Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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, July 5, 2013

1,000,000 Not Out

At some point in the next week or so, barring unforeseen and very peculiar developments, the page-view clicker at the top right of this page will turn over to 1,000,000. What happens to the page-view clicker at that point I really don’t know – I’d imagine it’ll reset to zero, and we’ll start all over again.
  Anyway, the numbers aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Far more important is the number of terrific books and writers I’ve come across during the course of the last six years or so of Crime Always Pays; the friends I’ve made and the colleagues – reader, bloggers and writers alike – that I’ve met.
  It’s been an amazing experience. Crime Always Pays started off because I had a book to promote back in 2007 – THE BIG O, co-published with the tiny but perfectly formed publisher Hag’s Head – and we literally did not have a penny to spend on promotion. The plan was to piggy-back the terrific Irish crime writers who were emerging then – the likes of Tana French, Gene Kerrigan, Declan Hughes and Alex Barclay – all of whom were taking giant strides along a path laid down by John Connolly, Ken Bruen, Julie Parsons, Colin Bateman and Eoin McNamee. As it happened, the blog morphed into something entirely different for me, and has since – a couple of hiccups notwithstanding – developed a life of its own.
  Things have gone pretty well for me as a writer over the last six years. I have no idea of whether they’d have gone so well if I hadn’t been blogging, or if they might have gone a little better if I hadn’t had the blog as a distraction. One thing I do know is that I’d be far poorer in terms of people. For a certifiable curmudgeon and pathological loner such as myself, that’s a pretty big thing.
  So there you have it. If this is your first time here, or your one thousandth time here, you’re very welcome indeed. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made Crime Always Pays what it is simply by making the effort to check in once in a while to see what’s happening in Irish crime writing, and here’s to the next six years.
  Finally, for those of you curious as to what the very first post on Crime Always Pays was, clickety-click here

Thursday, July 4, 2013

All Aboard The Bateman Express

Colin Bateman (right) has been running a Kickstarter campaign to fund DUBLIN EXPRESS, a new collection of short stories and a play, but – typically – Bateman won’t be stopping when that particular train pulls into the station. Quoth Colin:
“I am very enthusiastic about this model and I think and hope it’s a way to get new writers out there. So surplus funds from this campaign will go towards developing the idea into what I think of as a publishing equivalent of a micro-brewery – releasing books by new writers and partially crowd-funding them by fully embracing social media. I don’t think of it as ‘charity’ in any way, but as a way of getting people excited about new works and essentially funding them by pre-ordering copies. Even if they’re only partially funded by this method it will help considerably towards getting
them into print.
  “So I’m already talking to new authors, and I’m going to take a strong hand in shaping books and aiming them at particular markets. Initially I’m looking at children’s books in the 8-12 category because there are a number of ways of selling them (i.e., you’re not restricted to bookshops) but I hope to expand this into crime in the near future. Like I say, it’s a micro, one-man operation entirely dependent on the books being good, and the support of the general public.
  “And because I’m a modest kind of a guy, I’m going to call it Bateman Books.”
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stuart Neville And The Case Of The Peculier Shortlist

Hearty congrats to Stuart Neville, who was yesterday shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, the winner of which will be announced at the Harrogate Festival later this month. The Old Peculier is a beat or two off the pace, so Stuart was shortlisted for 2011’s STOLEN SOULS rather than last year’s RATLINES, and he faces some stiff competition, including Mark Billingham and last year’s winner, Denise Mina. The full line-up runs like this:
Rush Of Blood – Mark Billingham (Little Brown)
Safe House - Chris Ewan (Faber and Faber)
The Lewis Man – Peter May (Quercus)
Gods And Beasts – Denise Mina (Orion)
Stolen Souls – Stuart Neville (Vintage)
A Dark Redemption – Stav Sherez (Faber and Faber)
  For all the details of how you – yes, YOU! – can vote for this award, clickety-click here

Review: THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT by William Ryan

I had a crime fiction review column published in the Irish Times last weekend, which included the latest offerings from Jeffrey Deaver, Fred Vargas, Sara Gran and Denise Mina. It also included THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT by William Ryan, with the gist running thusly:
Set in Moscow in the 1930s, The Twelfth Department (Mantle, €15.99) is the third outing in William Ryan’s increasingly impressive Captain Korolev series. Police investigator Korolev is co-opted by the NKVD when an eminent scientist with strong political connections to the Party (and possibly Stalin himself) is shot dead, but his task – complicated by the disappearance of his young son, Yuri – becomes something of a wander through a metaphorical hall of mirrors where notions such as truth and justice mean whatever the Party wants them to mean. There’s an Orwellian influence to the manipulation of language and meaning in The Twelfth Department, while Korolev’s quest to uncover the ‘facts’ of his investigation amounts to his resembling a pawn being kicked around the board by warring superiors. The geographical setting and political backdrop are compelling enough, but Korolev is a fascinating character in his own right, an army veteran of ‘the German War’ who acknowledges the poisonous nature of the regime he serves even as he clings to the hope that its propaganda might someday chime with reality. – Declan Burke
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Irish Crime Novel of the Year

So here we are, halfway through the year, roughly speaking, and I’m throwing an eye forward towards November and the Irish Book Awards and wondering what the shortlist for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year might look like.
  It’s an interesting year in many respects, not least because 2013 is a year in which many of the big names in Irish crime fiction – John Connolly, Tana French, Gene Kerrigan, Eoin McNamee, Colin Bateman, Arlene Hunt, Alex Barclay, Declan Hughes – haven’t published a crime fiction title. That said, the list of possible contenders below contains a number of previously nominated authors, as well as one or two winners.
  Of the 16 titles already published this year, there are at least nine novels that I would consider worthy winners, let alone nominees. And there are a further six titles, that I’m aware of, to be published in the second half of the year.
  If I’ve missed out on any, by the way, please feel free to drop a comment in the box below tipping me off.
  Anyway, here’s the list of possible contenders – in no particular order – that have already been published:

GRAVELAND by Alan Glynn;

THE DEAL by Michael Clifford;

THE STRANGER YOU KNOW by Jane Casey;

THE CITY OF SHADOWS by Michael Russell;

CROCODILE TEARS by Mark O’Sullivan;

SCREWED by Eoin Colfer;

THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT by William Ryan;

COLD SPRING by Patrick McGinley;

HIDDEN by Casey Hill;

RATLINES by Stuart Neville;

THE POLKA DOT GIRL by Darragh McManus;

HOLY ORDERS by Benjamin Black;

I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET by Adrian McKinty;

THE JERUSALEM PUZZLE by Laurence O’Bryan;

IRREGULARS by Kevin McCarthy;

THE STATION SERGEANT by John McAllister;

ONCE IN ANOTHER WORLD by Brendan John Sweeney;

STIFFED by Rob Kitchin;

  And then there are the novels that will be published in the second half of the year:

THE MEMORY THEATRE by Conor Fitzgerald;

BLINK by Niamh O’Connor;

THE DOLL’S HOUSE by Louise Phillips;

THE CROSS OF VENGEANCE by Cora Harrison;

PURGATORY by Ken Bruen;

ECHOLAND by Joe Joyce;

HURT by Brian McGilloway;

  If you can pick the six titles out that lot that will make the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, you’re a better man and/or woman than I …

UPDATE: Louise Phillips points out that Arlene Hunt will publish THE OUTSIDER in October. Thanks kindly, ma’am.