“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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Painting A Very Different Canvas

I know very little about the world of professional wrestling other than it is as fake as it is slick, a fictional world in which one of the greatest gifts is the ability, metaphorically speaking, to convincingly pull a punch as you plant your opponent on the canvas.
  Paul O’Brien’s debut novel BLOOD RED TURNS DOLLAR GREEN is set in a very different wrestling world, albeit one that is no less contrived, and from the blurb it sounds as if very few punches are being pulled. To wit:
1972, New York City, and a dazed Lenny Long walks away from a crash carrying someone’s foot in his hand. He is also searching for the VIP passenger who has somehow disappeared from the back of his overturned van. It’s the first day of his new promotion and Lenny has less than twenty minutes to deliver the missing person or a lot of people are going to get badly hurt. Danno Garland is in Shea Stadium trying to avoid a riot. He’s coming to the end of the most successful wrestling card of all time but he’s also coming to the realisation that he might not be able to deliver his widely hyped main event. He knows there’s more than just the eyes of the stadium looking at him and if Lenny doesn’t arrive soon, blood is going to be sought. probably his. Proctor King nervously watches the show on TV, wondering why his fuck-up of a son doesn’t already have the Heavyweight Championship in his hands. Arranging this match has taken Proctor four years of pay-offs, double dealing and bone breaking to arrange. If all that effort has been wasted then he might just have to take him a business trip to New York. Lenny, Danno and Proctor. Three men with pieces of the puzzle but none with the full picture. When they do piece it all together, the ‘fake’ world of professional wrestling is going to get very real.
  Sounds good, right? Well, don’t take the blurb elves’ word for it. Here’s the inimitable Eoin Colfer with his big-up of BLOOD RED TURNS DOLLAR GREEN. Roll it there, Collette …

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