“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.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wham, Bram, Thank You Ma’am

The Bram Stoker Festival takes place in Dublin from October 26th to 28th, featuring all things Dracula-related. One of the highlights will undoubtedly be the appearance of Patricia Cornwell, who will argue that the serial killer is literature’s contemporary take on the vampire. To wit:
Patricia Cornwell, whose bestselling novels have elevated her to the highest rank of international crime writing, will discuss ways in which the serial killer has become, in some sense, a modern-day equivalent of the vampire. Fear is the currency of the contemporary crime writer just as it was for the writers of Victorian gothic fiction. Bram Stoker’s DRACULA exploited the Victorians’ dread of the supernatural just as the crime thriller excites our fear of sudden murderous violence. By comparing characters, plots and stories to her own Scarpetta books, the author will illuminate those dark corners of the human psyche which, regardless of time and place, harbour and nourish our deepest human fears. Patricia Cornwell’s latest novel in the Scarpetta series, BONE BED, is published in October and she will be signing copies of the book after the event.
  That event takes place on Friday 26th October at the Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College, at 7.30pm. For all the details on how to book tickets, and the rest of the events planned for the Bram Stoker Festival, clickety-click here

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Bring Grave News

It isn’t due until next April, unfortunately, but if the third in Alan Glynn’s ‘loose-trilogy of conspiracy thrillers’, GRAVELAND (Faber & Faber), is on a par with WINTERLAND and BLOODLAND, we’re all in for a treat. Quoth the blurb elves:
In the final part of Alan Glynn’s spectacular loose-trilogy of conspiracy thrillers, someone is assassinating the most powerful players in the global financial markets.
  A Wall Street investment banker is shot dead while jogging in Central Park. Later that night, one of the savviest hedge-fund managers in the city is gunned down outside a fancy Upper West Side restaurant. Are these killings part of a coordinated terrorist attack, or just coincidence? Investigative journalist Ellen Dorsey has a hunch that it’s neither. Days later, when an attempt is made on the life of another CEO, the story blows wide open ...
  Racing to stay ahead of the curve, Ellen encounters Frank Bishop, a recession-hit architect, whose daughter has gone missing. The search for Lizzie and her boyfriend takes Frank and Ellen from a quiet campus to the blazing spotlight of a national media storm - and into the devastating crucible of a personal and a public tragedy.
  Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows once again is James Vaughn, legendary CEO of private equity firm the Oberon Capital Group. Despite his failing health, Vaughan is refusing to give up control easily, and we soon see just how far-reaching and pervasive his influence really is.
  Set deep in the place where corrupt global business and radical politics clash, Alan Glynn’s GRAVELAND is an explosive and hugely topical thriller.
  If you haven’t read either of the previous two novels, by the way, I can heartily recommend both - BLOODLAND, of course, won the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year at last year’s Irish Book Awards, and deservedly so.
  Incidentally, the cover of GRAVELAND - the image above suggests that it’ll be the US cover - carried a very nice encomium from a certain George Pelecanos, who declares the novel to be, ‘A terrific read … completely involving.’ So there you have it - if it’s good enough for George Pelecanos, etc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Lost Girls

Claire McGowan’s debut THE FALL caused something of a stir when it was published earlier this year, prompting no less an authority than Peter James to declare that, ‘Claire McGowan will undoubtedly become a major name in crime fiction.’ Her follow-up novel, THE LOST (Headline), will be published in April of next year, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Not everyone who’s missing is lost.
  When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker.

Not everyone who’s lost wants to be found.
  Surrounded by people and places she tried to forget, Paula digs into the cases as the truth twists further away. What’s the link with two other disappearances from 1985? And why does everything lead back to the town’s dark past - including the reasons her own mother went missing years before?

Nothing is what it seems.
  As the shocking truth is revealed, Paula learns that sometimes, it’s better not to find what you’ve lost.
  THE FALL was set in London but THE LOST is set in Claire’s native Northern Ireland, making it another title to add to the growing list of post-Troubles narratives that are set in the present but keep one eye on the past. In unleashing a forensic psychologist on the pathologies of 1980’s Northern Ireland, Claire may well be akin to pointing Pandora towards a firmly sealed box - especially as, in Northern Ireland, the words ‘lost’, ‘missing’ and ‘disappeared’ are interchangeable to a chilling degree. All in all, it’s a tantalising prospect.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Top Katz

The Irish edition of the Sunday Times Culture section has become a terrific source of new Irish crime and mystery novels of late, and yesterday they carried another review of a debut Irish crime writer, John O’Keeffe’s SEARCHING FOR AMI (Red Rock Press). The gist runs thusly:
“O’Keeffe, a Dublin GP, adeptly handles the nuances of the political situation in Israel / Palestine … The bulk of the book - a pacy page-turner - focuses on Harry’s quest to find Ami dead or alive … O’Keeffe is to be commended for a polished debut, which maintains its tension and has some fine passages.” - Ciaran Byrne, Sunday Times
  So there you have it. SEARCHING FOR AMI is published by Red Rock Press, whose blurb elves have been wibbling thusly:
In the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an American woman and her daughter Ami are caught up in a brutally efficient guerrilla attack on a Jewish settlement. The killings leave a trail of bloodshed, bodies and a mystery: where are the remains of the little girl who has disappeared without trace? What has happened to her? Her father – intelligence officer Harry Katz – refuses to believe that his beloved daughter is dead. He begins an extraordinary journey to uncover the truth and her whereabouts. Harry’s odyssey takes him from the near medieval savagery of Southern Lebanon, through the sleepy suburbs of Zurich and Ulm, culminating in a gripping drama on the streets of Dublin. His pursuit of the woman who stole his daughter draws him into the pitiless world of international intelligence services and the stark realities of modern day terrorism. Shifting allegiances, casual betrayal, deception and murder are the day-to-day realities that Harry must confront in his desperate search to find Ami. A gripping suspense thriller, Harry’s journey and ultimate redemption makes for a compelling narrative that races along at a cracking pace with the assured touch of an accomplished storyteller.
  For more on John O’Keeffe and SEARCHING FOR AMI, and a pdf of the first three chapters, clickety-click here

Sunday, October 7, 2012

They Shoot Homophobes, Don’t They?

I’m not entirely sure of the protocol when it comes to declaring a writer a debutant when said author has already released another novel under a pseudonym, so let’s just say that EVEN FLOW by Darragh McManus is a debut novel from Darragh McManus and leave it at that. Quoth the blurb elves:
New York City: a man hangs upside-down outside a skyscraper. He is being punished by three vigilantes and he is just the first. The 3W Gang are regular guys. They believe society needs balance enforced karma through selective, brutal punishment of misogynists and homophobes. Wilde, Waters and Whitman are inspired by revolutionaries and feminists, art and irony. They are the grunge vibe made flesh and made angry: cool, witty, sexy ... and dangerous. Hunting them is a gay detective, determined to see justice done but getting more morally ambivalent as he’s drawn into their world. It is time for an EVEN FLOW.
  EVEN FLOW is an action-packed novel, cinematic, funny and provocative. It is a fable wrapped inside a thriller, Germaine Greer crossed with Kurt Cobain crossed with Dirty Harry.
  An intriguing prospect, no? It certainly can’t be faulted for ambition, originality and lunacy, all of which, I think, are to be celebrated in a genre that has been known to err on the staid and conservative. Will it find a readership that is sufficiently energised by originality, ambition and lunacy? Only time, that notoriously rat-fink canary, will tell.