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, June 5, 2010

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Gerry O’Carroll

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...

What crime novel would you most like to have written?
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Dostoevsky, it embodies to me the two ingredients of the story of a villain. It personifies that a criminal can run but can’t hide, the inevitability of his punishment. It’s a profound insight into the dark soul of a criminal.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Jack Rebus from Rankin’s novels - I see in him a lot of the darkness of myself and the weakness of human nature.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I go back and go back and go back to Charles Dickens’ TALE OF TWO CITIES and Victor Hugo’s THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. And of course J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Most satisfying writing moment?
When I got to writing the last line of the last chapter of THE GATHERING OF SOULS.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
John Connolly’s EVERY DEAD THING. I love Connolly’s style and his encroachment into the supernatural that seems to accompany his books. I’m very much an aficionado of the paranormal thanks to my own personal experiences.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Brian McGilloway’s border thriller GALLOWS LANE would adapt to the screen very well. There’s a richness in his style and tapestry that would suit the movies. But especially it is the depth of his characters – in particular Inspector Ben Devlin - and the scale of the plot that includes suspect arms finds and shadowy MI5 figures that would keep you on the edge of your seat.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst thing is that I’m lazy, and it’s an absolutely ordeal – I’d have to be handcuffed to the chair. The best thing is probably getting the first copy hot off the press that will make up for the blood sweat and tears. I’ve always been more of the outdoor type, and that need for discipline hamstrings me.

The pitch for your next book is …?
I wouldn’t want to dig too deeply into that yet, but it’ll probably go further into the exploration of Quinn’s and Doyle characters, set in Ireland’s gripping world of crime, which extends right across the globe (as seen in recent happenings in Spain), and which we all live in. There will be a certain international element in their next case.

Who are you reading right now?
Stieg Larsson - I just finished the last novel of his tremendous trilogy, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST. For me, Stieg Larsson is the most original contemporary crime writer, almost the revelation of crime writers in the last twenty years. My breath was taken away when I read the first book. It is a much abused world he depicts, and I just couldn’t stop, I was blown away.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. It is the last refuge and comfort of old age.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Authentic. Heartfelt. Uncompromising.

Gerry O’Carroll’s THE GATHERING OF SOULS is published by Liberties Press. The image is used courtesy of the Evening Herald.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...


Every time I visit this blog, my reading list just keeps growing. Mr. O'Carrol has now been added.

EVERY DEAD THING is a must read, I am sensing.

RESURRECTION MAN has had a huge impact on me, but I guess that is an author's goal.

Stieg Larsson also requires more investigation.


I am getting an education, like no other from your blog, Thanks. I'm reminded of a fav quote from Rock-n-Rolla courtesy of Lenny Cole

"There's no school like old school, and I'm the fucking headmaster."

You sir, are the headmaster for aspiring crime writers. College can't teach this stuff, and the price is right.

Declan Burke said...

I thank you kindly for the good words, Sean ... but I'd suggest I'm far from any kind of role model for aspiring writers of any stripe.

Every Dead Thing being a brilliant intro to John Connolly's work, it's certainly worth your while.

As for Stieg Larsson, I'm in the minority there, as I found the first novel very difficult to get through - in fact, I didn't make it past the first 100 pages or so. But different folks, different strokes ...

Cheers, Dec