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, May 10, 2010

“No, I’M Declan Hughes.”

It’s not so long ago that I received an email from Val McDermid saying very nice things about my latest book, and offering a few choice words that I might want to use as a blurb on any forthcoming books, if I saw fit. I was more than prepared to overlook the fact that I didn’t actually have a ‘latest’ book, never mind any hint of any ‘forthcoming’ offerings, and just run with the praise, preferably by tattooing it on my forehead. Except I couldn’t shush the nagging voice at the back of my head that kept whispering, “Don’t be a bloody moron, man, she’s confused you with Declan Hughes.”
  It happens regularly. Most recently, Ev was kind enough to leave a comment on the post below, congratulating me on the excellent review my latest novel received in the Tribune, and promising to rush out and buy said book on foot of it. Which is nice to know, even if she has confused me with Squire Hughes (the broth of a boy pictured above right, with Ruth Dudley Edwards and, y’know, The Other Declan), whose CITY OF LOST GIRLS is garnering wonderful reviews from all over the map. Now, it’s an easy mistake to make: Declan Hughes is a handsome chap, a gregarious and charismatic bon viveur with five critically acclaimed and occasionally prize-winning novels under his belt. Declan Burke is a little less handsome, perhaps, and doesn’t actually like people, or talking to them, who co-published his last novel and only last week invested in a special high-pitched whistle in the hope that it may encourage a dog to bark at him in the street. Other than that, though, we could be twins.
  Anyway, two more fine reviews of CITY OF LOST GIRLS popped up this weekend just gone, the first from Kevin Power in the Irish Times, with the gist running thusly:
IN FEBRUARY this year the novelist and songwriter Julian Gough posted on his blog what he called “an intemperate rant” about the state of Irish fiction. “I don’t get the impression many Irish writers have played Grand Theft Auto , or bought an X-Box, or watched YouPorn,” he wrote. “Irish literary writers have become a priestly caste, scribbling by candlelight, cut off from the electric current of the culture.”
  We’ve heard all this before. Why aren’t Irish writers writing about what’s happening now? Where are our novels about the Celtic Tiger? Well, various people – including the estimable Declan Burke, who blogs at Crime Always Pays – have been patiently pointing out the truth all along: some of the best – and truest – novels about the boom period (and its tawdry conclusion) have tended to get themselves dismissed as crime fiction …
  Crime fiction it may be, but CITY OF LOST GIRLS is, as well as being an excellent thriller, also a pitch-perfect evocation of “Dublin, the former goldrush town”. Julian Gough should take note.
  For the full review, which is well worth reading, clickety-click here. Meanwhile, over at the Irish Independent, they’re singing from the same hymn sheet. To wit:
In brief, this is a compelling thriller that also manages to be a wry social critique -- not so much THE WAY WE LIVE NOW by Anthony Trollope as THE WAY WE DIE NOW by Charles Willeford. Hughes, though, remains his own man.
  In short, then: Declan Hughes is the writer-guy, and Declan Burke is the blogger-guy. And CITY OF LOST GIRLS is ‘excellent’. You know what to do, people


Paul D. Brazill said...

I thought you were Elvis Costello!

Photographe à Dublin said...

Who cares?

Your blog is great...

Declan Burke said...

Photographe - I'd imagine Dec Hughes might be a bit pissed at being confused with me ...

Paul - Ever wonder why Elvis Costello changed his name?

Cheers, Dec

bookwitch said...

As I keep saying; he's the other Declan. It all depends on one's point of view.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Change your name to Elvis.
 Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

What's in a name?