“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, August 3, 2012

Another Fine Messi

There’s nothing like sport to heal political wounds, and Garbhan Downey’s latest tome, ACROSS THE LINE (Guildhall Press), is nothing like a novel eulogising sport as a political wound-healer. Instead, Derry’s premier satirist and comedy crime caperist employs football - that’s ‘soccer’ to those of you on the North American continent - to point up how, in post-Peace Process Norn Iron, sport is (pace Orwell) war without the guns but only until such time as it becomes actual war. Quoth the blurb elves:
It’s more than fifteen years since the Irish ceasefires, and the natives are happy to grow fat grazing on the peace dividend. Well, most of them at least. Truth is, Harry the Hurler – former chief executive of The Boys Inc – is bored. So when his old adversary Switchblade Vic proposes a little bet over a football tournament, what’s the worst that can happen? Okay ... apart from a full-blown litany of bombings, murder, and a lurid plot to blackmail the British Prime Minister into redrawing the Northern border? In two beats of a Lambeg drum, all sides are back to their old villainy, and the streets are littered with more stray limbs than Sex in the City. Rival team managers Dee-Dee Dunne and Gigi McCormick have but one goal: to play fair – and stay married in the process.
  So there you have it. ‘A superb blend of comedy, political dirty tricks, grisly murder and bizarre twists!’ says the Sunday World, and who knows about such things better than the Sunday World? Eh?
  For a brief extract from ACROSS THE LINE, clickety-click here

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