“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.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Thomas Mogford

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?
DIRTY TRICKS by Michael Dibdin. A stand-alone novel, rather than one of the ‘Zen’ series, it pulls off the near-impossible trick of making a thoroughly reprehensible main character utterly likeable. As someone who was brought up in Oxford, and has taught more than his fair share of foreign language classes, I felt a worrying sense of solidarity when the venal owner of language school receives a rather shocking comeuppance ...

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Keith Talent from Martin Amis’s LONDON FIELDS. Indefatigability and darts skills.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t often feel guilty about reading books. Free magazines and certain online newspapers, maybe…

Most satisfying writing moment?
When my wife reads something I’ve written, and doesn’t have a hint of a look that says ‘This could be better …’.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
DIVORCING JACK by Colin Bateman. My wife’s family are from Belfast, and this book convinced me that at any point while visiting them I would be kidnapped and trussed-up in a tower block. Still hasn’t happened, unfortunately …

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Irish-written, rather than Irish-set, but THE DOGS OF ROME by Conor Fitzgerald. Dog fights, mafia double dealings, all with the shimmering seedy backdrop of Rome… I’d buy a multiplex ticket for that.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is experiencing a scene as you write it in a way that is almost as intense as living it. The worst is the crippling sense of uncertainty as to whether that scene is any good.

The pitch for your next book is …?
Gibraltarian lawyer Spike Sanguinetti travels to Malta after the deaths of his uncle and aunt. What appears to be a blood-soaked murder-suicide turns out a great deal more dark and sinister…

Who are you reading right now?
An English translation of the crime novel BRENNER AND GOD by Wolf Haas. Gives the lie to the fact that German-speakers can’t be funny and cool.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I think write, so as to try and pen poems to persuade Him to increase our daily rations of manna.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
The Times called SHADOW OF THE ROCK, ‘Evocative, engrossing and entertaining’, so if I can be forgiven the hideous self-promotion, I’ll go for that.

Thomas Mogford’s SHADOW OF THE ROCK is published by Bloomsbury

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