“I didn’t set out to write crime fiction,” says Louise Phillips, “but pretty early on I realised my writing tended to inhabit darker places.”For the rest, clickety-click here …
Never judge a book by its cover, they say. Neither should you judge one by its title. Anyone expecting RED RIBBONS, the debut novel from Irish writer Louise Phillips, to be a frothy chick lit concoction with the ribbons wrapping a Cupid’s bow around the latest forgettable romance is in for a shock.
Here, the red ribbons are braided into the hair of dead schoolgirls discovered in makeshift graves in the Dublin Mountains. The novel is not based on any specific true crimes, but the storyline can veer at times uncomfortably close to reality.
“I think the fear of ‘the bad man’, whom ever he might be, and how we can recognise him in all his many guises, has changed considerably in modern Ireland,” says Louise. “This is one of the central themes in RED RIBBONS. In Ireland, we’re all too aware of the sins of the past, but even in today’s world, where the protection of our children has never been more to the forefront, are we really equipped to recognise this danger?”
It is in the asking and answering of such questions that novels are born.
“I think writers and readers are often drawn to crime fiction for the same reason,” says Louise, “a desire to understand those who live by a different set of rules to our own. It is far more than macabre curiosity, or exploration for exploration’s sake. Crime writing at its best doesn’t simply look into the dark. It inhabits both the light and dark within all of us, asking big questions. Like, how would we cope given a particular set of circumstances?”
“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, August 26, 2012
Louise Phillips’ debut RED RIBBONS (Hachette Ireland) will be arriving on a shelf near you very shortly, and will be officially launched on September 5th at the Hughes & Hughes store in Dublin’s Stephen’s Green shopping centre. Yesterday I had an interview with Louise published in the Evening Herald, which kicked off an awful lot like this: