“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.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Virtue In The Short Form

The Mysterious Press will next week published a series of ‘bibliomysteries’, a four-part set of novellas from Jeffrey Deaver, Anne Perry, CJ Box and our own Ken Bruen. The hook is that they’re all books in which the central mystery is related to a book, or books. Ken Bruen’s offering is THE BOOK OF VIRTUE, and the blurb elves have been wittering thusly:
A young man who has been brutally abused by his father is given his estate. A book. A single book. It was a beautiful book, bound in soft leather with gold leaf trim. On the cover, in faded gold, was the single word, Virtue. Where had the book, or even the idea of a book, come from? His father’s idea of reading never went beyond the sports page.
In the unique, poetic voice of Ken Bruen, one of today’s most brilliantly original crime writers, THE BOOK OF VIRTUE offers mystery, crime, suspense, violence, and humour.
  For more, clickety-click through to the Mysterious Bookshop web lair

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On Putting The ‘Laughter’ Into ‘Slaughter’

‘Writing 3.0’ is the rather bold title of the 2012 Fingal Annual Writing Festival, which runs from November 2nd - 10th and describes itself thusly:
Writing 3.0 initially evolved from the well established ‘FinscĂ©al: A Writer’s Trail of Fingal’ an initiative for writers and readers throughout Fingal since 2005. The shift to Writing 3.0 in 2010 conceptualised the writing process in the twenty-first century; how it evolves from the blank page across a range of technologies associated with creativity that potentially reaches vast audiences. Writing 3.0 2012 continues its focus on the writing process today, with Fingal Libraries Department and Fingal Arts Office collaborating once again to extend the emphasis on writing towards performance and uplifting experiences. This year we have programmed workshops and performances on rap, coding for computer games and animation, improvisation, songwriting, screenwriting and performance poetry, as well as the traditional focus on writing and reading poetry and fiction.
  It’s a heady brew, and I’m very much looking forward to taking part when I take to the stage at 8pm next Thursday evening, November 8th, for a reading from SLAUGHTER’S HOUND and an interview in the company of Edel Coffey, when we’ll do our level best to put the ‘laughter’ into ‘slaughter’. If you’re likely to be in the vicinity of Blanchardstown Library next Thursday, I’d love to see you there. All the information and booking details can be found here
  In other news, SLAUGHTER’S HOUND received a rather interesting review from Dana King. To wit:
“The writing … is dead-on and perfect for the situation. Burke is able to capture the occasional absurdity of Rigby’s early situation and inexorably ratchet up the tension to the darkness that captures the end of the book […] Rigby’s actions become progressively more violent until gruesome is not too strong a word. It’s a risk worth taking for those who like their crime fiction to look at the effects of a story’s events on both the doer and those who have been done.”
  Dana reckons that SH is a ‘seamless blend’ of Ray Chandler and Ray Banks, although he does concede that such a blend won’t be to the taste of every reader. For the full review, clickety-click here
  Finally, the lovely people at TV3’s Ireland AM programme - who sponsor the Crime Fiction gong at the Irish Book Awards - were kind enough to invite me along to their couch for interview yesterday morning. As always, the experience was a hugely enjoyable one, although Mark Cagney’s insistence that Harry Rigby is a colder-than-usual killer had me feeling that I was sitting on a different kind of couch entirely by the time it was all over. Watch out for all the other nominees on the Ireland AM Best Crime Fiction Novel list, who will be taking their place on the couch in the next couple of weeks. And if you think you can stand it, here’s the link to yesterday’s interview

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Woe To Live On

Back in September I had the very great pleasure of reading alongside Daniel Woodrell (right) during the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire. Even more enjoyable was the couple of hours before the event, when we sat down for a chat over some lunch, conducted an interview for the Irish Times, and then sat around some more, talking books and writing and whatnot.
  He’s a good guy, Daniel Woodrell. Understated, funny, with no affectations. The kind of quietly spoken that comes with carrying a big stick - or in his case, a big, big talent. I liked him a lot. And then, last week, after the interview finally appeared in the Irish Times, I received an email from him to say thanks, he liked the piece. A classy touch, and a pleasant surprise, but not really surprising, if you follow my drift.
  Anyway, here’s an excerpt from said Irish Times interview:
Despite announcing his ambition to be an author as early as the third grade, Woodrell turned his back on writing in his teens. “I dropped out of school when I was 16, when I gave up on the idea of being a writer, but I came back to it when I was 21,” he says. “I thought, No, I’m gonna sink or swim. I’m going all-in, see if I can do this or not. Which was good. I needed something severely challenging that I was willing to give myself to. I’d run a little wild around then. But that’s what those years are for, right?” Yet another throaty laugh. “So long as you don’t get too long of a sentence, you’re alright.”
  After a period in the Marines, Woodrell moved from the Ozarks to San Francisco and settled in to learn his craft. “As a high-school drop-out, I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn’t overly confident that I was going to be writing anything serious. I was happy enough with the idea that I could be a penny-a-word guy and survive.”
  At that point he wanted to write about anything – or any place – that wasn’t home. “Well, I was trying to survive as a writer and I knew that the nation in general doesn’t care about what happens in the Ozarks. I mean, I don’t want to be callous about it, but we all seemed to get over the Oklahoma bombing pretty quickly, and we’re never going to get over 9/11. Y’know? And so all of us out there are aware that you have to really be into writing about it, because there’s no advantage to it.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here