“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, June 14, 2013

Always Apologise, Always Explain

Off with yours truly today to interview Jonathan Dee, author of A THOUSAND PARDONS (Corsair), and I’m hugely looking forward to it (Dee is also the author of THE PRIVILEGES, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011). I read A THOUSAND PARDONS last week in what was essentially two stretches – it’s a deliciously readable novel, an intimate epic of familial breakdown that read to me like Jonathan Franzen’s FREEDOM should have. Quoth the blurb elves:
Ben and Helen Armstead have reached breaking point. Once a privileged and loving couple, widely envied and respected, it takes just one afternoon - and a single act of recklessness - for Ben to deal the final blow to their marriage, spectacularly demolishing everything they built together. Separated from her husband, Helen and her teenage daughter Sara leave their family home for Manhattan, where Helen must build a new life for them both. Thrust back into the working world, Helen takes a job in PR - her first in many years - and discovers she has a rare gift: she can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Faced with the fallout from her own marriage, and her daughter’s increasingly distant behaviour, Helen finds that the capacity for forgiveness she nurtures so successfully in her professional life is far harder to apply to her personal one. A THOUSAND PARDONS is an elegant, audacious, gripping and sharply observed novel about a marriage in ruins and a family in crisis; about the limits of self-invention and the seduction of self-destruction.
  Jonathan Dee will be appearing at the Dalkey Book Festival on Sunday, June 16th. For all the details, clickety-click here

The Best Things In Life Are Free Books: IRREGULARS by Kevin McCarthy

I was very impressed with Kevin McCarthy’s debut offering, PEELERS, and I’m delighted to be giving away a copy of Kevin’s new novel, IRREGULARS (New Island), to one lucky reader. First the blurb elves:
Dublin, 1922, as civil war sets brother against brother and Free State and Republican death squads stalk the streets and back lanes of Dublin, demobbed RIC-man, Sean O’Keefe, takes a break from life as a whiskey-soaked waster to search for the missing son of one of Monto’s most powerful brothel owners.
  Hired to find the boy amid the tumult and terror of a country at war with itself O’Keefe soon finds that the story is not as simple as it first seemed and that the truth can be hard to pin down.
  The second book in the O’Keefe series, IRREGULARS explores a fascinating and complex period of Irish history.
  Ken Bruen likes it, by the way:
“IRREGULARS is astounding. Kevin McCarthy is doing for Irish history what Dennis Lehane is doing for the history of Boston. Wonderfully written, tense, provocative and oh so highly entertaining. Shaping up to be THE SERIES of accessible Irish history. Cries out to be filmed.” – Ken Bruen
  To be in with a chance of winning a copy of IRREGULARS, just email me at dbrodb[at]gmail.com, putting ‘Irregulars’ in the subject line and – most important, folks – your postal address in the body text. The offer ends at noon on Saturday, June 15th. Et bon chance, mes amis

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Leave It To Deaver

Jeffrey Deaver is currently touring his new novel, THE KILL ROOM, which is the latest Lincoln Rhyme offering. As part of his tour he’ll be in Ireland on June 25th, for what sounds like a fascinating addition to the DLR Library Voices series, in which he’ll be talking with John Connolly. The details:
DLR Library Voices Series at the Pavilion Theatre
Tuesday 25 June, 8pm
Tickets €10/8

Jeffrey Deaver is the creator of the critically-acclaimed Lincoln Rhyme series and the award-winning author of 29 internationally bestselling thrillers, including the recent James Bond novel CARTE BLANCHE. In THE KILL ROOM, brilliant criminologist and quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme returns to investigate the state-sanctioned killing of a US citizen who is suspected of planning a terrorist attack on a US oil company. Deaver’s trademark suspense, richly developed characters and left-field plot twists mark him out as the consummate thriller writer. Don’t miss this rare chance to hear one of the world’s most successful thriller-writers talking about his work with Ireland’s leading crime writer, John Connolly.
  For all the details, including how to book tickets, clickety-click here ...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Growth Economy

Journalist and non-fiction author Michael Clifford made his crime fiction debut last year with GHOST TOWN, and a very fine piece of work it was too. He returns this year with THE DEAL (Hachette Ireland), with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Karen Riney is a young woman desperate to put bad memories behind her and get back on her feet when she hits upon an idea to make fast money. In the depths of a recession, there’s no business like the grow house business. But getting her venture off the ground requires some assistance. Enter Paschal Nix, a Dublin crime lord with a fearsome reputation. Nix provides more than money for the deal by throwing in the services of out-of-work builder Kevin Wyman, who is up to his ears in hoc to Nix and grappling with serious personal problems. He also dispatches hitman-for-hire Dara Burns to keep an eye on the investment, a man who’s fiercely guarding his back in a world where life is cheap. All have their eyes on one prize: a quick killing. But as Karen Riney soon learns, when you’re in over your head, there’s no such thing as easy money. THE DEAL is a gripping, blind-siding tale of greed, revenge and the price of survival.
  I’ve yet to see a copy, but I’m reliably informed that THE DEAL is in the shops as we speak. If it’s on a par with GHOST TOWN, it will be one of the best Irish crime novels of the year.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Book Of Book Things

John Connolly appeared at No Alibis bookstore in Belfast last week, to launch the limited hardbound cloth edition of his latest offering, the novella THE WANDERER IN UNKNOWN REALMS (Hodder & Stoughton). Quoth the blurb elves:
Soter, a Great War veteran with no past he wants to remember, takes the occasional assignment from the London barrister Quayle. His new task is to find Lionel Maulding, a wealthy bachelor with only one distinctive attribute: a passionate, almost obsessive love of books.
  Visiting Maulding’s country home, Soter finds rooms and rooms of books, but strange and frightening things as well. Wherever Maulding has gone, Soter realizes, it had to do with the hunt for one specific book, a book with powers Soter cannot even imagine. Where Soter’s quest converges with Maulding’s, entire worlds may be revealed and changed.
  THE WANDERER IN UNKNOWN REALMS is a story in the tradition of M.R. James and Dickens, full of horrors and wonders and illustrated beautifully by Emily Hall. It will be available in early June in a limited hardcover edition, signed by author and illustrator.
  To order your copy, drop a line to David Torrans at No Alibis here. Alternatively, the book is available as a Kindle Single here

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Out Of The Past

Brendan John Sweeney launches his debut novel, ONCE IN ANOTHER WORLD (New Island), at Hodges Figgis in Dublin at 6.30pm on Monday, June 10th. Quoth the blurb elves:
Dublin, March 1937. Holland, an idealistic young IRA recruit, is offered a strange assignment. He is told to guard and spy on a sinister Hungarian businessman and Sabine his secretary – a Jewish refugee.
  The mission tests Holland’s loyalties and his idealism to the utmost and ends with a sordid shooting match in a field in England. Holland finds himself fleeing with Sabine into the depths of the Irish countryside, where treacherous swamps and dense woods protect them from their pursuers. An intense love affair between two young people from vastly different worlds suddenly becomes possible.
  But Holland’s closest friend in the Movement knows his mind too well, and seeks him out, leading to a confrontation as fateful and tragic as any Irish myth.
  I’ve been struck lately by the number of Irish writers who are writing historical crime fiction. Apart from Brendan John Sweeney, we’ve had in the last year or so Michael Russell (THE CITY OF SHADOWS), Kevin McCarthy (IRREGULARS), Benjamin Black (HOLY ORDERS), William Ryan (THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT), Joe Joyce (ECHOLAND), Adrian McKinty (I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET), Patrick McGinley (COLD SPRING), Conor Brady (A JUNE OF ORDINARY MURDERS) and Stuart Neville (RATLINES) – and of course, the doyenne of them all, Cora Harrison (LAWS IN CONFLICT).
  I’m not sure what that means, or if it needs to mean anything, but there may well be a PhD in it for anyone who can figure out (or invent a plausible enough reason) as to why so many Irish crime novelists are delving into the past for inspiration.