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, May 23, 2007

This Week We're Reading ... Running Mates and Pulp Culture

At a twist per page, Garbhan Downey’s crackerjack political comedy-thriller Running Mates has roughly 291 twists (although some of them, if we’re being academic about it, actually qualify as turns) – the words ‘Hiaasen’ and ‘Carl’ spring to mind in no particular order, as do the words ‘Bateman’ and ‘Bateman’ (you’re not allowed call him Colin anymore, according to a Headline fatwa). The story? A Derry newspaper editor and a stunning-if-profane judge fall out of the nuptial bed and into a presidential race down South, with a CSI-style body count along the way. “Downey's pace, wit and fresh eye on the body politic of Ireland make for a great read,” claims one enlightened soul over on Amazon … Meanwhile, Woody Haut’s Pulp Culture and The Cold War is a more sober affair, despite the flamboyant cover, but it’s a fact-tastic take on “the seminal crime novels of the Forties and Fifties, featuring the work of two dozen or so pulp novelists, including Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford, whose dicks decode the culture as well as investigate the crime,” says the Richmond Review. Okay, but is it any good? Well, we loved it … but then, we like cold baked-bean sandwiches too, so what do we know?

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