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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Best Things In Life Are Free … Books

As all Three Regular Readers will be aware, my humble tome ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL has been short-listed in the Crime Fiction category at the Irish Book Awards, and very pleased I am about that. To celebrate, I’m giving away three signed copies of ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL, which has, all false modesty aside, been rather well received by the critics. The latest review comes courtesy of Alan Griffiths over at Brit Grit, with the gist running thusly:
“I rattled through AZC. It’s highly original, witty, laugh-out-loud at times, thought-provoking and sprinkled with cracking dialogue that, I think, is a hallmark of Declan’s writing. AZC is a terrific read.” - Alan Griffiths, Brit Grit
  I thank you kindly, sir. Incidentally, Michael Malone also has some rather nice things to say about AZC over at May Contain Nuts
  Elsewhere, the general thrust of the AZC reviews have run something like this:
“Karlsson is a thrilling creation, up there with the Patrick Batemans of literature … a masterpiece of unsavoury reflection on history and Darwinism blended with a hefty dose of sociopathy, yet always leavened with pitch-black wit … Funny and disturbing, it also straddles a fine line between the absurd and the profound. It never forgets the conventions of crime fiction, while simultaneously subverting them. A triumph.” - Sunday Times

“Thus begins a fascinating hybrid of MISERY, AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS, THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN, and who knows what else … ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL isn’t quite like anything else you’ve read, in any genre. It’s clever, intimate, passionate, and funny: altogether a wonderful achievement.” - Irish Times

“What is most refreshing … is its ambition. It is rare that a so-called genre book attempts to wrest free of its constraints and do something entirely different. ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a genre-buster. Clever, funny, challenging, surreal, unexpected and entirely original.” - Irish Independent

“Declan Burke plunges into surreal realms in this exhilarating, cleverly wrought novel … Comparisons to Flann O’Brien’s AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS are obvious, yet Burke’s canny control of his novel means they’re positive ones.” - Sunday Business Post
  For more in the same vein, clickety-click here
  To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL, just answer the following question:
What’s the best crime novel you’ve read in 2011?
  Answers via the comment box, please, leaving an email contact address (using [at] rather than @ to confound the spam monkeys) by noon on Thursday, November 10th. Et bon chance, mes amis
  Finally, if you’ve read AZC, and would like to vote for it in the Irish Book Awards (you don’t have to be Irish, by the way, or living in Ireland), then clickety-click here


Michael Malone said...

Hey Dec, thanks for the mention. Appreciate it. As for my fave of 2011 so far, I'm going with The End of Everything by Megan Abbott.


Alan Griffiths said...

Thanks for the hat-tip, Dec. Congrats again on AZC and best of luck in the awards. Hey, any news on old Harry Rigby?

As for 2011 reads: I’ve just finished LA Confidential. Ouch, that James Ellroy has a future all right.


jiescribano said...

Declan, thanks for this chance to win a signed copy of AZC. My favourite books this year: (tough question) but I'll choose Alan Glynn's Winterland.
My contact address: jiescribano[at]
All the best.

Jerry House said...

There were so many good books this, Declan, but I'll go with Ken Bruen's HEADSTONE.


Best of luck with the IBA.

mike M said...


Favourite 2011 ,Pike by Benjamin Whitmer

Good Luck with IBA

JZID said...

My favorite book - Apostle Rising by Richard Godwin.

My email - mxyzptlk77 (at)

Ray Garraty said...

Best crime novel'11 for me is Smokeheads by Doug Johnstone.

(my e-mail is

H. L. Banks said...

Congrats on all those kudos!!

My favourite, so far, in 2011 is: Hakan Nesser's Borkmann's Point.

Thomas Pluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Pluck said...

This year, Out There Bad by Josh Stallings. Blew me away.
oops. forgot my email:
mrbadexample [at] gmail . com

Gary said...

Favorite book of the year: Collusion by Stuart Neville. I thought The Ghosts of Belfast could not be topped, but Mr. Neville did with Collusion.

Chris said...

Favourite book read so far this year: The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville. Picked it up on a whim and have been reading almost exclusively Irish crime fiction since.

Thanks for the great contest, looking forward to seeing everyone else's picks to add to my reading list!

E-mail: ccseifert[at]

Steve Weddle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Weddle said...

read a ton of good ones but fave probably
Donald Ray Pollock

Linda Rodriguez said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! My favorite crime novel of 2011 was A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny. llrodriguez(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

lil Gluckstern said...

I agree with all your reviewers, and I am tempted to vote again, and again, every time I see your blog header. The best crime novel for me would be Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville, Adrian McKinty's books a close second.


Larry Hawken said...

Best book I've read this year is Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell. Awesome. If you need a newer book I also loved Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride.


eoin said...

Best read in 2011: THREE SECONDS by Rosslund & Hellstrom. Intricate plotting, gritty sweedish thriller in which the hero keeps one step ahead of both the chasing authorities, and the readers!


Brian said...

Plugged, by Artemis Colfer

brianjosullivan (at) gmail (dot) com

Richard L. Pangburn said...

I'll have to eliminate myself from the competition as I already have an ARC and am hence already a winner. Someone else needs to experience AZC for themselves and thus add to the buzz.

Best crime novel? Tough call, as there were a lot of excellent crime novels this year (as we all know).

To narrow it down, I first have to eliminate all the good ones I've read this year that were published last year or before, that might have made the cut if they were in this year's contention.

I have to put away prejudices toward authors I personally know and like, and toward those who rendered their books to me free of charge, and toward those who are vastly under appreciated and thus so deserve promotion.

Then I have to ask myself to balance each novel's technical merits with the visceral pleasure and intellectual delight afforded by my personal reading experience itself--and the rereading experience.

Then too, I've so many more crime novels by distinguished authors to read before the end of this month when I'll post my bests lists.

With all those disclaimers in mind, I can't yet narrow it down to one best crime novel until December. But two of my top ten are definitely going to be ORCHID BLUE and ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL.

Brandi Byrd said...

Best one I've read this year would be Rob Kitchin's The Rule Book.


John Sheridan said...

THREE SECONDS by Rosslund & Hellstrom,


Bernard O'Rourke said...

I don't know if it even counts as a proper crime novel but I absolutely loved Eoin Colfer's Plugged. It was so clever and funny. Once I started reading I couldn't stop until I reached the end a day or so later. Definitely one of my favourites of 2011.



Pepper Smith said...

I hate questions like this. I can rarely choose one single book. I either enjoy something, or I don't. I don't try to rank them or give them an A-F designation.

If it counts at all, I'm currently enjoying delving into the Charles Todd books. Can I choose a particular book over any others? Not there, or anywhere else, I'm afraid.