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, April 22, 2011


As all Three Regular Readers will know, I have a particular weakness for novels which aren’t crime novels per se, but which beg, borrow or steal from the crime genre. On first appearances, one such novel is Paul Soye’s THE BOY IN THE GAP, recently published by Liberties Press, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:
Paul Soye’s debut novel, THE BOY IN THE GAP, is an atmospheric coming-of-age novel. It is full of mysterious local and familial secrets, capturing the claustrophobia of small town life and its petty judgements. An angry mob assembles outside a town courthouse; something terrible has happened. Jack Sammon is the local man accused of the crime in his village, and has become a figure of universal hate in the community. THE BOY IN THE GAP charts Jack’s childhood and family experiences, and it is through these episodes poignant, funny and heart-wrenching that the novel attempts to explain, or at least suggest, why Jack may have committed the crime. He befriends a local eccentric, Irene, who reveals to him secrets about his family. These revelations that act as the catalyst for Jack’s violent actions, for which he now stands trial. Reminiscent of Pat McCabe in its dark humour and McGahern in its detailed evocation of small town dynamics, THE BOY IN THE GAP is a striking debut.
  I’ve read the first few pages, by the way, and already it’s shaping up to be a cracker.
  Meanwhile, if anyone wants to share their personal favourites vis-à-vis novels that weren’t written as crime novels, but could well be if you squinted at them, the comment box is open. My starter for ten is THE BUTCHER BOY by Pat McCabe.


Anonymous said...

Dona Tartt's The Secret History.

The Blue Pool- Tom Nestor

Arlene said...

If you squinted hard enough then 1984.

What about crime novels that aren't about crime? Murder in Memoriam by Didier Daeninckx could fit in there.


Declan Burke said...

Arlene - You know I think the sun shines out of your wazoo, but I read The Secret History and even the name 'Donna Tartt' is enough to give me a migraine. Haven't even heard of Tom Nestor, mind ...

Seth - 1984's a decent shout, sir.

Any takers for To Kill A Mockingbird?

Cheers, Dec

Gerard Brennan said...

Always fancied The Pardoner's Tale by Big G Chaucer as a bit of a crime caper...

Also, Sacrifice of Fools by Ian McDonald is more crime fiction than SF, if you ask me.


Eamonn Sweeney said...

The Outsider.
The Great Gatsby.
Tess of the Durbervilles.
London Fields.
The Third Policeman.