Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blessed Am I Amongst Women

The internet really is a wonderful place. You hang out, you meet lovely people, you talk about blowing up hospitals and Kurt Vonnegut. That is to say, you talk about blowing up hospitals, and Kurt Vonnegut. There’ll be no exploding Kurt Vonneguts on these pages, no sirree, ma’am.
  Anyway, Alex Donald was kind enough to host me over at her Multiverse yesterday, where she asked me, among other things, about the meta-fictional elements of ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL and who influenced the novel most, which is when the name Kurt Vonnegut came up. If you’re interested, the interview can be found here
  Alex was also good enough to read and review AZC last week, with the gist of her opinion running thusly:
“Darkly funny, superbly written, meta-fictional and with more than a passing nod to Paul Auster, Flann O’Brien and (dare I say it) Chuck Palahniuk’s FIGHT CLUB, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL l fuses literary and crime fiction to create something utterly original.” - Alex Donald
  I thank you kindly, ma’am.
  Meanwhile, over on the other side of the Atlantic, Elizabeth White hosted a guest post from yours truly on her blog, in which I talked about violence in the crime novel, and how the impact of real-life violence alters what you write - or whether you write at all. It also features such searing insights into the contemporary crime novel as the following:
“Meanwhile, it’s also true that the Irish crime novel, in common with most other territories’ crime novels, has for its structure the basic three-act drama of Greek tragedy. To wit: 1) Things Are Mostly Okay; 2) Things Get Screwed Up and / or Someone Sleeps With His Mom; 3) Things Are Mostly Okay Again.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here
  Not all the internet ladies have been so kind, of course. Over at Good Reads, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is currently thriving on a 4.29 average from 17 ratings. The average would probably be considerably higher had not one Celia Lynch, bless her cotton socks, given the book a one-star rating, even though the book’s status is ‘gave up’. Now, I know there’s absolutely no rules when it comes to internet reviewing, and that the ethics and standards that apply to professional reviewers go out the window, but isn’t it a bit much, regardless of your reviewing status, to award a rating to a book you haven’t had the courtesy to finish? Mind you, I suppose I should feel chuffed; the only other books Celia gave up on were by Joanne Harris and William Burroughs.
  Finally, and for all of you who have been waiting breathlessly for the Tuam Herald verdict on AZC - it’s in. To wit:
“While the character-coming-to-life device is clever enough, the real beauty of this book is the sharp dialogue, the witty vignettes and the well-sharpened digs. The running commentary on the state of the world is priceless … his delightfully jaundiced take on our current ‘reality’ could provide a political primer for any arriving alien unluckily enough to be beamed down here right now.” - Tuam Herald
  For the full report, including the reviewer’s appreciation of Raquel Welch in her fur bikini, clickety-click here
  Finally, this week’s reading: Paul Johnston’s THE SILVER STAIN is the latest Alex Mavros novel, is set on Crete and dabbles in the Nazi invasion of that island in 1941; it’s terrific stuff. I’m also reading THE BOOK OF JOB AS A GREEK TRAGEDY by Horace M. Kallen, which is a hoot and a half; and THE GOLDEN SCALES by Parker Bilal, a private eye tale set in contemporary Cairo that may or may not herald a wave of Egyptian hardboiled noir.
  So there you have it: this week’s AZC flummery in full. Do tune in next week, when we’ll very probably be talking about Sophia Loren, Edward Anderson’s THIEVES LIKE US, the new Donald Westlake novel from Hard Case Crime and what it was like to meet Amanda Hocking (lovely person, very unassuming, big Kurt Vonnegut fan).