“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On Bottling The Spirit Of Raymond Chandler

We may not have brought home the proverbial bacon from the Irish Book Awards on Thursday night, losing out in the Crime Novel category to Tana French’s excellent BROKEN HARBOUR, but it’s fair to say that the weekend wasn’t entirely wasted. On Thursday, the Irish Times published a Christmas gifts supplement, in which a number of writers were asked to suggest books as presents. BROKEN HARBOUR was among Marian Keyes’ picks, as was THE LAST GIRL by Jane Casey and GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, although she opened up, bless her cotton socks, with SLAUGHTER’S HOUND. To wit:
“SLAUGHTER’S HOUND starts with a body diving from a building and a car exploding, and the action doesn’t let up until the last line. But what sets this novel apart is its tone, which is being called ‘Irish noir’: it’s dead-pan and sardonic, and although it’s often very, very funny, this is a grim and gritty read.” - Marian Keyes, Irish Times
  I was, as you can imagine, absolutely delighted by that - it does ye olde confidence no harm at all to have a writer of Marian Keyes’ calibre say such things.
  In the same section, incidentally, John Connolly picked CREOLE BELLE by James Lee Burke, LIVE BY NIGHT by Dennis Lehane and HHhH by Laurence Binet - with all of which I heartily concur.
  Then, today, the Sunday Times published its annual selection of the year’s finest books, and lo! SLAUGHTER’S HOUND popped up in the ‘standout works of genre fiction’, being the Crime Fiction choice. To wit:
“It takes a writer of rare skill to make modern-day Sligo feel like 1940s California, but Declan Burke has clearly bottled the spirit of Raymond Chandler for SLAUGHTER’S HOUND. When Harry Rigby sees his best friend dive off a building onto his taxi - blowing up a load of grass in the process - the former private eye is launched into a dark, twisting screwball caper of gang bosses, a rich family in the clutches of Nama, a fiery Cypriot beauty, and a very unsympathetic detective.” - Kristoffer Mullin, Sunday Times
  So there you have it. SLAUGHTER’S HOUND, by the way, has just been published in the US and Canada, and has picked up four five-star reviews to date. If you’ve read the book and liked it, and have the time and inclination to say so, I’d really appreciate your review over here. I thank you kindly …

1 comment:

Dana King said...

It's good to see SLAUGHTER'S HOUND getting the recognition it deserves. Also note, the Amazon reviews to date are from people with the conviction to use their names and not post as "dickweek278." Amazon might want to consider weighting their reviews by that standard, where someone willing to put their own name out there gets twice as much weight as the anonymous potential sock puppet.