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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ken Bruen’s Cartoons

Ah, bored. Remember being bored? God be with the days when I’d be so bored I’d collapse comatose on the couch and flick through the TV channels just to see if there was anything on that didn’t involve cooking, buying property or Hitler. Halcyon days.
  Boredom’s a bit of a luxury these days, as is TV: about the only TV I watch now is the occasional baseball game on ESPN, Match of the Day on a Saturday night, and a documentary now and again. I got to watch half of a documentary on the Minoans last night, and good stuff it was too, although I stumbled off to bed once they started to get into the really good stuff, i.e., human sacrifice. Not that the human sacrifice bit put me off; more that I wanted to be alert when I come to the second half, so as not to miss the gory details.
  Anyway, I may just have to make room in the schedule for some TV on Thursday night, as I discovered whilst roaming through KT McCaffrey’s new blog. Quoth KT:
“I’m looking forward to Ken Bruen’s latest Jack Taylor episode. It’s on TV3 this Thursday at 9.30pm. Should be interesting to see how Bruen’s writing translates to the small screen. This one is called ‘The Pikemen Murders’ and will be shown over two nights.”
  Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly throws its eye over Sir Kenneth’s latest offering, HEADSTONE, with the gist running thusly:
Moments of grace are fleeting in Bruen’s world, and things rapidly head south after Taylor receives a miniature gravestone in the post, courtesy of a group of psychopaths calling themselves “Headstone.” Led by a fanatic recidivist criminal from a previous Taylor case, they target the “weak,” including the handicapped, the mentally ill, and the homeless. Now they have their sights set on Taylor and everyone close to him. That the plot is a tad cartoonish and over-the-top scarcely matters in a remarkable series that at heart is about one man’s reckoning with a lifetime of pain and loss in a rapidly changing Ireland.
  ‘A tad cartoonish’? A tad harsh, no? Especially when it’s the case that Ken Bruen tends to use plot in the way a TV chef might use a wok, a purely functional tool into which are mixed his prime ingredients of character, atmosphere and language.
  Of course, it being a Ken Bruen novel, virtually anything is possible, and without having read it yet, it’s not beyond the bounds of plausibility, given that his previous offering featured the Devil, that the storyline features actual cartoon characters.
  Ken Bruen scripting Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote? I’d buy that for a dollar, not least because I’d imagine that that perpetually irritating overgrown chicken would finally get its comeuppance …


Russel said...

When does the Taylor TV show come to Scotland? Goddamn I'm jonesing here... Not of course that I expect you to have the answer, Mr Burke, but just had the urge to vent my frustration...

Peter Rozovsky said...

Jack Taylor is a bit like Wile E. Coyote, isn’t he? Keeps taking shit, keeps getting beat up, keeps coming back for more.
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