“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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL: The ‘Publishers Weekly’ Verdict Is In

Well, now. You’ll excuse me, I hope, for running two ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL-related posts in a row, but I woke this morning to a very nice early Christmas present indeed. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, AZC has gone off on its travels to the North American continent; and while the book has received a very gentle handling on this side of the Atlantic, so far at least, I did wonder as to how it might be received in the spiritual home of the hard-boiled crime novel.
  Here’s hoping that the first review sets the tone, because Publishers Weekly has stepped into the breach early, with its verdict running thusly:
In this ambitious meta-thriller from Irish author Burke (THE BIG O), the unnamed narrator, a stand-in for the author, meets a character from an unfinished novel of his, Karlsson, “a hospital porter who assisted old people who wanted to die.” Karlsson, who now likes to be called Billy, is intent on blowing up the hospital with everyone in it, but he has more cerebral concerns. Author and character meet again and again in online chatfests, where they discuss their options, and soon start Sermo Vulgus, a novel-within-the-novel. Should fictional characters live, die, or never be born? Burke sprinkles his way-outside-the-box noir with quotes from Beckett, Bukowski, and other literary names as he explores the nature of writing and the descent of personal darkness. Those looking for a highly intellectual version of Stephen King’s THE DARK HALF will be most satisfied. (Feb.) - Publishers Weekly
  Crikey. Stephen King? ‘Ambitious meta-thriller’? ‘Highly intellectual’? That’s the Christmas ruined for everyone around me. I’ll be bloody insufferable after that little lot …
  Meanwhile, one of the hardest working men in crime fiction, J. Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet and January Magazine fame, includes DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS in his round-up of the best ‘books—all of which were published this year, but none of which has yet seen print in the States—that would be worth your crossing the Atlantic to buy’ for the Kirkus Reviews blog. Herewith be the gist:
“Using essays, interviews and short stories, DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS seeks to prove the distinctiveness of Irish crime writing (that its DNA, for instance, includes “extra chromosomes for metaphor, legend and wit,” to quote from Michael Connelly’s introduction) at the same time as it makes the case that mysteries concocted by authors who bleed Guinness can be appreciated by readers who live half a world away from the Old Sod.”
  For all of J. Kingston Pierce’s choices, clickety-click here

4 comments:

bookwitch said...

You are excused. It's Christmas. And it's quite a nice book you have, after all.

Dana King said...

Excuse you for running two AZC posts in a row? A less humble person would be running multiple posts a day, at the rate kudos are gathering for the book.

Well done.

lil Gluckstern said...

After all that work? Well earned and enjoy!

Declan Burke said...

Much obliged, folks. It's a very nice buzz indeed ...

Cheers, Dec