ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL: “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. SLAUGHTERS HOUND: “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. THE BIG O: “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. EIGHTBALL BOOGIE: “One of the sharpest, wittiest books Ive read for ages.” – Sunday Independent. THE LOST AND THE BLIND: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Hesh Kestin

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ...

What crime novel would you most like to have written?
‘Exodus’, and not the one by Leon Uris. In this shrewdly penned thriller, an Egyptian nobleman takes it on the lam after knocking off one of Pharaoh’s brutal overseers. Then, after discovered the secret of his birth, he blackmails the bossman himself by hitting him with plague after plague until the big hood finally relents: In history’s greatest heist, the newly minted but fast-thinking yid walks off with the equivalent of a couple billion quid [figuring the average slave was a cool thou] plus livestock and uncounted treasure. And that’s only the caper. What happens next would make a hell of a movie. Wait a minute, they may have already done it.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Hesh Kestin. When I was a journalist the CIA had me down for a Mossadnilk, the Mossad thought I was CIA and -- for the three years I was based in London -- MI5 interviewed me entirely too often. Alas, my only secret was rather pedestrian: I worked hard.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Newspapers. Except for the British, journos don’t even know they’re doing fiction.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Finishing anything.

The best Irish crime novel is …?
FINNEGANS WAKE. A crime against the English language. According to George Orwell, “Good prose is like a window pane.” According to me, “A clean one.”

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Hell, I’m not going to kill anyone’s luck. All I have to is make a suggestion and Hollywood’s phone goes dead.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Sometimes you can get manual affection if seated next to a dedicated reader on an airplane.

The pitch for your next book is …?
I never pitch. To do so would mean I’d have to know what the hell I’m doing and how it comes out. Not my style.

Who are you reading right now?
SPIES by Michael Frayn.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
He talks to you too?

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
What. The. And fuck.

Hesh Kestin’s THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS is Stephen King’s recommended read for World Book Night.

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