“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, June 8, 2013

Black Ops

It took me a couple of books before I began warming to the Benjamin Black novels, but at this point it feels like John Banville has grown into the persona of his crime-writing alter-ego Benny Blanco and – whisper it – may even be enjoying the process. I reviewed the latest Benjamin Black novel, HOLY ORDERS (Mantle), as part of the latest crime fiction column in the Irish Times, which also includes Sara Paretsky’s BREAKDOWN, Benjamin Tammuz’s MINOTAUR and Marco Vichi’s DEATH IN FLORENCE. For more, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, if you’re in Dublin city next Wednesday evening, June 12th, John Banville / Benjamin Black will be taking part in a Q&A with Olivia O’Leary at the Smock Alley Theatre. To wit:
Writers at Smock Alley – John Banville as Benjamin Black in conversation with Olivia O’Leary
Venue: The Smock Alley Theatre
Date: Wednesday 12th June – 6pm until 7pm

The Gutter Bookshop are delighted to announce the second event in a new series of author events with their neighbours, the Smock Alley Theatre 1662. Join them in this beautiful and unique theatre to meet bestselling Irish novelist John Banville who will be discussing his new Benjamin Black crime novel Holy Orders with journalist and broadcaster Olivia O’Leary, as well as the new Quirke television series, and the film version of his Booker Prize winning book The Sea. A book signing will take place after the event.

Tickets cost €5 and available from Smock Alley Theatre (01 6770014) or the Gutter Bookshop (01 6799206).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Life’s A Riot With Spy vs Spy

Suddenly it’s all about the spies in Irish crime writing. Last year we had Stuart Neville’s RATLINES, Joseph Hone’s GOODBYE AGAIN and Michael Russell’s THE CITY OF SHADOWS; this year we’ve had Kevin Brophy’s ANOTHER KIND OF COUNTRY, and we’re looking forward to Brendan John Sweeney’s ONCE IN ANOTHER WORLD and Joe Joyce’s ECHOLAND.
  Joe Joyce has previously published two very well received crime novels, and ECHOLAND (Liberties Press), which will be published in August, sounds like it could be a cracker. Quoth the blurb elves:
Joe Joyce’s ECHOLAND portrays a nervous and divided Dublin. Some see Britain as an ally, others look to Germany for a hopeful future, while some wish to remain as neutral as possible. In this atmosphere of edgy uncertainty, a young lieutenant, Paul Duggan, is drafted into the army’s intelligence division, G2, and put on the German desk. Paul delves into the double-dealing worlds of spies and politics, where ruthlessness, deviousness and occasional violence prevail, before confronting a surprising secret that challenges everything he has grown up believing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On Keeping It Real

Paul Lynch (RED SKY IN MORNING), Gavin Corbett (THIS IS THE WAY) and journalist / literary scout Sinead Gleeson discuss ‘The Real Story: The Challenges Facing New Authors and the Myths Surrounding Book Deals’ at the Irish Writers’ Centre on June 18. Should be a good session: Paul Lynch’s novel is a terrific debut, while Gavin Corbett won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year last week. For all the details, clickety-click here

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free Books: GRAVELAND by Alan Glynn

I was very impressed by Alan Glynn’s GRAVELAND, the third of a loose trilogy that also includes WINTERLAND and BLOODLAND – although I think that as good as those books were, GRAVELAND represents another step up in class. I’m delighted to host a competition giveaway for three copies of GRAVELAND, but first the blurb elves:
A Wall Street investment banker is shot dead while jogging in Central Park. Later that night, one of the savviest hedge-fund managers in the city is gunned down outside a fancy Upper West Side restaurant. Are these killings part of a coordinated terrorist attack, or just coincidence? Investigative journalist Ellen Dorsey has a hunch that it’s neither. Days later, when an attempt is made on the life of another CEO, the story blows wide open...
  Racing to stay ahead of the curve, Ellen encounters Frank Bishop, a recession-hit architect, whose daughter has gone missing. The search for Lizzie and her boyfriend takes Frank and Ellen from a quiet campus to the blazing spotlight of a national media storm - and into the devastating crucible of a personal and a public tragedy.
  Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows once again is James Vaughn, legendary CEO of private equity firm the Oberon Capital Group. Despite his failing health, Vaughan is refusing to give up control easily, and we soon see just how far-reaching and pervasive his influence really is.
  Set deep in the place where corrupt global business and radical politics clash, Alan Glynn’s GRAVELAND is an explosive and hugely topical thriller.
  To be in with a chance of winning a copy of GRAVELAND, just email me at dbrodb[at]gmail.com, putting ‘Alan Glynn’ in the subject line and – very important, folks – a postal address to which we can send you the book. The competition closes at noon on Saturday, June 8th. Et bon chance, mes amis

Monday, June 3, 2013

Crimefest 2013

Caveat emptor, as they say. There were no criminals on the stage, to the best of my knowledge, for the ‘Criminal Mastermind’ quiz on Sunday at Crimefest, and on the evidence produced by the question-and-answer session hosted by Barry Forshaw, there were precious few masterminds either. I took part (I use the phrase in its loosest possible meaning, and thanks to Ali Karim, who took this picture of yours truly about two seconds after I’d heard that Peter Rozovsky had compiled the questions for my ‘specialist subject’) with fellow victims, sorry, authors Peter Guttridge, Susan Moody and Matt Hilton, with my specialist subject being Irish crime fiction. Things went downhill even before the event began, when I learned that my questions had been compiled by Peter Rozovsky, who shall henceforth be known as ‘Et Tu Rozovsky’. I’ll draw a veil over how well (or badly) I fared on my ‘specialist’ subject. Suffice to say that I did not win the ‘Criminal Mastermind’ crown, which went, for the second year, to Peter Guttridge.
  For those of you interested in testing yourself against Et Tu Rozovsky’s questions, he has kindly provided the full list here. I got four right out of eleven questions asked, by the way …
  I was also shortlisted (or co-shortlisted) for two awards during the Crimefest weekend, for SLAUGHTER’S HOUND and – along with John Connolly and Clair Lamb, for BOOKS TO DIE FOR – and was conspicuously unsuccessful there too. Which should be disappointing, but in fact wasn’t – both shortlists were very strong, and you can’t win ’em all. Hearty congratulations, then, to Ruth Dudley Edwards, who won the Goldsboro Last Laugh gong for KILLING THE EMPERORS; and to Barry Forshaw, whose BRITISH CRIME WRITING: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA won the HRF Keating Award for Best Non-Fiction.
  All told, I had an absolute ball at this year’s Crimefest, which seemed to me to be the best to date. Yes, there are panels to attend, and awards to be competed for, but Crimefest is fundamentally about people for me, and I got to spend time with some terrific folk. I won’t list them all, because we’d be here all day, but I would like to say well done and congratulations, yet again, to Miles, Adrian and Donna for a brilliant weekend.
  Roll on Crimefest 2014 …