positive of the Irish public’s voracious appetite for crime fiction, although none of the titles, unfortunately, were by Irish writers. Exactly why Irish readers have remained so resistant to the fine body of Irish crime writers is something of a mystery, especially given the best-selling and prize-winning calibre of some of said writers in the US, UK and Germany, in particular.
  The following week, Niamh O’Connor’s TAKEN catapulted into the Top Ten, landing with its feet firmly planted in the # 2 slot. I haven’t read TAKEN yet, but the unnamed reviewer at this link from the Irish Independent (although I suspect that said reviewer is the redoubtable Myles McWeeney) obviously approves. To wit:
“Niamh O’Connor, the true crime editor of the Sunday World, has written five successful true crime books, and burst onto the burgeoning Irish thriller scene last year with her first Jo Birmingham adventure, IF I NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN, which was a best-seller. With TAKEN, O’Connor has pulled off the elusive feat of delivering a second novel that betters the original.”
  O’Connor writes police procedurals, has been compared to Lynda La Plante, and TAKEN bears a blurb from no less a writer than Tess Gerritsen, who acclaims the novel as gripping and terrifying. All of which explains why Niamh O’Connor is one of the few Irish crime writers to crack the Top Ten this year. The Big Question is, why so few others? Answers on a used twenty to Declan Burke’s Funny Money Stash, c/o Dodgy Facilitators Inc., Freeport, Grand Bahama. Or you could just leave a comment …

5 comments:

michael said...

Could it be because crime in an Irish setting is too close to the reader's reality? Maybe people are looking to escape to other places.

Also, what kind of crime novels made the best seller list? Any dark comic crime capers or Irish like noir?

Did you know the top three American TV series in the world market (according to DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD) is CSI, CSI - MIAMI, and HOUSE? All are procedural dramas.

Josh Schrank said...

Dec, I don't know about Irish TV, but if its programming is anything like American TV, one cause of Irish crime being absent from the top ten list may be over-saturation from a the television media. If you cut out all of the cop shows and reality shows in American broadcasting TV, you'd be left with... um, a lot of static. I know over here I barely crack a crime novel anymore. There is just too much of that topic being pushed at us.

Declan Burke said...

Gents - I hear what you're saying, but if that was the case, no one would ever read a crime novel, anywhere. And as far as I know, although I'm happy to be corrected, it's the most popular kind of fiction. So what's happening? Is everyone reading crime fiction set somewhere other than their own country?

Cheers, Dec

michael said...

Confusing people just because I asked a question, then asked another that had nothing to do with the first question.

Procedural mysteries, from my point of view, seem to dominate the crime best seller lists at the moment. Did O'Connor make the list for being Irish or as a writer of a crime procedural?

How much does location or nationality of the writer play in readers' choices? Isn't story form and characters more important?

Josh Schrank said...

Happy to be corrected?? Um, does Mrs. GV know about this?