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.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Here We Go O’Carrolling …

I mentioned Niamh O’Connor during the week in terms of authenticity and her antipathy to the criminals she meets given the nature of her day job as a crime correspondent, and lo! Up pops another debutant author with even stronger claims to authenticity and antipathy. To wit:
Gerry O’Carroll was one of Ireland’s leading serious crime detectives. Born in the west of Ireland, Gerry trained in Dublin and was central to the investigation of over 80 murders. He was the first Irish detective to carry a firearm and has appeared at the top of IRA and gangland murder lists. He personally arrested Ireland’s longest-serving prisoners, the serial killers John Shaw and Geoffrey Evans, and was involved in the pursuit of John Gilligan, responsible for the murder of Veronica Guerin. Gerry was first on the scene when the IRA murdered notorious gangster Martin Cahill.
  Co-written with Jeff Gulvin, O’Carroll’s debut is titled THE GATHERING OF SOULS, with the blurb elves wittering thusly:
This gripping debut introduces series characters Detectives Moss Quinn and Joe Doyle in a race against time to find Quinn’s abducted wife. A touch Denis Lehane meets Joseph Wambaugh, this suspenseful, contemporary Irish thriller looks set to join John Connolly and Alex Barclay’s books as an international bestseller. A year to the day after the death of their son, Moss Quinn’s wife Eva Marie has been abducted. He is Dublin’s star detective, investigating the disappearance of five women and the murder of another the year before. Moss’s number-one suspect walks free from the subsequent trial amidst allegations of police brutality meted out by Quinn’s partner, Joe Doyle, an old-school cop. Quinn’s world is in turmoil, his marriage is a mess, his reputation after the trial is in tatters and now his wife has been abducted. Somewhere out there, his wife is lying bound and gagged, she has been left to die of thirst. In 72 hours she will be in a coma or dead, and there is a voice on the phone telling him the clock is ticking and that the clues to his wife’s whereabouts are in his past ... Building to a heart-stopping finale, with a cast of credible and colourful characters from the criminal underworld and police ranks alike, THE GATHERING OF SOULS is an authentic, dark tale of obsession, revenge and redemption.
  O’Carroll, by the way, published a non-fiction title, THE SHERIFF: A DETECTIVE’S STORY, in 2006. Meanwhile, there’s a short interview with Gerry over at The Metro, with one snippet reading thusly:
Q: You were involved in dozens of high profile cases over the years. Which arrest and conviction are you most proud of?

A: “Probably the case of John Shaw and Geoffrey Evans, two English career criminals-turned-murderers. They were convicted for robbery and sent to Mountjoy in the 1970s. But because of a blunder they were convicted under false names and later released. They went on a murderous rampage and killed two women, Mary Duffy and Elizabeth Plunkett. These were the most sickening deaths ever afforded to two human beings. People think killers like these go round with the mark of Cain on their foreheads but they were two ordinary looking guys. After we caught them I was handcuffed to Shaw, and he turned and said to me: ‘Gerry, I’m glad you caught me.’ ‘Why’s that?’ I replied. ‘Because we were going to kill one a week.’ That was one of the most chilling remarks ever made to me. They’re now the longest serving convicts in the history of the state.”


Sean Patrick Reardon said...


Sean from Boston here.

Both the author and the novel seem very interstesting. I have been on a fantastic journey of reading Irish / Irish American crime novels for the last 6 months. I am looking forward to get cracking on yours, and look forward to keeping up with your blog.

Anonymous said...
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Declan Burke said...

Much obliged, Sean. Welcome aboard, sir ...

Cheers, Dec