“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, March 9, 2013

It All Goes Better With An E: THE BIG O Goes Digital

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the arrival of a new book in the right-hand column of Crime Always Pays – or a new book cover, to be precise. For lo! A mere six years after it first appeared in print, THE BIG O is finally available as an e-book (at $4.99 / £4.99 / €4.99).
  First published by the marvellous Marsha Swan of Hag’s Head Press back in 2007 (actually, I co-published the book with Marsha, on a 50/50 costs-and-profits arrangement, and great fun it all was too), and subsequently published by HMH in the US, THE BIG O for some reason never made it into digital.
  Shortly after HMH picked it up, the editor (the wonderful Stacia Decker) who signed me moved on to pastures new with the Donald Maass Literary Agency, and THE BIG O – beautifully published in hardback though it was – became something of an orphan (pauses to sniffle, chokes back a sob).
  Anyway, I bought back the rights late last year because I’m particularly fond of the story, which is a black comedy about a kidnap-gone-wrong, and I hated the idea of it languishing in a kind of publishing limbo. It’s also true that its sequel, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, was also stuck in said limbo, and while I did go ahead an e-publish CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, there wasn’t a huge appetite out there for the sequel to a book that wasn’t readily available.
  I’ve always felt that that was a pity, because the book did receive some very nice reviews. A sample looks like this:
“Imagine Donald Westlake and his alter ego Richard Stark moving to Ireland and collaborating on a screwball noir and you have some idea of Burke’s accomplishment.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Burke has married hard-boiled crime with noir sensibility and seasoned it with humour and crackling dialogue … fans of comic noir will find plenty to enjoy here.” – Booklist

“Carries on the tradition of Irish noir with its Elmore Leonard-like style ... the dialogue is as slick as an ice run, the plot is nicely intricate, and the character drawing is spot on … a high-octane novel that fairly coruscates with tension.” – Irish Times

“Burke has [George V.] Higgins’ gift for dialogue, [Barry] Gifford’s concision and the effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak. In short, THE BIG O is an essential crime novel of 2007, and one of the best of any year.” – Ray Banks

“THE BIG O is a big ol’ success, a tale fuelled by the mischievous spirits of Donald E. Westlake, Elmore Leonard and even Carl Hiaasen … THE BIG O kept me reading at speed – and laughing the whole damn time.” – J. Kingston Pierce, January Magazine
  So there you have it. As you might imagine, I’m very keen to spread the word about the e-availability of THE BIG O, so if the spirit so moves you, I’d be very grateful for any mention you could give it on your blog or Twitter account, or Facebook, or to your friends by quill and ink … Oh, and the Amazon page looks rather bare, so if you’ve read THE BIG O, and have the time to post a quick review, I’d be very grateful indeed.
  Meanwhile, if there’s anyone out there who’d like to receive a review copy of THE BIG O, just drop me a line at dbrodb[at]gmail.com.
  Thanks kindly for reading, folks. I really do appreciate your time.

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