“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, November 5, 2016

Diary: The German Tour for THE BIG O

Well, that was a blast. The first leg of the German tour to promote THE BIG O (Edition Nautilus) was terrific fun, taking me from Berlin to Erfurt, on to Braunschweig, back to Berlin, hence to Hamburg, and finally to Unna, for ‘Mord und Hellweg’, the biennial crime fiction festival billed as the biggest in Europe.
  It’s been a crazy week. Highlights included hearing scenes from THE BIG O performed by actors (in German, natürlich – a bizarre experience for yours truly); a reading in front of an audience of 250 in a brewery in Braunschweig, which offered as much beer as you can drink with your admission ticket (why aren’t all literary events held in breweries? – discuss); a reading in a mortuary (!); a guided tour of Hamburg’s St. Pauli and Reeperbahn district (I made my excuses and left, eventually); and trying to explain the term ‘screwball noir’ to German audiences when I haven’t the faintest idea of what it might mean in English.
  The experience, as before, was made utterly painless by my friend, guide and translator, Robert Brack, who is better known in Germany as a best-selling and highly accomplished crime author. For some reason, his novels (35 and counting) have yet to be translated into the English language, although I’d imagine some savvy publisher will do so very soon.
  So – that’s it for the first leg; I’ll be back in Germany again in 10 days’ time, for a couple of sold-out gigs in Berlin. By which time I might even have come up with a definition of ‘screwball noir’ …

Thursday, November 3, 2016

One to Watch: HEADBANGER / SAD BASTARD by Hugo Hamilton

No Exit Press are introducing a new series of ‘classic doubles’ – two books in one – and one of the lead titles will be Hugo Hamilton’s deadly duo HEADBANGER and SAD BASTARD, two seminal Irish crime fiction novels that were a little too far ahead of the curve for their own good when they were first published. Quoth the blurb elves:
Headbanger - Pat Coyne is a Dublin policeman who is passionately devoted to sorting out the world and its problems. For Coyne, such things as cars, crime, pollution and golf are all ominous signs of a disintegrating society. The world is committing suicide, with MTV droning in the background. Coyne’s principal mission is to deal with crime, Ireland’s biggest growth industry. Though only a cop on the beat, he decides to take on the notorious gang leader, Drummer Cunningham. When a murder investigation leaves detectives clueless, he enters into a personal feud with the underworld, resulting in disastrous consequences for himself and his family. Coyne is a Dublin Dirty Harry for whom everything begins to go wrong.

Sad Bastard - Garda Pat Coyne - aka ‘Mr Suicide’ is back. Injured in the line of duty, he is now out of work with too much time on his hands. Living alone, he’s become more obsessive and volatile, developing a fetish for women’s knickers. When a body washes up on the docks, the prime suspect is none other than the former Garda’s son, Jimmy. Like father like son, both Coynes are notorious for their sweeping spells of self-destruction. But while Pat’s motives lean toward cleaning up the world’s messes, Jimmy possesses a taste for mayhem. Coyne’s estranged wife blames him, his mother-in-law berates him, and his therapist labels him psychotic. But when a duo of criminal thugs try to kill his boy, Coyne decides that it’s up to him to straighten things out.
  HEADBANGER / SAD BASTARD will be published on March 23rd, 2017. For all the details, clickety-click here

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Public Vote: The Irish Crime Novel of the Year

The shortlists for the Irish Books of the Year were announced last week, and now it’s time for Joe and Josephine Public to have their say – the winning novel will be decided by public vote, so vote early and vote often. The crime fiction shortlist runs thusly:
Crime Fiction Award
Distress Signals – Catherine Ryan Howard (Corvus)
Little Bones – Sam Blake (Bonnier Zaffre)
Lying in Wait – Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
The Constant Soldier – William Ryan (Mantle)
The Drowning Child – Alex Barclay (HarperCollins)
The Trespasser – Tana French (Hachette Ireland)
  To vote for your preferred candidate, clickety-click here. And while you’re about it, and if the spirit so moves you, please feel free to vote for Jane Casey’s stunning ‘Green, Amber, Red’ (from the TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS anthology) in the Short Story category.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Publication: PURSUIT by John McAllister

John McAllister has previously published two police procedural mysteries in the ‘Barlow’ series, but PURSUIT (Glenlish Publishing) is a standalone thriller about a professional hitman. Quoth the blurb elves:
“A man, a van and a dog, you’d think they’d be easy found.”
  Professional hitman, Doc Terence, has been given an impossible contract. Half of the Organisation wants him to find and kill disgraced politician, Paul Bradley. But the other half, led by Doc’s brother, Jimmy, insist on interrogating the man first. Bradley proves elusive and, as frustrations build, the body count mounts.
  Then there’s the women in Doc’s life: his runaway wife, and a defiant Connie who conceals information about Bradley. Really, to protect his professional integrity, Doc should kill both women and he does try to. However, Doc has never yet hit a woman let alone murdered one.
  Unaware of the threat to his life Bradley takes a job in greyhound kennels, where he trains his dog for a big race. Everyone comes together the night of the Rosebowl final, and there are enemies out there that Doc doesn’t know about …
  PURSUIT is published on November 1st. For all the details, clickety-click here