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.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It Was The Darkest Of Times, It Was The Even Darker Of Times …

Don’t know how I missed it, but last week the Sunday Independent ran the first chapter of Gene Kerrigan’s latest opus, the rather terrific DARK TIMES IN THE CITY, which opens up thusly:
On that part of the street, at this hour of the evening, only the pub was still open for business. Near the middle of a row of shops, between the flower shop and the hairdressers, it offered the street a welcoming glow on a chilly winter’s night. There were two entrance doors, one to the bar and one to the lounge. The windows were small, high on the wall and barred. The pub front was recently painted off-white. The blue neon decoration high on the wall was a bog standard outline of a parrot. The pub was called the Blue Parrot. It was owned and managed by a man named Novak.
  This was a neighbourhood place and most of the younger set travelled into the city centre or favoured local pubs that featured entertainment. Novak didn’t believe in pub quizzes, pub bands, comedy nights or DJs. He just sold drink and provided a venue for companionship.
  On the other side of the street, it was all terraced houses with well-tended front gardens. They were of a standard municipal design that was duplicated throughout the Glencara estate and across similar council-built estates throughout Dublin -- Finglas, Cabra West, Drimnagh, Crumlin, Ballyfermot. Small and narrow, most of the houses now bristled with extensions. Many had colourful cladding or fanciful embellishments -- columns flanking the front door or tiled canopies overhanging the windows.
  From the far end of the street a motorbike made its way towards the pub. Traffic was light here, far from the main routes through the estate, but the motorbike was taking its time, easing gently over the speed bumps installed to discourage joyriders.
The passenger was first to dismount at the pub. He took something from a saddlebag. At the entrance to the lounge he paused and gestured to the driver to hurry up.
  © Gene Kerrigan, 2009

  For the rest, clickety-click here


critical mick said...

The Midnight Choir was amazing. Gene Kerrigan's follow-up, Dark Times in the City, lives up to every hopeful aspiration. DTIC is the best book I have read so far in 2009.

seanag said...

That is a simply beautiful opening. I love it.