“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “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.

Friday, March 2, 2012

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Paul Johnston

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...

What crime novel would you most like to have written?
It changes on a daily basis - today, Michael Dibdin’s DEAD LAGOON. (Sorry, Raymond Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP, James Ellroy’s WHITE JAZZ, Ian Rankin’s BLACK AND BLUE, Robert Wilson’s A SMALL DEATH IN LISBON, James Lee Burke’s IN THE ELECTRIC MIST WITH THE CONFEDERATE DEAD - best title award, and John Connolly’s THE KILLING KIND.)

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
It would have been Sherlock H, but he’s been debased by modern revamps. So how about the Continental Op, with fewer pounds and more hair?

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
*Inhales deeply* Tolkien.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Finishing THE LAST RED DEATH (2003), my novel about terrorism in Greece. I’d been feeling like shit and it turned out I had a very nasty cancer (called ‘Thatcher’). Nearly didn’t see publication day...

The best Irish crime novel is …?
Aha! I won’t embarrass you by saying ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL (oops, I just did), so I’ll go for Eoin McNamee’s RESURRECTION MAN.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Well, they screwed up RESURRECTION MAN big time. I think Alan Glynn’s WINTERLAND fits the bill.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The blank page or screen/ the last hours of writing a novel, when everything - unbelievably - comes together.

The pitch for your next book is …?
THE GREEN LADY - Athens 2004: the Olympic Games, the eyes of the world, and a major industrialist’s daughter goes missing. Think Persephone, Hades and all hell breaking loose around PI Alex Mavros ...

Who are you reading right now?
David Lodge’s A MAN OF PARTS, about H.G. Wells - disappointingly little about the great SF books, mainly because ‘HG’ wasn’t shagging anything that moved when he wrote them. Crime novels I’ve read recently are Peter May’s THE BLACKHOUSE (over-rated), Christa Faust’s MONEY SHOT (not as revealing about the making of porn movies as I’d hoped ), Tony Black’s TRUTH LIES BLEEDING (good), Megan Abbott’s QUEENPIN (excellent) and Joyce Carol Oates’ ZOMBIE (the last word on serial killers and squirm-inducing, in a good way).

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
God? Who s/he? Anyway, obviously ‘write’. Then I could read what I’d written, thus sneakily defeating your conundrum.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Political, fast-paced, violent. (Oh, and on the grounds that no one expects the Irish Inquisition, deep.)

Paul Johnston’s THE SILVER STAIN is published by Crème de la Crime.

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