“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.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Local Heroes: Philip Davison

We’re all familiar with the huge strides taken by Irish crime fiction over the past decade or so, but there were quite a few Irish authors writing crime / mystery / thriller novels before it was fashionable and / or (koff) profitable.
  Philip Davison (author, playwright and screenwriter, and currently a member of Aosdána) is one of them, possibly overlooked in terms of his contribution to Irish crime writing because the hero of his four spy novels, Harry Fielding, was an ‘understrapper’ for MI5.
  Davison published four novels with Fielding as his protagonist: THE CROOKED MAN (1997), MCKENZIE’S FRIEND (2000), THE LONG SUIT (2003) and A BURNABLE TOWN (2006). The reviews, such as those below for MCKENZIE’S FRIEND, were rather impressive:
“Chilly, elegant and disconcertingly comic. Rather like a collaboration between two notable Green(e)s – Graham and Henry – and quite safely described as original.” ~ Literary Review

“Davison shares Beckett’s knack for making the down-at-the-heel appear surreal.” ~ Times Literary Supplement
  THE LONG SUIT, meanwhile, was compared with John le Carré, Len Deighton and that man Graham Greene again. You get the picture: we’re in the realm of the literary spy thriller. THE LONG SUIT opens thusly:
“I had my own troubles, some of which I had addressed. When they lifted me my plan had been to go to ground, let time pass and be vigilant. Like a Druid, I had come to count nights instead of days. I watched Clements talking to somebody at the end of the corridor. He was loud, but I couldn’t make out the words. The lower jaw seemed to have just the one spring action. He was like a thirsty dog drinking from a water pistol …”
  For more on Philip Davison, clickety-click here

UPDATE: Mel Healy has a very nice appraisal of Philip Davison’s style (along with a tangent or two about his food consumption) over here

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