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.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Now That’s What We Call An Offer Platform # 719

Brandon Books today release James Monaghan’s (right, with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams) COLOMBIA JAIL JOURNAL, which may or may not confirm that Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly – aka the Colombia Three – were amateur ornithologists who travelled to Colombia’s demilitarised zone for a spot of eco-tourism. Quoth the Brandon blurb elves:
Three Irish Republicans – James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly – were arrested at Bogotá airport by the Colombian army, who alleged that they had been training FARC rebels, and were members of the IRA. Almost three years were to pass in which the three men were held in appalling conditions in several different Colombian jails, all the time in daily danger of assassination by fellow prisoners acting for right-wing paramilitaries, who had placed a price on their heads. Now, for the first time, James Monaghan tells the inside story of the Colombia Three: why they were in the demilitarised zone; what they discussed with the FARC rebels; how they survived the daily dangers of their time in prison. It is an extraordinary, unique account.
And if that all sounds a bit grim, panic not:
There are lighter moments, too, in this fascinating account, as James Monaghan struggles with his lack of Spanish and tries to avoid the attentions of a homicidal fellow inmate, while Martin McCauley bargains all around him for cigarettes and matches.
Erm, okay, it’s grim all round. But at least (spoilers alert!) there’s a happy ending …
Although found not guilty on the charges of training FARC rebels, and released, an appeal by the prosecution saw them sentenced in December 2004 to 17 years in jail. Meanwhile, however, they had gone into hiding, and by August 2005 they had made their way back to Ireland.
Incidentally, Gerry Adams is doing an Irish tour to promote AN IRISH EYE, and will be in Easons of Limerick and Cork this Saturday, November 10. For details of the Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Belfast book signings, jump over here.

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