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, March 10, 2011

On Putting The Art Into Artemis

I’m generally not too fussed about cover art, I have to say, but once in a while a book comes along that reminds me why I should be. Eoin Colfer’s ARTEMIS FOWL celebrates its 10th anniversary with a series of revamped covers, and it’s fair to say that the designer(s) earned his or her corn. Jaw-droppingly beautiful stuff, and congratulations to all involved.
  For the rest of the Artemis Fowl redesigns, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, Eoin Colfer popped up in the pages of the Irish Times last week with his contribution to World Books Day, in a feature which asked writers about the one book they think everyone else should read. Eoin picked THE GUARDS by Ken Bruen. To wit:
“I am a big fan of genre fiction. I suppose the books I like best are the ones that surprise me, which is a little ironic for someone who reads genre stuff. I like books where you think you know exactly what you are getting and suddenly find yourself thrown for a loop as the author injects some reanimating concoction into the formula’s corpse. Lately I have been reading a lot of crime, and more specifically Irish crime. We have several writers making their mark internationally for the very reason that they have brought something fresh to the genre. Declan Burke, Colin Bateman and John Connolly are a few of the breakthrough stars, but for me the man that stands out is the Galway noir-king, Ken Bruen. If you are a crime aficionado and you have not read Bruen’s Jack Taylor series, then you are seriously missing out. I remember picking up THE GUARDS, which is the first book in the series, at Dublin airport, and subsequently staying awake all the way across the Atlantic just to finish it. I was expecting standard private-investigator fare, laced with laconic humour, which would have been fine, but what I got was sheer dark poetry. It was a tale of addiction, loss and Ireland, without the leprechauns. This book was so good it prompted me to write my first fan letter, which Ken actually responded to. THE GUARDS will blow you away. Usually I would round off with a sentence beginning with, “If you liked so and so, then you will love THE GUARDS,” but this time I cannot do it, because there is nothing like Bruen’s work. You have to read him to understand. I have bought about 20 copies of this book for friends and every one of them now worships at the dark and bloody altar of Bruen, whose writing is a lot less melodramatic than mine without a single mention of dark and bloody altars.”
  That’s all very nice, isn’t it? Personally, I’m particularly chuffed with the way Eoin lumped me in with Ken Bruen, Colin Bateman and John Connolly, although - as always - I’m inclined to believe it was a typo, and that Eoin meant to reference Declan Hughes.
  Anyway, keep a weather eye out for Eoin Colfer’s first adult crime novel, PLUGGED, which will be winging your way in May. Herewith be all the details


Pepper Smith said...

Very cool. Sometimes it just takes a little while for people to start sitting up and taking notice, but the reviews in the sidebar of the blog suggest that wasn't a typo in his remarks. Congratulations!

bookwitch said...

Yeah, he did. But he's too busy riding camels right now, so won't correct his mistake.
You mean this Bruen chap is better than you?

kathy d. said...

Definitely have to read this book.

What about Tana French? Just finished "Faithful Place," not quite a police procedural, a story of love lost, a novel of family dysfunction, working-class lives and frustrations.

Quite a good book, included in several U.S. reviewers' top fiction of 2010, not just crime fiction.

Declan Burke said...

Hi Pepper - you're far too kind, ma'am. Much obliged.

Ms Witch - 'this Bruen chap' is on a plane all of his own. Delighted to be mentioned in the same breath, to be honest.

Kathy - Well, Eoin didn't mention Tana - he may not have read her stuff yet. But if you scroll down through the pages, you'll find that Tana gets plenty of credit for what she's achieved here ...

Cheers, Dec