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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Best Things In Life Are Free … Books

He’s a nice guy, Eoin Colfer. I sat down with him last week to interview him about PLUGGED, and was more than a little disconcerted to realise that he looks - with a new and neatly trimmed beard (not pictured, right) - not unlike Al Pacino’s younger brother. The quietly spoken one, who doesn’t need to beat his chest and hoo-yah! every five minutes.
  The result of that conversation will be turning up one these pages in a couple of days from now, but as always, many important things got left behind on the cutting floor when the interview went to press. Here’s Eoin on Ken Bruen, to whom PLUGGED is dedicated:
“The story I tell is that he’s the only writer I’ve ever written a fan-letter to. This was before I knew him. When I read THE GUARDS, I just couldn’t believe it, because you’re expecting one thing - and you get that - but you also get so much more. What I like about Jack Taylor is that he doesn’t really do anything, he just kind of walks around and goes to the pub, and things just happen to him. On occasion he’ll make the effort, but you’re basically rambling around Galway with this guy, and yet it’s incredibly entertaining and also touching, and you just know that it isn’t going to end well. It’s a bitter-sweet thing. If you read that series of books and someone comes into it you like, just don’t get attached to them, because if Jack likes them, they’re doomed. So it’s a weird way to read a series. It’s a bit like the way Dickens wrote about London, when people were afraid to like his characters, in case Charles decided to kill them off (laughs). So yeah, I’m a huge Ken fan. It’s just a nod, but then I wouldn’t want to copy him, even if I could. He’s copied so much now, and that’s when you know you’ve made an impact. He’s a real writers’ writer. I travel around the States a lot, and every crime store you go to, they love him. People here don’t realise how popular he is. Everybody loves Ken. An incredibly generous man, too, with his praise and his time, and his willingness to work with other people.”
  Hard to argue with that. I liked PLUGGED a lot, by the way. Here’s an excerpt from the review I wrote for the Irish Times:
“The result is a gloriously ramshackle comedy crime caper; as a narrative vehicle, the story is a getaway car careering downhill and losing wheels at every corner. Colfer, however, is too experienced a storyteller to get carried away himself. The propulsive chaos masks a palpable appreciation of the crime novel itself, not simply in terms of his playful subversion of the genre’s tropes, but also in Colfer’s willingness to warp the parameters of what is essentially a conservative narrative form.”
  Anyway, after the interview was finished, Eoin asked if I’d like a signed copy of PLUGGED to give away on Crime Always Pays. Erm, yes, please. To be in with a chance of winning said tome, just answer the following question:
PLUGGED is Eoin Colfer’s first foray into adult crime fiction. What non-crime author would you like to see turning his or her hand to crime writing, and why?
  Answers via the comment box, please, leaving a contact email address, using (at) rather than @ to confound the spam monkeys. The closing date is noon on Friday, May 19th. Et bon chance, mes amis …


Michael Malone said...

David Mitchell. He knows how to tell a good story and his prose is tasty.

Ray Garraty said...

Gordon Lish. I would like to see how this famous editor and writer of sentences will write a mystery without plot at all.

garraty87 at gmail com

Fricka said...

JK Rowling. I'd love to see her turn out a book on criminal detection, seeing as how her Harry Potter books already have some of that sense of mystery in them. But her writing is so lush and twists so many outside influences like mythology, that it would be fascinating to see how she would handle that in a crime novel with an intended audience of adults.

Fricka said...

Sorry, I forgot to leave my contact email in my earlier post. It's e.fricker at

bookwitch said...

No he doesn't! Younger brother, I mean.

I want to win Eoin, not the book. Would that be possible?

lil Gluckstern said...

Oh darn. Your review of Eoin's book sounds like what I was going to say about "Crime Always Pays." I just finished it, and am breathless, enlivened, a little dizzy (good dizzy), smiling, and amazed at how you keep up the pace, tidy things up so nicely at the end. Thank you for the fun ride.

lilhmb at

lil Gluckstern said...

Also love the travel pictures.

Craig said...

Suzanne Collins. In the Hunger Games trilogy she's shown she can write a compelling story with terrific cliffhanger endings. I'd like to see her do the same with adult fiction that would make people forget about Dan Brown.
roanokemaroon AT gmail dippitydot com.

Craig said...

Wait, do dead authors count? If so, I wish Dr. Seuss had written crime fiction.

The blonde walked in at half past ten.
I was unshaven and hungover again.
"Help me." she asked, her face white as a sheet. "I just killed a Lorax on Mulberry Street."

Michael A Todd said...

I'd like to see Larry McMurty's take on the Noir PI genre, his westerns are more or less crime novels set in 1800's so this may be a bit of a hedge.Lightbeeraintbeer at gmail dot com.
Ignore this if your mistake was the Fiday not the May 19th