Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Creative Writing: ‘The Art of Murder’ at the IWC

I’m delighted to be hosting ‘The Art of Murder’ at the Irish Writers’ Centre this summer, an eight-week course focusing on the crime novel which starts on May 8th. Quoth the blurb elves:
From the whodunit to domestic noir, private eyes to comedy capers, police procedurals to serial killers, the crime / mystery genre is a very broad church. ‘The Simple Art of Murder’ is an eight-week course covering those elements integral to all novels – plot and character, language, voice and setting – while paying particular attention to those aspects of the crime / mystery novel which make it the most popular genre in the world. This practical course will involve weekly assignments and interactive feedback, and will provide aspiring writers with an overview of the crime fiction genre and the means by which they can adapt their unique skills to the genre’s demands.
  For all the details, including how to book, clickety-click here

Friday, April 5, 2019

Publication: CRUEL ACTS by Jane Casey

Jane Casey publishes CRUEL ACTS (HarperCollins), the latest in her superb Maeve Kerrigan series, on April 18th. Quoth the blurb elves:
How can you spot a murderer?
  Leo Stone is a ruthless killer – or the victim of a miscarriage of justice. A year ago, he was convicted of the murder of two women and sentenced to life in prison. But now he’s free, and according to him, he’s innocent.
  DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve finds out, the less convinced she is of his guilt.
  Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?
  For more on Jane Casey, clickety-click here

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Review: THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan

Dervla McTiernan’s debut, The Ruin (2018), introduced Detective Cormac Reilly, recently relocated to Galway from Dublin. In her follow-up, The Scholar (Sphere, €15.99), Cormac’s partner Emma discovers the body of a young woman who has been killed, and badly disfigured, during a hit-and-run outside the Galway laboratories of Darcy Therapeutics. The victim is initially thought to be Carline Darcy, the granddaughter of billionaire pharmacist John Darcy and reputed to be one of the finest young scientific minds of her generation – but when the victim’s true identity is learned, Emma herself becomes a suspect in Cormac’s case. There are shades of Ross Macdonald in McTiernan’s sophomore novel: an austere patriarch, successive generations of a family manifesting the same flawed gene, a self-crippling lust for power, money and status (‘To Carline they were the bloody Kennedys. Everything Carline did, she did because she was trying to earn a ticket to Camelot.’). McTiernan employs the police procedural form rather than that of the private eye, however, and where a single private detective might have been able to turn a blind eye to Emma’s possible involvement in murder, Cormac Reilly has obligations to a more public code of conduct. The result is a complex, densely plotted murder investigation in which the investigators are professionally and emotionally compromised, not least because their opinion of the fabulously wealthy Darcy family is nowhere as impartial as it should be: ‘There was always something morbidly fascinating about the super-rich. It was like sniffing at a piece of meat that had been hung a bit too long, that had a taint of rot about it.’ ~ Declan Burke

  This review appeared in the Irish Times’ crime fiction column for March, which also included new titles from Jo Spain, Stina Jackson, William Boyle and Sofie Laguna.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Publication: THE GHOST FACTORY by Jenny McCartney

Jenny McCartney publishes her debut novel, THE GHOST FACTORY (Fourth Estate), on March 21st. Quoth the blurb elves:
The Troubles turned Northern Ireland into a ghost factory: as the manufacturing industry withered, the death business boomed. In trying to come to terms with his father’s sudden death, and the attack on his harmless best friend Titch, Jacky is forced to face the bullies who still menace a city scarred by conflict. After he himself is attacked, he flees to London to build a new life. But even in the midst of a burgeoning love affair he hears the ghosts of his past echoing, pulling him back to Belfast, crying out for retribution and justice.
  For an interview with Jenny McCartney, clickety-click here

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Publications: Irish Crime Fiction 2018/19

Being a list of Irish crime fiction titles published / to be published in 2019. To wit:

2019

DARKEST TRUTH by Catherine Kirwan (January 10)
APPLE OF MY EYE by Claire Allan (January 19)
TWISTED by Steve Cavanagh (January 24)

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by Jo Spain (February 7)
IF SHE RETURNED by S.A. Dunphy (February 7)
THE WYCH ELM by Tana French (February 19)

THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan (March 7)
THE GHOST FACTORY by Jenny McCartney (March 21)
DARK WOOD by Derek Flynn (March 26)

CRUEL ACTS by Jane Casey (April 4)
THE KILLER IN ME by Olivia Kiernan (April 4)
A BOOK OF BONES by John Connolly (April 18)

FORGET ME NOT by Claire Allan (May 16)

NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER by Kevin Barry (June 6)
LOST YOU by Haylen Beck (June 27)

THE CITY IN FLAMES by Michael Russell (July 4)
THE CHAIN by Adrian McKinty (July 9)
THE BOY WHO FELL by Jo Spain (July 11)

THE HOODED GUNMAN by John Curran (September 19)

THE BODY FALLS by Andrea Carter (October 3)
INTO THE FIRE by Arlene Hunt (October 6)

  NB: Publication dates are given according to Amazon UK, and are subject to change.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Jack-A-NOIR-Y: The NOIRELAND International Crime Fiction Festival

Belfast’s NOIRELAND crime fiction festival returns, running from 8-10 March, with a superb line-up of international and domestic writers that includes Belinda Bauer, Stuart Neville, Ann Cleeves, Adrian McKinty, Eoin McNamee, Andrea Carter, Anthony Horowitz, Olivia Kiernan, Stuart MacBride, Denise Mina, Jo Spain, William Ryan, Steve Cavanagh, and many more.
A new addition to the NOIRELAND festival is ‘Jack-A-Noir-Y’. To wit:
The NOIRELAND International Crime Fiction Festival is thrilled to announce Adrian Dunbar will be appearing at this year’s weekend event which takes place 8-10 March in Belfast.
  The renowned Northern Irish actor and star of BBC’s Line of Duty will be presenting ‘Jack-a-NOIR-y’, a bedtime story for grown-ups. Dunbar will be reading an exclusive extract from A Book of Bones, the forthcoming new novel from international bestseller John Connolly.
  Jack-a-NOIR-y is a brand new event for NOIRELAND 2019. The Irish love of a good yarn is renowned, and has fostered a nation of storytellers. The soaring popularity of audiobooks and podcasts shows it’s not just the Irish who love listening to a great story, so this is sure to be a festival favourite.
  Jack-a-NOIR-y is the closing event of Saturday’s festival programme and takes place in the atmospheric surroundings of the penthouse room of Belfast’s Europa Hotel. It will feature a filmed introduction from John Connolly, followed by Adrian Dunbar reading an extended extract from A Book of Bones.
For all the details of the festival, including a full rundown on all the authors appearing, along with details of how to book your tickets, clickety-click here

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Publication: THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan

Dervla McTiernan publishes THE SCHOLAR (Sphere), the follow-up to her debut, THE RUIN, on March 7th. Quoth the blurb elves:
Brilliance can be deadly …
  When Detective Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him.
  The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy - it has funded Emma's own ground-breaking research. The investigation into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.
  As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and, increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her? After all, this isn’t the first time Emma’s been accused of murder ...
  For more on Dervla McTiernan, clickety-click here

Friday, February 15, 2019

Interview: Jo Spain

I sat down with Jo Spain (right) a couple of weeks ago to interview her for the Irish Times. As is generally the case with crime writers (on this side of the pond, at least), Jo’s first introduction to crime fiction came courtesy of Enid Blyton:
Dirty Little Secrets is Jo Spain’s sixth novel in four years, with all five to date becoming bestsellers. It’s a prodigious output, and one that can be directly traced back to a precocious five-year-old devouring Enid Blyton stories in a bid to escape her “grim surroundings” in North Dublin’s Belcamp.
  “The people, yes, there was a lot of love, a lot of humour,” says Spain, “but aesthetically it wasn’t pleasant. There was a field beside us where dead horses would be dumped. I got attacked by a dog once, and the next day the family who owned the dog slit its throat and dumped it in the field rather than pay the vet’s bill. Meanwhile, I was reading Enid Blyton, and I was on Kirrin Island, and Aunt Fanny was making me toasted crumpets . . . I used to dream of midnight feasts. Enid Blyton,” she laughs, “made me hungry all the time.”
  For the rest of the interview, clickety-click here

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Edgar Nomination: THE LIAR’S GIRL by Catherine Ryan Howard

Belated-but-hearty congratulations to Catherine Ryan Howard, whose THE LIAR’S GIRL has been shortlisted for an Edgar award in the ‘Best Novel’ category. The full shortlist is as follows:
BEST NOVEL

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard (Blackstone Publishing)
House Witness by Mike Lawson (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland)
Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (Penguin Random House – Hogarth)
A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
  The very best of luck to Catherine – we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed come April 25th, when the winner will be announced.
  For a full list of all the nominees in all the Edgar award categories, clickety-click here

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: THE REDEEMED by Tim Pears

Banished from the rural idyll of the West Country in the years leading up to the First World War, young Leo Sercombe – The Horseman of the first volume of Tim Pears’ trilogy, and subsequently one of The Wanderers of the second novel, and now, we presume, one of The Redeemed (Bloomsbury) in the concluding volume – must walk through fire if he is to return to his beloved Devon and the landscape that Leo, acutely attuned to nature’s rhythms, has always instinctively associated with a divine presence.
  The Redeemed, however, opens a long way from the West Country. Catapulted into the flames of the North Sea when the ship on which he is serving is shelled during the Battle of Scapa Flow, the half-drowned Leo rails bitterly against the God that has forsaken him. The prelapsarian paradise of The Horseman has long since been lost: ‘The horsemen who had been foretold had come. Fire and smoke and sulphur would issue from the horses’ mouths.’
  Whilst Leo grapples with Revelations and apocalyptic visions, Lottie – Lord Prideaux’s daughter, whom the young Leo dared to befriend before being beaten and exiled for his familiarity – has grown into an accomplished veterinarian. But the West Country is no longer the arcadian ideal Leo left behind. ‘Reproduction is the most extraordinary miracle in the whole of nature,’ Lottie’s mentor Patrick Jago tells her, but it’s also ‘a savage business’. A savagery that is by no means the sole preserve of the animals she treats; men, as the unprotected Lottie quickly discovers, are capable of cruelties that animals couldn’t even imagine.
  Told in parallel narratives which chart Leo and Lottie’s tortuous journey towards their destiny together, The Redeemed is a hugely satisfying conclusion to the West Country trilogy. Tim Pears’ language is as spare and evocative as ever – Leo, smelling the sweat of men readying for battle, realises the musky, rank stench comes from ‘deeper pores, primitive glands, some true authentic depth of their being’ – and his eye for the telling detail is undiminished: ‘the carter tugged with all his force, and the fore-leg was yanked and ripped off the body of the dead foal so abruptly that it came slithering out of the vagina of the mare and the carter staggered backwards across the wet straw of the loose box with the severed limb, like a man astounded by what he’d been given, struggling to retain his balance.’
  The theme is one of rebirth, of endlessly renewing possibilities. ‘We may be an old species nearin the end a days,’ says Leo, ‘or we may be a young species with heaven on earth ahead of us.’ The future, whatever it holds, will be far more complex than the simple certainties that defined Leo’s childhood: ‘I want to work with horses … Just as tractors is takin over.’
  But even as new technologies, and the war to end all wars, and the wisdom of age all combine to erode Lottie and Leo’s belief in the established order of things, a hard-won faith in themselves and their place in the natural cycle prevails. It is a shared vision derived from their mutual love of, and understanding of, horses:
  Lottie said that when she looked into the eyes of a horse, she acknowledged that it does not see as much as humans do, nor understand much of what it sees. ‘But I have the feeling I glimpse what is behind the horse,’ she said. ‘What made him.’
  ‘God?’
  ‘I don’t know. Is there a need to name it?’
  Leo shook his head in agreement.
  This review was first published in the Irish Times.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Publication: TWISTED by Steve Cavanagh

Last year’s winner of the CWA’s Gold Dagger Award, Steve Cavanagh publishes his latest thriller, TWISTED (Orion), on January 24. Quoth the blurb elves:
Who is JT LeBeau?
  A bestselling crime writer, whose words have gripped the world.
  The only mystery greater than his stories is his true identity.
  One woman thinks she’s found him - her husband has millions in the bank and a letter for the enigmatic author.
  But the truth is far more TWISTED ...
  It’s a twisty one, alright – no less an authority than Stuart Neville has already declared that TWISTED is possessed of ‘more twists than a Curly Wurly!’
  For more on Steve Cavanagh, clickety-click here