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.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Weekly Round-Up

Okay, so this is what we’ll try to do. Instead of having time-sapping daily-ish updates here at Crime Always Pays, we’ll run a weekly update of news, reviews, interviews and possibly – if the occasion demands – ewes.
  If you’re an Irish crime writer and you have a book / launch / ewe etc. forthcoming, please feel free to drop me a line at dbrodb[at]
  And so to the Weekly Update:

Via the good works of Mick Halpin over at the Irish Crime Writing Facebook page, we hear that Ken Bruen (right, as noirishly re-imagined by fellow Irish crime scribe KT McCaffrey) will read at the Irish Writers’ Centre as part of its ‘Lunchtime Readings’ programme. The reading will take place on Friday, February 22nd, and all the details are here.

Norn Iron-born author Seth Patrick will publish a debut title, REVIVER (Tor), in June, with the blurb elves wibbling thusly:

Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise. Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation. In the United States, that responsibility falls to the Forensic Revival Service. Despite his troubled past, Jonah Miller is one of their best. But while reviving the victim of a brutal murder, he encounters a terrifying presence. Something is watching. Waiting. His superiors tell him it was only in his mind, a product of stress. Jonah is not so certain. Then Daniel Harker, the first journalist to bring revival to public attention, is murdered, and Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the hunt for answers. Working with Harker’s daughter Annabel, he’s determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Soon they uncover long-hidden truths that call into doubt everything Jonah stands for, and reveal a threat that if not stopped in time, will put all of humanity in danger . . .

There’s another crime fiction debut available right now, WHITE BONES (Head of Zeus), albeit a ‘debut’ from the bestselling horror author Graham Masterton. To wit:

One wet November morning, a field on Meagher’s Farm gives up the dismembered bones of eleven women. In this part of Ireland, unmarked graves are common. But these bones date to 1915, long before the Troubles. What’s more, these bones bear the marks of a meticulous executioner. These women were almost certainly skinned alive. Detective Katie Maguire, of the Cork Garda, is used to dead bodies. But this is wholesale butchery. Her team think these long-dead women are a waste of police time. Katie is determined to give them justice. And then a young American tourist goes missing, and her bones, carefully stripped of flesh, are discovered on the same farm. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, Katie must solve a decades-old ritualistic murder before this terrifying killer strikes again.

Elsewhere, there was very good news for Stuart Neville when it was announced that the movie version of THE TWELVE will star Pierce Brosnan:

Presales on a big-screen adaptation of Stuart Neville’s (right) revenge thriller novel The Twelve, penned by CBS late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson and Ted Mulkerin and starring Pierce Brosnan, will begin at the European Film Market … It is to be directed by Terry Loan and produced by Ferguson, Steve Clark-Hall (Sherlock Holmes), Beau St. Clair (The Thomas Crown Affair), Rebecca Tucker and Jonathan Loughran and is scheduled to shoot at the end of 2013.

And while we’re talking good news, here’s a nice, insightful take on Gene Kerrigan’s THE RAGE by John Powers over at NPR.

Finally, I remain to be convinced by ‘book trailers’ as an effective method of promotion, but here’s a very neat and tidy example of same for Peter Wilben’s new Joe Grace series:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Whither The Radical Crime Novel?

Yes, I know I said I’d be taking a break from blogging, but (a) this came via a request from the winningly handsome Andrew Pepper (right), and (b) it sounds like a cracking opportunity for any crime writer out there with a ‘radical’ crime novel in their drawer. To wit:

The School of English, Queen’s University Belfast, is pleased to announce A CREATIVE WRITING DOCTORAL STUDENTSHIP in ‘RADICAL CRIME FICTION’ commencing in September 2013.

Supervisors: Dr Andrew Pepper (English) and Dr Dominique Jeannerod (French)

Applications for this award must be submitted through the Queen’s online application system (on the prospective students’ portal) before the closing date of FRIDAY 22nd February, 2013. Applications are similar to those invited for ‘open’ PhD studentships, but applicants are not required to upload a description of the intended thesis. Applicants for this ‘themed’ awards should supply, instead of the thesis description, a personal statement (maximum 1500 words) outlining the distinctive contribution they could make to the research for the thesis.

Informal enquiries are very welcome and should be directed to Dr. Andrew Pepper ( or to the School’s Director of PG Education: Dr Adrian Streete (

Project Description:
This project is a hybrid creative-critical one that involves writing a ‘radical’ crime novel and critically reflecting on what radical crime fiction is, whether such a thing, in fact, exists and whether a popular genre, especially one typically concerned with the activities of the state and the production of order, can ever be considered radical. Its starting point lies in the rise to prominence of a particular kind of formally disruptive and politically leftist crime novel across the U.S. and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g. by Chester Himes, Jean-Patrick Manchette) and the relative decline of such work in the contemporary era. The issue of whether crime stories are able to further radical political agendas and if so what is the relationship between political agitation and formal and/or aesthetic innovation, will be addressed through creative practice and critical reflection. At the heart of the project is the question of how creativity is deployed in the contemporary era and what its relationship to commercial enterprise is. Rather than assuming that this relationship is harmonious and mutually reinforcing, however, this project considers whether it is possible to write and produce a radical crime novel in today’s commercial environment and by the same logic why so much crime fiction is so derivative and predictable, The intention, then, is to imagine a more disruptive and antagonistic relationship between art and the marketplace but to do so in the form of a creative piece that, crucially, still conforms to at least some of our assumptions about what a crime novel is.

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate a history of research and/or publication in creative writing. Demonstrable experience of writing or researching crime fiction is considered desirable but not essential.

Eligibility: UK residents.

Closing date for applications: Friday 22nd February, 2013

Important Note: Please state on the on-line application form that you are applying for the Creative Writing themed Studentship in ‘Radical Crime Fiction’ in the School of English and provide a supporting statement (1500 words maximum) outlining the distinctive contribution you could make to the project.