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, April 10, 2012

Philadelphia, Here We Come!

Yours truly had a piece published in the Irish Times yesterday about how the latest generation of Irish crime writers - including Claire McGowan (right), Eoin Colfer and Laurence O’Bryan - are increasingly turning to foreign settings for their novels, rather than set them here on the Emerald Isle. Is this a simple matter of where said novelists are based? A personal fascination with a particular location? Is it a commercially driven development made by author savvy enough to realise that Ireland just doesn’t cut it as ‘sexy’ enough as a location for crime fiction, or an inevitable reflection of our emigrant experience?
  I’m kind of hoping it’s not the last reason, given that my current tome is set here in Ireland, as is my tome-to-be. Then again, this is probably the first time the words ‘Declan Burke’ and ‘commercially savvy’ have appeared in the same sentence.
  Anyhoo, on with the piece, which opened a lot like this:
THEY’RE QUITE fond of Irish crime novels over at the LA Times. Eoin Colfer is better known for his young adult novels featuring Artemis Fowl, but it’s PLUGGED, his debut adult crime novel, that is currently shortlisted for the LA Times Crime/Mystery Book of the Year.
  In 2011, two of that category’s five shortlisted novels were written by Irish authors, Tana French and Stuart Neville; in 2010, Neville won the award for his debut novel, THE TWELVE.
  In a nutshell, those LA Times nominations reflect the wider popularity and critical acclaim Irish crime writers are receiving in the US. John Connolly and Ken Bruen blazed a trail that was followed by French and Neville, Alan Glynn, Alex Barclay, Benjamin Black, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, and more.
  They in turn paved the way for a new generation of Irish crime writers, one that differs from its forerunners in one crucial way: its reluctance to set its novels in Ireland.
Eoin Colfer’s PLUGGED, for example, is set in New Jersey.
  “Originally,” says Colfer, “PLUGGED was set in Dublin but it just never felt right to me, perhaps because noir novels are traditionally set in the US, or the fish I had created was not far enough out of water. When I moved it to New Jersey the whole thing clicked in my head and that’s about as much as I can explain it. It felt right. Daniel was an Irish guy out of his depth in America. As his adopted countrymen might say, it had the right vibe.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here


Dana King said...

I hope not too many writers become too commercially savvy. Among the things i like about Irish crime fiction is the ability to read a story in a setting i don't too often see here in the States, yet not so different I'm constantly disoriented.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Who the hell wants to read crime novels set in Philadelphia?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

kathy d. said...

Thanks for always being inclusive of Irish women writers in your lists and interviews and on your website.

Not everyone is this conscientious about including women writers, sometimes shockingly so.