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.

Monday, December 3, 2007

All The Fun Of The Fayre: Yep, ’Tis Ye Olde Crime Carnivale!

“Ta-ra-ra-boo-ki-yay / Ta-ra-ra- boo-ki-yay …” Yessiree Sideshow Bob, it’s the latest leg of the Crime Carnival, and sincere apologies if our calliope music sounds a little wonky, not to mention nothing like any music you’ve heard before at any carnival. Here at Crime Always Pays Towers, however, wonkiness is the new black, courtesy of the elves’ patented Elf-Wonking Juice. Stick around, you just might get used to it …

Before we plunge down the dark alleyway that is the crime writing blogosphere, however, we’d like to doff our caps / pay our dues / offer you a little history. Ye Olde Crime Carnivale is the brainchild of criminal mastermind Barbara Fister, who thought that it might be a rather spiffing idea for like-minded people to share their favourite blogs, websites, writers and all things crime-‘n’-interweb-related. Karen Chisholm at AustCrimeFiction took up the poisoned chalice in her beautifully manicured hand, before passing it on to the strong and silent (but deadly) J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet. Sadly, he got himself hooked up with a load of Femmes Fatales (left), and brother, that was all she (or they, for that matter) wrote.

Anyhoo, moving swiftly along … First, a brief history of Crime Always Pays. Last April, the Grand Vizier, Declan Burke, co-published THE BIG O with the tiny but perfectly formed Irish publishing house Hag’s Head Press on a 50-50 costs and profits deal. There being zip, zilch and nada in the promotion budget, and Declan Burke having a yen to start telling the world at large about the thriving Irish crime fiction scene, a blog was born. Naturally, the first thing we discovered was that someone else had got there before us. Critical Mick – for lo! It is he! – is a veritable Golden Cornflake of Irish crime fiction blogging, being the original and the best. Irascible, spicily opinionated, never less than original and mad as a box of frogs, Critical Mick should be the first port of call for anyone looking for updates on Irish crime writing or confirmation that they are, in fact, the second-biggest loony on the planet. Ah, and an honourable mention in terms of an Irish crime fiction resource goes to author Cormac Millar, who compensates for his irregular updates with a comprehensive database of all things Irish crime writing.

Coming as we do from an independent publishing viewpoint, we generally like to support the kind of lone wolves who pretty much march to their own drum, and so – trumpet parp please, maestro – it’s off to Philly to drop in on Peter Rozovsky at Detectives Beyond Borders. Given that he’s likely to celebrate anything from Eoin Colfer’s young adult fiction to crime tropes in Shakespeare, we like to imagine that yon Rozovsky has a brain like the Mekon from the old Dan Dare comics, albeit with Dan Dare’s square chin and dreamy eyes. Or is that just us? Hmmmm …

Anyway, off we go again with hop, a skip and a jump across the blogosphere to the man we believe is either Rozovsky’s evil twin / alter ego or his dastardly nemesis, Glenn Harper at International Noir. Glenn doesn’t like Michael Dibdin, but don’t hold that against him – in the last fortnight alone he’s been bigging up fiction from Australia, Iceland, the UK and Italy, and should really be put on a retainer by International Publishers Inc., if and when such a corporation comes into being.

Meanwhile, Nathan Cain over at Independent Crime gets a well-deserved plug for (a) his resolute support for independent crime and (b) his ‘Wednesday Paperback Cover’ slot (left), the less said about which the better lest the elves start drooling into the keyboard again. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of drooling, two words: Jen Jordan. Hell, her profile even describes her as ‘friend to all elves’. If we weren’t currently stalking Ruth Dudley Edwards, Jen Jordan would be reaching for the barring order as you read. Logging on to Human Under Construction is a mini-Crime Carnival every time, a veritable cornucopia of generalised weirdness that even includes crime fiction-related material once in a while …

Out with the inflatable rubber raft, then, and it’s high-ho back across the Atlantic to the UK, and Petrona, an indispensable resource run by the ubiquitous Maxine Clarke, without whose perpetual motion the entire interweb would very probably collapse in on itself in a black hole. The great fear, of course, is that one day Maxine will stop for a snooze, and then we’ll all be scuppered. In the meantime, she’s hosting an exhaustive list of blogs and websites pertaining to a bewildering variety of crime fiction and science-related topics …

Maxine regularly reviews (said he with a barely perceptible segue) for Euro Crime, hosted by Karen Meek, a site that offers a treasure trove of info on all things (yep!) Euro + Crime, not least of which is the weekly update (usually on a Sunday evening) of a slew of new reviews. In fact, Karen is very probably the evil twin sister / dastardly nemesis of the chaps at Detectives Beyond Borders and International Noir, and for all we know they’re plotting to subvert democracy and are sending messages in code via their reviews. Still, it can’t be Mills & Boon (right) all the time, right?

One last UK resource, this being one Welsh, which is reason enough for celebration – Crimefic at It’s A Crime! Or A Mystery! is currently hosting a series in which writers chose their favourite books of the year for a ‘Christmas Books’ selection, and most of her blogspace is taken up by that project at the moment. At quieter times of the year, however, you can catch all sorts of thoughtful and incisive pieces on the book industry from the perspective of a dedicated crime fiction fan. Unfortunately, as regular readers will be aware, Crimefic has recently suffered a bereavement. Our sincere condolences go out to one of the leading ladies of the crime fiction blogosphere ...

Finally, we’re going to mention International Crime, a German outpost of all things skulduggerish and hardboiled, run by Bernd Kochanowski. The gist of his manifesto runneth thusly: Gedanken über Krimis, insbesondere aus den USA, Großbritannien und Irland. As you’ve probably guessed, the site is in German, and given that our command of German is only marginally worse than our command of English, we haven’t a buggery’s idea as to what’s going on over there except to say the man’s working hard to keep the crime fiction flame a-burning bright, which is the whole point of Ye Olde Crime Carnivale. Right? All together now: Unten müssen jene Mittelstraßen ein Mann gehen...

By the way – the next Carnival? It’s Material Witness, people. And they’re serious about crime fiction. Don’t say you weren’t warned …


krimileser said...

Ta for the mentioning.

I received on Thursday an information with the link to this post. When I looked at your blog I didn't find it (due to the fact that it was Thursday), but I found the "Spinetingler Awards"-post.

So I thought, that this is a new Irish technique of sending an online alert: You write a fake post, insert all the blogs you want to inform, activate the post so that all the blogs get a ping and kill your post. And all the keepers of the blogs take a look at your blog.

Almost a pity, but you didn't developed such an elaborate strategy. Anyway, I laude your work so far.

Barbara said...

Oh, my. Lots of good reading to be had here. That's brilliant - and I use that word in the American sense, meaning ... well, brilliant. As opposed to the Irish usage:

"I've made us a cup of tea."
"Got a bit of cake here, too. D'ye want a slice?"
"That would be brilliant."
"I've come up with a plan to eliminate world poverty. The UN's taking it up tomorrow."
"That's nice. Can you hand me a fork, then?"
"Right, here you go."


Declan Burke said...

Folks? You're brilliant. And not in the Irish way ... Cheers, Dec

Peter said...

Sorry, but that head shot looks nothing like me. I wear glasses.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Peter said...

In fact, Karen is very probably the evil twin sister / dastardly nemesis of the chaps at Detectives Beyond Borders ...

I did have lunch with Karen and another blogger of note in an unnamed major Eurpean city earlier this year. I'm sorry, but I cannot reveal what was discussed.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Maxine said...

Lovely post, Declan. I'm having a few weeks of hell -- no crime! -- too much domestic and work duties are calling me away. But your post-- reminds me of all the good things I am missing.
Ah, well, Peter refers to a lunch with two bloggers of note, which I would define as Karen and himself, and a third, humble person, whom I would define as a person who works in the area. Maybe they are in fact evil triplets?

Peter said...

Just don't ask any embarrassing questions about who paid for lunch.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Declan Burke said...

What am I running here, a crime blog or a dating agency? Sort it out, people ... Cheers, Dec

crimeficreader said...

Thanks for the lovely comments, Dec. Only just read this as it is only now I'm starting to resurface.

Your last comment there also brought a much appreciated smile to my face. If you decide to launch into dating agency proper - don't forget to charge a fee!