“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, March 15, 2014

The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre

Given that it’s the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I thought I’d run a quick round-up of some interesting Irish crime fiction novels, aka ‘Emerald Noir’, that have appeared on ye olde blogge so far in 2014. It runs a lot like this:

THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE by Benjamin Black, aka the new Philip Marlowe novel.

UNRAVELLING OLIVER by Liz Nugent, an intriguing debut from an impressive new voice.

SLEEPING DOGS by Mark O’Sullivan, a sequel to one of the more interesting debuts I read last year.

THE RAGE by Gene Kerrigan, which was recently shortlisted in the LA Times’ Book Awards crime / mystery category.

BLUE IS THE NIGHT by Eoin McNamee, a superb novel which concludes his ‘Blue’ trilogy.

IN THE ROSARY GARDEN by Nicola White, another excellent debut.

HARM’S REACH by Alex Barclay, the latest in the Ren Bryce series, which I’ve been enjoying hugely.

THE FINAL SILENCE by Stuart Neville, the third novel to feature DI Jack Lennon.

KILMOON by Lisa Alber, a debut written by an American author and set in Ireland.

DEADLY INTENT by Anna Sweeney, which is to the best of my knowledge the first Irish crime novel translated from the Irish language.

THE WOLF IN WINTER by John Connolly, which is the latest Charlie Parker novel, and hotly anticipated it is too.

IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE by Adrian McKinty, which concludes his excellent Sean Duffy trilogy.

CAN ANYONE HELP ME? by Sinead Crowley, a forthcoming debut already attracting plenty of strong advance buzz.

  So there you have it – just some of the highlights from the last couple of months on Crime Always Pays. If you’re looking for another author, just type in the name in the search engine on the top left of the page, and off you go. Oh, and a very happy St. Patrick’s day to you, wherever you may be in the world …

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Trilogy Grows Up In Brooklyn

Irish-American author Eamon Loingsigh has just published LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY (Three Rooms Press), the first in a planned trilogy backdropped by the immigrant Irish gang experience on the Brooklyn waterfront. To wit:
LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY is the riveting and immersive saga of Irish gangs on the Brooklyn waterfront in the early part of the 20th century, told through the eyes of young newcomer Liam Garrity. Forced at age 14 to travel alone to America after money grew scarce in Ireland, Garrity stumbles directly into the hard-knock streets of the Irish-run waterfront and falls in with a Bridge District gang called the White Hand. Through a series of increasingly tense and brutal scenes, he has no choice but to use any means necessary to survive and carve out his place in a no-holds-barred community living outside the law. The book is the first of Irish-American author Eamon Loingsigh’s ‘Auld Irishtown’ trilogy, which delves into the stories and lore of the gangs and families growing up in this under-documented area of Brooklyn’s Irish underworld.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Norn Iron, Norn Noir

I mentioned a couple of months ago that Adrian McKinty and Stuart Neville are co-editing a collection of short stories titled BELFAST NOIR (Akashic City Noir), and the first sight of the cover has popped up over at Adrian McKinty’s interweb lair. Quoth Adrian:
“With the success of the new BBC drama ‘The Fall’ and the bestseller status of a surprising number of crime writers from Ireland, I think the wheel may finally turning towards Northern Irish fiction. For years the words “The Troubles”, “Northern Ireland” and “Belfast” caused book buyers, programme makers and publishers to either shrug with indifference or shudder in horror; but the new generation of writers coming out of Belfast is so good that a previously reluctant audience has had their interest piqued. I’ve been saying on this blog for the last three years that the Scandinavian crime boom is going to end and the Irish crime boom is going to begin and I still believe that. The depth of talent is there. All it needs is a spark, hopefully BELFAST NOIR will add kindling to a growing fire ...”
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blonde Ambition

I had a piece published in the Irish Independent last weekend on the new Benjamin Black Philip Marlowe novel, THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE (Mantle), which was very enjoyable to write, not least because the commission required me to write a goodly chunk about Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe before getting down to the nitty-gritty of the Benjamin Black novel. I liked the book a lot, by the way, even it’s not a purist’s dream of Chandleresque prose. That piece can be found here.
  Meanwhile, John Banville had a very good piece in The Guardian last weekend about his long-standing love affair with the novels of Raymond Chandler, which began at a young age. Here’s a sample:
“The most durable thing in writing is style,” Chandler wrote in a letter to a literary agent in 1945. In this assertion and others like it he was laying claim to his place on Parnassus, if on one of the lower slopes. Flaubert and Joyce complained frequently and loudly of having no choice but to scatter the gold coinage of their prose over the base metal of mere mortal doings, and Chandler too, in his less emphatic, more sardonic, way, sought to set himself among the gods of pure language, pure style.
  Like the bard of Bay City, the French and Irish masters of realist fiction frequently professed to care nothing for content and everything for form – and form, of course, was just another word for style. Writing to one of his numerous correspondents, Chandler insisted that “the only writers left who have anything to say are those who write about practically nothing and monkey around with odd ways of doing it”. Out of their grand indifference, however, Flaubert created Emma Bovary and Frédéric Moreau, and Joyce Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus; and Chandler, not to be outdone, gave us Marlowe, the private eye of private eyes, who is among the immortals. – John Banville
  For the rest, clickety-click here

This Way Comes ...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reid All About It

Moss Reid is the private eye hero of Mel Healy’s debut novel, ANOTHER CASE IN COWTOWN (Createspace), which is set in Dublin’s Stoneybatter. To wit:
Dublin, Ireland, summer 2013. It’s the middle of a heatwave, and things are hotting up for Moss Reid. He’s the kind of downscale private eye who likes to have the right priorities in life: eat, drink and investigate - in that order. But the Stoneybatter sleuth has way too much on his plate this week: an adoption trace, a missing person, a couple of cheating spouses, a series of thefts at a top Dublin restaurant, and someone has nicked his laptop. So what’s he doing sitting in an interrogation room, being grilled (and boiled and finely diced) by the Murder Squad? ANOTHER CASE IN COWTOWN is the first in Irish writer Mel Healy’s series about Moss Reid, the gastronomic detective whose main patch is Dublin’s urban village of Stoneybatter.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hardboiled Cool

I came across a very nice round-up of ‘hardboiled Irish crime fiction’ over at Off the Shelf the other day, which – I was very pleased to discover – included my very own ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL. To wit:
A fictional version of writer Burke is confronted by a character from an unfinished novel. Karlsson, the now-corporeal character, is irked at the limbo he has been left in. Burke is under pressure from his publisher to submit his next manuscript, but Karlsson is alternately charming and cheeky, and Burke agrees to let him write his own story. This gripping tale subverts the crime genre’s grand tradition of liberal sadism. Not only an example of Irish crime writing at its best; it is an innovative, self-reflexive piece that turns every convention of crime fiction on its head.
  The piece also includes novels by Gene Kerrigan, Tana French, Alan Glynn, Adrian McKinty, Ken Bruen, Stuart Neville and Declan Hughes. For all the details, clickety-click here