“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.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free Books: THE BIG O

It occurred to me during the course of the last book giveaway, Mark Sullivan’s CROCODILE TEARS (the winners of which will be notified in the next couple of days), that the ‘free book’ offer was pretty much limited to this blog. I could mention it here, on Twitter and Facebook, certainly, but the word was still going out to a relatively limited number of people.
  Of course, the point of the exercise was twofold. One, put a copy of a very good book in readers’ hands. Two, make as many people as possible aware that the book is available.
  With that in mind, I’m going to try a little social media experiment for the next giveaway, which is for three signed hardback copies of my own humble tome, THE BIG O. If you’d like to play along, please do. First the blurb elves:
Karen can’t go on pulling stick-ups forever, but Rossi is getting out of prison any day now and she needs the money to keep Anna out of his hands. This new guy she’s met, Ray, just might be able to help her out, but he wants out of the kidnap game now the Slavs are bunkering in. And then there’s Frank, the discredited plastic surgeon who wants his ex-wife snatched - the ex-wife being Madge, who just happens to be Karen’s best friend. But can Karen and Ray trust each other enough to carry off one last caper? Or will love, as always, ruin everything?
  To be in with a chance of winning a signed hardback copy of THE BIG O, just link to this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or your blog, or anywhere else you like on the Web (feel free to click on the buttons below this post). If you use ‘Declan Burke’ on Facebook or the Twitter handle @declanburke I’ll know you’ve entered, but you can also email me at dbrodb[at]gmail.com to confirm. Et bon chance, mes amis

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Here Comes The Hurt

It isn’t due until November, but here’s an early glimpse of Brian McGilloway’s next title to whet your appetite. HURT (Constable & Robinson) is the sequel to Brian’s LITTLE GIRL LOST, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Late December. A sixteen-year- old girl is found dead on a train line. Detective Sergeant Lucy Black from the Public Protection Unit is called to identify the body. The murdered girl, Karen Hughes, having a father in prison and an alcoholic mother had no choice but to live in residential care and DS Black soon discovers the only clue to the girl’s movements are her mobile phone and social media - where her ‘friends’ may not be all they seem.
  Meanwhile, Black is still haunted by Mary Quigg’s death in a house fire over a year ago. Her pain is then intensified when she finds Mary’s grave vandalised - Black is deeply upset and spurred on in her pledge to find the man she knows is responsible for the fire. But Lucy has to tread carefully: with a new DI to contend with, and her fractious mother, the Assistant Chief Constable, looking over her shoulder, she can’t afford to make a mistake...
  The stunning sequel to the number one bestseller LITTLE GIRL LOST, HURT is a tense crime thriller about the abuse of power, and how the young and vulnerable can fall prey to those they should be able to trust.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Bring Grave News

I had a crime fiction column published in the Irish Times last weekend, featuring new titles from Alan Glynn, Aly Monroe, Anne Holt and Carl Hiaasen. The review of Alan Glynn’s GRAVELAND (Faber and Faber) runs like this:
Alan Glynn’s fourth novel, Graveland, opens with the apparently random murder of a Central Park jogger. When a second man is shot dead in the street, and an attempted murder is botched in a similar attack, a pattern emerges: the targets are Wall Street high-flyers, representatives of the self-styled ‘Masters of the Universe’ who have ruined lives and destroyed the US economy.
  Thus the scene is set for a frantic manhunt for vigilante killers – or would be, if Graveland was a conventional thriller. The third of a loose trilogy that began with Winterland (2009) and continued with Bloodland (2011), the novel incorporates the search for the vigilantes and the investigation of their motives, and certainly proceeds at a rattling pace. Glynn, however, crafts a complex tale in which a host of disparate characters – among them a pair of radicalised brothers, a bereft father, a crusading journalist and a Wall Street kingpin – are skilfully interwoven, creating a story that is both a contemporary take on the timeless clash between the powerless and the powerful few and a commentary on the perception, interpretation and manipulation of the narratives that shape our lives.
  On the one hand an invigorating slice of conspiracy noir, Graveland is simultaneously a heartbreaking account of the human cost of corporate greed.
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

“They have roughed the language around as Shakespeare did …”

I came across a very nice website yesterday, via Twitter, which features Raymond Chandler on the subject of writing. This jumped out at me:
“The best writing in English today is done by Americans, but not in any purist tradition. They have roughed the language around as Shakespeare did and done it the violence of melodrama and the press box. They have knocked over tombs and sneered at the dead. Which is as it should be. There are too many dead men and there is too much talk about them.”
  For more in a similar vein, clickety-click here

Sunday, May 12, 2013

SLAUGHTER'S HOUND: “Everything You Want From Noir.”

I was clearing out some old files over the weekend, and I came across this - the blurb Tana French was kind enough to write for SLAUGHTER’S HOUND, and which I never got to use in full. Seems kind of a waste just to throw it out, so here it is:
“SLAUGHTER’S HOUND has everything you want from noir – a plot that switchbacks fast and furiously enough to give you whiplash, a desperately damaged investigator trying to hold on as the last threads tethering him to his humanity are ripped away, a cast of slippery and ruthless characters playing a high-stakes game, a dark and ambiguous moral heart – but what makes it something special is the writing: taut, honed and vivid, packed with phrases that I read over and over because reading them was a sheer pleasure.” – Tana French, author of BROKEN HARBOUR

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Chris Pearson

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?
SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane. I couldn’t stop reading it – my life ground to a halt – and the ending completely got me. A superb premise, brilliantly executed.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Bond. No, wait … Bryan Mills – Liam Neeson’s character in Taken. I love his skill set and determination. His unaccountability is enviable in a world with so many rules. He’s one cool Northern Irishman.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I’m a natural hedonist, so the pleasure is guilt-free. The geek in me tends towards articles and books on the cosmos and our place in it all – Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and Simon Singh are very accessible. I’m also fascinated by anything that explores the role of emerging technologies in the future evolution of humans. Sometimes it seems like science fiction, but it’s all too real. Be afraid.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Typing “The End” in size 72 whenever I finish a manuscript. Someone should invent a bigger font.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
IN THE WOODS by Tana French is high on my “to read” list. I can already feel the hairs on my neck prickling.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I need to read a few more Irish crime novels to answer this question. I will certainly be scrutinizing the next ones for their filmic future!

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing is that writing is an obsession. If I am deprived of writing for too long, I begin to slip into Crazy – a place where you’re more likely to find some of my unsavoury fictional characters. The best thing is that you can be anyone, go anywhere and do anything, anytime, and no one can stop you. That’s Freedom.

The pitch for your next book is …?
A conspiracy/race-against-time thriller that will change your perspective on modern society and get your blood pumping. I wish I could tell you more, but it’s under wraps!

Who are you reading right now?
S.J. Watson – BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP. A novel so accomplished it belies Watson’s status as a debut author. I’m hooked.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Firstly, I would question the premise on which mutual exclusivity was based. I would point out that it doesn’t have to be like this. Man can’t choose between eating and breathing. If that failed, I would propose a compromise: to do only one at a time. When writing, I would dictate. When reading, I wouldn’t have ideas flying around inside my head. If that failed, I would turn to bribery and offer the souls of my literary victims. If that failed, I would choose writing, and tell the world the story of my extraordinary negotiation with God. I’m sure it would be a bestseller.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Pacy. Compelling. Thrilling.

Chris Pearson’s debut novel is PROOF OF DEATH.