“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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Overview: The St Patrick’s Day Rewind

A very happy St Patrick’s Day to one and all, and to celebrate the day that’s in it I thought I’d offer up some of the highlights of Irish crime writing (aka Emerald Noir) from the blog – book reviews, interviews, features, etc. – from the last five years or so. To wit:
An interview with Tana French on the publication of BROKEN HARBOUR
In short, Tana French is one of modern Ireland’s great novelists. Broken Harbour isn’t just a wonderful mystery novel, it’s also the era-defining post-Celtic Tiger novel the Irish literati have been crying out for.

An interview with Alan Glynn on the publication of WINTERLAND
“I think that the stuff you ingest as a teenager is the stuff that sticks with you for life,” says Glynn. “When I was a teenager in the 1970s, the biggest influence was movies, and especially the conspiracy thrillers. What they call the ‘paranoid style’ in America – Klute, The Parallax View, All the President’s Men, Three Days of the Condor, and of course, the great Chinatown … We’re all paranoid now.”

A triptych of reviews of John Connolly’s THE LOVERS, Stuart Neville’s THE TWELVE (aka THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST) and Declan Hughes’ ALL THE DEAD VOICES:
“But then The Lovers, for all that it appears to be an unconventional but genre-friendly take on the classic private eye story, eventually reveals itself to be a rather complex novel, and one that is deliciously ambitious in its exploration of the meanings behind big small words such as love, family, duty and blood.”

“Whether or not Fegan and his ghosts come in time to be seen as a metaphor for Northern Ireland itself, as it internalises and represses its response to its sundering conflicts, remains to be seen. For now, The Twelve is a superb thriller, and one of the first great post-Troubles novels to emerge from Northern Ireland.”

“As with Gene Kerrigan’s recent Dark Times in the City, and Alan Glynn’s forthcoming Winterland, Hughes’s novel subtly explores the extent to which, in Ireland, the supposedly exclusive worlds of crime, business and politics can very often be fluid concepts capable of overlap and lucrative cross-pollination, a place where the fingers that once fumbled in greasy tills are now twitching on triggers.”

A review of Eoin McNamee’s ORCHID BLUE
“Students of Irish history will know that Robert McGladdery was the last man to be hanged on Irish soil, a fact that infuses Orchid Blue with a noir-ish sense of fatalism and the inevitability of retribution. That retribution and State-sanctioned revenge are no kind of justice is one of McNamee’s themes here, however, and while the story is strained through an unmistakably noir filter, McNamee couches the tale in a form that is ancient and classical, with McGladdery pursued by Fate and its Furies and Justice Curran a shadowy Thanatos overseeing all.”

A review of Jane Casey’s THE LAST GIRL
On the evidence of THE BURNING and THE LAST GIRL, Maeve Kerrigan seems to me to be an unusually realistic and pragmatic character in the world of genre fiction: competent and skilled, yet riddled with self-doubt and a lack of confidence, she seems to fully inhabit the page. This was a pacy and yet thoughtful read, psychologically acute and fascinating in terms of Maeve’s personal development, particularly in terms of her empathy with the victims of crime.

Eoin Colfer on Ken Bruen’s THE GUARDS
“I was expecting standard private-investigator fare, laced with laconic humour, which would have been fine, but what I got was sheer dark poetry.”

A review of Adrian McKinty’s THE COLD COLD GROUND
As for the style, McKinty quickly establishes and maintains a pacy narrative, but he does a sight more too. McKinty brings a quality of muscular poetry to his prose, and the opening paragraph quoted above is as good an example as any. He belongs in a select group of crime writers, those you would read for the quality of their prose alone: James Lee Burke, John Connolly, Eoin McNamee, David Peace, James Ellroy.
  For updates on the latest on all Irish crime writers, just type the author’s name into the search box at the top left of the blog …

No comments: