“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, April 6, 2013

Crime Always Pays: Yay Or Nay?

So this is the proposed cover for CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, my forthcoming e-tome, which is a sequel to THE BIG O. It’s a trans-Europe road-trip comedy crime caper set for the most part in the Greek islands. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.
  CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, by the way, was briefly available as an e-book a couple of years ago, although given that it was a sequel to a book that wasn’t available in digital form, I thought it best to take it down again. During its brief availability, though, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS made it onto one of my favourite lists – Paul D. Brazill’s Top Ten Novels to Cure Your Hangover.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mc vs Mc: The Spinetingler Awards

I find myself in something of a bind courtesy of the good folks at Spinetingler Magazine. Their annual Award nominees have just been announced, and John McFetridge and Adrian McKinty have been pitched in against one another in the ‘Rising Star / Legend’ category in what amounts to a (koff) duel nomination. The trouble being, you’re only allowed to vote for one nominee in each category. So – vote for McKinty’s THE COLD COLD GROUND, or McFetridge’s TUMBLIN’ DICE? Hmmmm. I may need to consult the chicken entrails on this one.
  It’s a tough category, by the way. To wit:

The 2013 Spinetingler Award Best Novel: Rising Star/Legend

Capture by Roger Smith
The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale
Kings of Cool by Don Winslow
Lake Country by Sean Doolittle
The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli
Live By Night by Dennis Lehane
Tumblin’ Dice by John McFetridge
What it Was by George Pelecanos

  The very best of luck to all involved. For the full list of categories and nominees in the Spinetingler Awards, clickety-click here

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No Alibis For The Lost

Sounds a little like a David Goodis spoof, doesn’t it? No? Okay, be like that …
  Claire McGowan (right) will be in Belfast this coming Saturday, April 6th, where she will be launching her latest tome, THE LOST, at the very fine book emporium No Alibis. The event kicks off at 3pm, and all the details – including how to book your free ticket – are here.
  I reviewed THE LOST in the Irish Times last month, with the gist running thusly:
“In a different setting, The Lost might well have been a straightforward tale of abduction and serial killing, but the Northern Ireland backdrop offers sub-plots incorporating sectarian bigotry, religious and political fundamentalism, and a heavy-handed sexual repression that manifests itself in a number of ugly ways … McGowan’s pacy, direct style ensures that the twists come thick and fast.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To Hell In A Handcart: Ken Bruen’s Purgatory

I read last weekend in the Sunday Times that something like 75% of Irish people believe in heaven, but only 50% believe in hell. Which sounds to me like the kind of hedge-your-bets math that got us all into this financial mess in the first place, but then I don’t know much about economics. Or heaven and / or hell, for that matter.
  Anyway, that’s by way of a preamble to the news that Ken Bruen’s (right) latest offering will be called PURGATORY (Mysterious Press) when it’s published next November. Quoth the blurb elves:
Someone is scraping the scum off the streets of Galway, and they want Jack Taylor to get involved. A drug pusher, a rapist, a loan shark, all targeted in what look like vigilante attacks. And the killer is writing to Jack, signing their name: C-33.
  Jack has had enough. He doesn’t need the money, and doesn’t want to get involved. But when his friend Stewart gets drawn in, it seems he isn’t been given a choice. In the meantime, Jack is being courted by Reardon, a charismatic billionaire intent on buying up much of Galway, and begins a tentative relationship with Reardon’s PR director, Kelly.
  Caught between heaven and hell, there’s only one path for Jack Taylor to take: Purgatory.
  There’s been a distinctly religious theme to Ken’s Jack Taylor books in recent years, with the last five called PRIEST, CROSS, SANCTUARY, THE DEVIL and HEADSTONE. And now, of course, PURGATORY. Where’s he going with this? Knowing Jack, you can only presume it’s to hell in a handcart with the brakes shot to, well. Stay tuned …

Monday, April 1, 2013

On Putting The Big O Into Boon

Inspired by the inimitable Rashers Tierney (if you haven’t read STRUMPET CITY yet, I humbly advise you to do so), you find me this morning in panhandling mode. As the more eagle-eyed among you will know, I published the e-book of THE BIG O early last month as the latest stage in my bid for world domination, and so far it’s been going well. Only last week Eoin Colfer was kind enough to describe the book as something of a scuffle between Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard in an alleyway – at least, I think he was being positive about it.
  Anyway, THE BIG O is available through Amazon at $4.99 / £4.99, which may or may not be your idea of a bargain. The point of this post, though, is not to sell you the book, but to beg a boon. There are three readers’ reviews of THE BIG O up on Amazon, all three of which arrived within a couple of days of publication. Which was (and remains) marvellous, but – at the risk of sounding ungrateful – it’s a sparse kind of marvellous.
  Essentially I’m here today to ask you, providing you have read THE BIG O, and have the time, and have no great ideological issue with Amazon and / or people asking for reviews, if you’d be kind enough to say a few words on its behalf.
  If you’d rather not, fair enough. I fully understand.
  If you’re happy to do so, the link is here, and I thank you kindly in advance.
  Normal service will be resumed tomorrow …

Sunday, March 31, 2013

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Erin Hart

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...

What crime novel would you most like to have written?
I confess a weakness for dense historical mysteries like Umberto Eco’s THE NAME OF THE ROSE, so something like that … or maybe Ian Pears’ AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST. The more historical detail, the better, I say!

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Sherlock Holmes, of course …

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I like big books and I cannot lie — and I certainly don’t feel guilty about it. That said, I’m a pure sucker for potboilers, the more plot twists, the better — bring ‘em on! I find that I have little patience any more for novels in which nothing much happens.

Most satisfying writing moment?
It’s a bit odd, and this has happened to me not once, not twice, but multiple times: I’m transcribing, typing into the computer some pages that I’ve written out in longhand maybe two or three weeks earlier, and all at once I get a great idea for the next chapter. And I mean a really great idea—feckin’ brilliant! And I start pounding the keyboard, revelling in my own bloody genius, only to turn over the next page of handwritten notes and find the scene that I’ve just created from thin air is one that I’ve already written, and have apparently just typed out from memory, word for word. I think the reason I find that strange little moment satisfying—or at least reassuring—is that what emanates from the deep recesses of one’s subconscious actually seems to stay there, apparently intact. So I have very little fear of losing anything by not writing it down immediately. And I also take comfort in the fact that it will only be my own work I’m ever guilty of plagiarizing ...

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
Well, I really hate to sound like a complete suck-up, but I am an evangelist for THE BIG O by a fella called Declan Burke … And I was really excited to read Stuart Neville’s debut, THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST—or THE TWELVE, as you call it on that side of the Atlantic. Great characters, a really outstanding parallel structure, and a particularly Irish flavour, or blas, as they say in Irish traditional music. Shot through with wry humour and real pathos. You know, come to think of it, the same things could be said about THE BIG O ...

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Well, in addition to THE BIG O and THE TWELVE, I’d love to see Gene Kerrigan’s book THE MIDNIGHT CHOIR adapted for film. I love the interlocking stories, plus it has the sort of mordant humour, and the sort of inexorable forward motion that would make for a great movie.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Is this a trick question? Okay, best thing: not being gainfully employed. Obviously. And you guessed it, the worst thing: not being gainfully employed.

The pitch for your next book is …?
A postman goes missing on Christmas day in 1927, and is never seen again. All of my novels have been based on real historical cases; this missing postman really did go missing, and his body has never been found. I’m fascinated by the notion that a whole village can keep a secret for generations about something as dark as murder.

Who are you reading right now?
Just finishing up a tale of 13th-century historical intrigue from fellow Minnesota writer Judith Koll Healy, THE CANTERBURY PAPERS.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Oh, reading, definitely. For the pure pleasure of it. Writing is very rewarding work, but truth to tell, I’m quite lazy, just a simple hedonist, deep down. If your aim is to live vicariously through fictional characters, reading is faster and so much more efficient than writing!

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Well, you’re probably better off asking readers that sort of question, but all right… I’ll have to go with ‘haunting,’ maybe ‘layered’—I do write about archaeology, after all—and to those perhaps I might add ‘melancholy.’

Erin Hart’s THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN is published by Scribner.