Arlene Hunt is best known for her Dublin-set ‘QuicK Investigations’ novels, which feature the private eye duo John Quigley and Sarah Kenny, although her most recent offering, the standalone The Chosen (2011), was set in a remote rural setting in the US. In The Outsider (Portnoy Publishing, €11.50), Hunt sets her story in another rural setting, that of County Wicklow, with the story centring on the twins Emma and Anthony Byrne. A teenager who ‘may or may not be on the autism spectrum’, Emma develops a rare ability to rehabilitate physically and psychologically brutalised horses; why would anyone want to harm such a gentle soul? The backdrop of the Wicklow countryside suggests that The Outsider belongs to the ‘cosy’ or ‘malice domestic’ tradition, but while the style and setting are far removed from the hardboiled conventions, Hunt excels at excavating the petty passions of village life that, unchecked, lead here to anger, obsession and murderous rage. Moreover, The Outsider is not the straightforward narrative of taboos broached and justice served we expect from ‘cosy’ novels. In creating a community of apparently ordinary people capable of extraordinary cruelty, Hunt deftly blurs the lines between justice and revenge and propels her tale into the realms of true tragedy. – Declan BurkeFor the rest of the column, clickety-click here …
“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, November 29, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
People say that the truth can set you free. But what if the truth is not something you want to hear?Heartfelt commiserations go out, of course, to all the other nominees. For the full shortlist, clickety-click here …
Thirty-five years ago Adrian Hamilton drowned. At the time his death was reported as a tragic accident but the exact circumstances remained a mystery. Now his daughter Clodagh, trying to come to terms with her past, visits a hypnotherapist who unleashes disturbing childhood memories of her father’s death. And as Clodagh delves deeper into her subconscious, memories of another tragedy come to light - the death of her baby sister. Meanwhile, criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson is called in to help in the investigation of a murder after a body is found in a Dublin canal. When Kate digs beneath the surface of the killing, she discovers a sinister connection to the Hamilton family. What terrible events took place in the Hamilton house all those years ago? And what connects them to the recent murder? Time is running out for Clodagh and Kate. And the killer has already chosen his next victim . . .
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It’s that time of the year again, when the Irish Book Awards release their shortlists. I’m delighted to announce the shortlisted authors and books in the crime fiction category, and offer a hearty congratulations to all concerned. To wit:
Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year:For more, clickety-click here …
• The Twelfth Department by William Ryan (Pan Macmillan/Mantle)
• The Convictions Of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes (Doubleday Ireland)
• The Doll’s House by Louise Phillips (Hachette Ireland)
• Inquest by Paul Carson (Century)
• The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Ebury Press)
• Irregulars by Kevin McCarthy (New Island Books)
Sunday, November 24, 2013
It was terrific, too, to be in Trinity and meet – even for the briefest of chats – so many people all on the same wavelength. Joe Long and Seth Kavanagh, all the way from NYC; Michael Russell; Sue Condon; Paul Charles; Conor Brady; Kevin McCarthy; Eoin McNamee; Stuart Neville; Stephen Mearns; Sean Farrell; Michael Clifford; Rob Kitchin; Declan Hughes; Critical Mick; and Bob Johnston, all the way from the Gutter Bookshop.
I had to leave at lunchtime on Saturday, due to work commitments so I missed out on the Saturday afternoon panel (and seeing Brian McGilloway, Niamh O’Connor, Gene Kerrigan and Louise Phillips); and I also missed out on John Connolly interviewing Michael Connelly, which I imagine was the weekend’s highlight. A real pity that, but needs must.
Even so, it looked to me like the festival was a triumph, and a tribute to the fantastic efforts of Dr Brian Cliff, Professor John Waters of Glucksman House at NYC, and that tireless champion of all things Irish crime writing, John Connolly. Hearty congratulations to all involved, and here’s hoping the Trinity Irish crime writing event becomes a regular feature of the Irish literary scene.