“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.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Harry Rigby: ‘A Master of Situational Ethics’

It’s not often I get a nice review in Booklist (no link, sadly – subscription only), so if it’s okay with all of you I’m going to go ahead and broadcast this review of SLAUGHTER’S HOUND in full. To wit:
Slaughter’s Hound. By Declan Burke. Mar. 2013. 384p. Dufour/Liberties, paper, $24.95 (9781907593499).

Honest jobs are hard to come by when you’re released from a mental institution after killing your brother. So Harry Rigby gets by driving a cab and delivering drugs in the Irish town of Sligo. One of his best customers is former cellmate Finn Hamilton--until the night Finn drops onto Harry’s cab from his ninth-story balcony. The police are very interested in what Harry saw that night, as are Finn’s pregnant girlfriend, patrician (and terrifying) mother, and his possibly insane teenage sister. A master of situational ethics, Harry initially has no problem getting paid to retrieve certain items from Finn’s apartment. It turns out, though, that Harry’s not the only one nosing around. He tries to keep his ex-wife and son out of the investigation, but his two worlds can’t help bleeding into one another. Burke (Absolute Zero Cool, 2012) has always been known for black humor, and he has found a wonderful new outlet for it in Harry Rigby. -- Karen Keefe
  Incidentally, if there’s anyone out there who would like to receive an e-friendly review copy of SLAUGHTER’S HOUND or its predecessor EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, please feel free to drop me a line at dbrodb[at]gmail.com. And if the spirit moves you to click the Twitter or Facebook link below, I would be very grateful indeed.

4 comments:

Alan Griffiths said...

Congrats on a great review, Dec. Just out ofpure interest when are the three (so far unpublished Harry Rigby novels) set in relation to Eight Ball Boogie and Slaughters Hound? I ask because when I read the draft of The Big Empty (sorry not had a chance to pick up SH yet), which became Slaughters Hound dear old Harry was pretty fresh out of prison. I thought TBE was an immediate sequel to EBB but your recent news about the unpublished novels got me wondering how these three fit into chronology of the series? Anyhows, really hope the three do see the light of the e-publishing day soon and looking forward to reading them.

Declan Burke said...

That's a very good question indeed, Alan. The books were written between the writing of Eightball and Slaughter's Hound, and it's my understanding that Harry Rigby himself wrote them, as one element of his therapy while he was 'in care'. Given our relationship, of course, I'll happily publish the books under my name, and cut Harry in for a percentage.

Cora Harrison said...

I got a good one, too, Declan. Harrison continues her delightful Burren Series...

Declan Burke said...

Can you drop me a line with the details, Cora? I'd be delighted to give it a post.