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, June 30, 2017

‘Not Everyone Murders People in Their Sleep’: Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent (right) had a piece in the Irish Times this week, titled ‘Not Everyone Murders People in Their Sleep’, during which she touched on ‘the rise of Irish female crime writers’:
“I am often asked about the rise of Irish female crime writers in recent years. Maybe Tana French and Alex Barclay opened the doors for the rest of us, and as writer Jane Casey says, women are more attuned to threat. We are the ones looking over our shoulders, making sure that we have our keys in our hands, texting each other to make sure we got home safely.”
  I’d add Arlene Hunt and the doyenne of Irish crime fiction, Julie Parsons, to that list of trailblazers, and further suggest that Maeve Binchy probably had a lot to do with normalising the idea that being an Irish writer didn’t necessarily involve wanting to emulate the Joyces and Becketts of the canon.
  As to why women writers have come to the fore in recent years – we can add Sinead Crowley, Louise Phillips, Annemarie Neary and Andrea Carter to the names above – it may have something to do with the way crime fiction has moved on from the classical fantasy of the lone hero(ine) – Holmes, Poirot, Marple, Marlowe – taking on and defeating bad guys, and instead adopting a more realistic approach to the age-old human fear of the social and personal threat that crime represents.
  Whatever the reason, Liz Nugent is certainly in the vanguard, domestically and internationally, and her next novel, SKIN DEEP (Penguin Ireland), is already hotly anticipated. Quoth the blurb elves:
'Once I had cleared the bottles away and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out of the flat.'
 Delphine Hamilton is a fake. She has been living on the Côte d'Azur for ten years, posing as an English heiress. However, her alimony is running out, her looks are fading, and her wealthy lovers are fewer and further between.
 Down to her last euros, and desperate to get out of her apartment, Delphine decides to spend the day at the Negresco where she is caught stealing another guest's meal. He takes pity on her and invites her to a party.
 The guests are young and beautiful and Delphine feels her age, and is achingly conscious of her worn out dress. But after a few lines of cocaine and multiple cocktails, she is oblivious to everything.
 Hours later, as dawn is breaking, she wakes up on the floor of a deserted hotel penthouse. She makes her way home through the back streets.
Even before she opens the door she can hear the flies buzzing and she realizes that the corpse in her bedroom has already begun to decompose ...
  SKIN DEEP will be published in March 2018.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: THE CITY OF LIES by Michael Russell

Opening in 1940, The City of Lies (Constable) is Michael Russell’s fourth novel to feature Dublin-based Special Branch detective Stefan Gillespie, whose mixed Irish-German heritage has proved useful to his superiors on previous occasions. Investigating a suspected murder-arson in West Wicklow, Stefan stumbles across what appears to be a German radio. Soon he is on his way to Berlin as a courier carrying crucial information to the Irish ambassador, there to encounter Francis Stuart and Frank Ryan, among others. Meanwhile, in 1939, Hauptmann Johannes Rilling records the atrocities being committed by German troops as they blitzkrieg through Poland, a series of mass murders of civilians on a scale previously unimaginable to a Wehrmacht officer. Blending historical events and personages into his fiction, Russell creates a vividly detailed tale which investigates the coming horrors of the Holocaust (“Blood spoke to blood; when it did there were no questions.”) and explores a Berlin drunk on power and triumph, but already experiencing the increasingly bizarre collective psychosis of a city built on lies. With the charmingly frank and diffident Stefan Gillespie as our guide, The City of Lies, by turns harrowing, tender and hopeful, is Michael Russell’s most accomplished novel to date. ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Times’ crime fiction column for June.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

One to Watch: SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Jo Spain

SLEEPING BEAUTIES (Quercus) is the third in Jo Spain’s acclaimed series featuring DI Tom Reynolds, following on from WITH OUR BLESSING and BENEATH THE SURFACE. Quoth the blurb elves:
The inspector frowned and examined the earth under the trees. As he scanned the glade, his stomach lurched. One, two, three, four. Five, counting the mound of earth disturbed under the tent. Somebody had cleared the earth of its natural layer and sown their own flowers.
  In five places.
  Five graves.

  A young woman, Fiona Holland, has gone missing from a small Irish village. A search is mounted, but there are whispers. Fiona had a wild reputation. Was she abducted, or has she run away?
  A week later, a gruesome discovery is made in the woods at Ireland’s most scenic beauty spot - the valley of Glendalough. The bodies are all young women who disappeared in recent years. D.I. Tom Reynolds and his team are faced with the toughest case of their careers - a serial killer, who hunts vulnerable women, and holds his victims captive before he ends their lives.
  Soon the race is on to find Fiona Holland before it’s too late.
  SLEEPING BEAUTIES will be published on September 21st. For more on Jo Spain, clickety-click here

Monday, June 26, 2017

One to Watch: THE STOLEN GIRLS by Patricia Gibney

Patricia Gibney published her debut novel, THE MISSING ONES, on March 16th, but she’s obviously not a woman to rest on her laurels. The second offering in the Detective Lottie Parker series, THE STOLEN GIRLS (Bookouture), will be published on July 6th (e-book only). Quoth the blurb elves:
The young woman standing on Lottie’s step was a stranger. She was clutching the hand of a young boy. ‘Help me,’ she said to Lottie. ‘Please help me.’
  One Monday morning, the body of a young pregnant woman is found. The same day, a mother and her son visit the house of Detective Lottie Parker, begging for help to find a lost friend.
  Could this be the same girl?
  When a second victim is discovered by the same man, with the murder bearing all the same hallmarks as the first, Lottie needs to work fast to discover how else the two were linked. Then two more girls go missing.
  Detective Lottie Parker is a woman on the edge, haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her family together through difficult times. Can she fight her own demons and catch the killer before he claims another victim?
  For more on Patricia Gibney, clickety-click here

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Publication: THE CARDINAL’S COURT by Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison is one of the unsung heroes (heroines) of Irish crime fiction, and one of its most prolific authors too. THE CARDINAL’S COURT (The History Press), the first in a new series to feature lawyer Hugh Mac Egan, didn’t make my radar when it was published in April, but it sounds a terrific prospect. Quoth the blurb elves:
‘To shoot a man on the spur of the moment in the presence of the king and his court, not to mention the cardinal and his household, that took a boldness … Or utter despair.’
  HAMPTON COURT, 1522. Lawyer Hugh Mac Egan has arrived from Ireland to draw up the marriage contract between James Butler, son of his employer the Earl of Ormond, and Anne Boleyn – a dynastic alliance that will resolve an age-old inheritance dispute. But Anne, it seems, has other ideas. Her heart is set on Harry Percy, heir to the magnificent earldom of Northumberland, sparking rivalry between the two young men.
  When a member of Cardinal Wolsey’s palace staff is found shot dead with an arrow, Percy is quick to give evidence that implicates Butler. And with Percy’s testimony backed up by Butler’s artful bride-to-be, things start to look bleak for the young Irishman. In Tudor England, the accused is guilty until proven innocent.
  Against the backdrop of the Lenten festivities, Mac Egan sets out to exonerate his patron’s heir and find the real killer, uncovering as he does so the many factions and intrigues that lie beneath the surface at the cardinal’s court.
  For more on Cora Harrison, clickety-click here

Friday, June 23, 2017

One to Watch: AFTER SHE VANISHED by S.A. Dunphy

Shane Dunphy has previously published a number of non-fiction titles, but as S.A. Dunphy he publishes his debut novel AFTER SHE VANISHED (Hachette Ireland). Quoth the blurb elves:
Eighteen years ago David Dunnigan took his beloved six-year-old niece Beth on a shopping trip. They stopped on a crowded street to hear some buskers. She took her hand from his for a split second. And when he turned around, she was gone.
  Now Dunnigan, his life shattered, is a criminology lecturer and also works as a consultant for the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Harcourt Street, specialising in cases involving missing persons. That’s how he crosses paths with Harry, a young boy living on the streets whose parents have disappeared.
  As Dunnigan finds himself drawn into the world of The Warrens, a transient place where the dark underbelly of society lives, will he be able to help Harry? And what of Beth will he find there?
  AFTER SHE VANISHED will be published on July 13th. For an interview with S.A. Dunphy, clickety-click here

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: BAD BLOOD by Brian McGilloway

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Bigotry and hate crimes provide the backdrop to Brian McGilloway’s Bad Blood (Corsair, €15.99), the fourth in his series to feature DS Lucy Black of Derry’s Public Protection Unit. In this fascinating snapshot of contemporary Northern Ireland, however, which is set against the impending Brexit referendum, the bigotry and hatred is no longer confined to sectarianism: Lucy separately investigates the intimidation of a Roma family on the Greenway Estate, and the murder of a young gay man, bludgeoned to death with a rock. Intolerance is the new normal, it seems, for ‘the community-sanctioned psychopaths defending their culture’ who maintain their stranglehold on their tiny fiefdoms. A compelling tale of twisted loyalties and betrayals, the story plays out in the mean streets and back alleyways populated by a lost tribe, long since poisoned and abandoned by their politicians, who wander the concrete wilderness following the faint echo of the long-promised ‘peace dividend’. The clean-living and morally sound Lucy Black may be too good to be true by the standards of today’s crime fiction as she pursues the truth through Derry’s claustrophobic labyrinth, but like McGilloway’s previous creation, DI Benedict Devlin, she represents the hope that things may change, and perhaps even for the better. ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Times’ crime column for June.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Event: Noireland International Crime Fiction Festival

Hear ye, hear ye, and throw another trumpet parp on the fire there, please, maestro. I am reliably informed (by a combination of guesswork and speculation, natch) that details for the inaugural Noireland International Crime Fiction Festival will be available in the shortest order possible, and perhaps even as early as next week. What we do know – having diligently researched the topic as befits a professional journalist (koff) – is that said festival will take place at the Europa Hotel from October 27th to 29th, and that said festival is (quote) ‘A brand new crime festival with a distinctly Irish accent.’ After donning the old deerstalker and snorting a couple of lines, we further deduce from the fact that the festival is being held in Belfast that the imperishable No Alibis bookstore, and its equally unsinkable proprietor David Torrans, will likely be involved to a greater or lesser degree (which is not to rule out the possibility of David and No Alibis not being involved at all), and that the line-up will include crime fiction writers both domestic and international. Here endeth the speculation and guesswork previously advertised.
  To sign up for Noireland updates, clickety-click here

Review: CARDBOARD GANGSTERS by Mark O’Connor

The Irish crime flick comes of age with Cardboard Gangsters (18s), in which Jason Connolly (John Connors), ‘sick of waiting on line for a hand-out’, decides to muscle in on the drug trade on Dublin’s Darndale estates. Aided (but largely abetted) by his buddies Whacker (Alan Clinch), Dano (Fionn Walton) and Glenner (Paul Alwright), Jason goes toe-to-toe with local gangland kingpin, Derra Murphy (Jimmy Smallhorne), a bravura act compounded by Jason’s inability to resist the temptation of leaping into bed with Derra’s wife Kim (Kierston Wareing) … The comparisons with Love / Hate are unavoidable, but it’s by no means a stretch to suggest that Cardboard Gangsters is an Irish Little Caesar, charting as it does the mercurial rise of a feral criminal who recognises no law but his own. Directed by Mark O’Connor, who co-writes with John Connors, the story fairly thrums with menace, as the hemmed-in Jason simmers at his lack of opportunity and threatens to explode at any moment. More of a strategist than his impulsive friends, Jason understands the extent to which the system is rigged against him; for all his innate intelligence, however, Jason also understands that in ‘the jungle’ (aka Darndale), only the strongest, the cruellest and the most ruthless thrive. Caustically funny, the doom-laden plot doesn’t throw up too many surprises, mainly because Mark O’Connor and John Connors adhere to the classic noir story arc, but the film powers along on the strength of Connors’ phenomenal performance as he creates an anti-hero who is by turns charismatic, repellent, sympathetic and ultimately tragic. ***** ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Examiner.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: LITTLE BONES by Sam Blake

Skeletons tumble out of cupboards early on in Sam Blake’s debut novel, when the little bones of the title are found sewn into the hem of an old wedding dress owned by artist Zoe Grant. Garda detective Cathy Connolly makes the macabre discovery when she is called to Zoe’s house in Dun Laoghaire to investigate what she assumes will be a routine break-and-enter, her horror compounded by the fact that Cathy herself is newly pregnant. Has Zoe murdered a baby? And if so, where are the rest of the infant’s remains?
  It’s an intriguing opening gambit, but Blake doesn’t rest on her laurels. Soon after, Zoe’s fabulously wealthy grandmother Lavinia is found dead in mysterious circumstances, and a cold-blooded killer from Las Vegas arrives in south County Dublin with the FBI hot on his heels. Meanwhile, in London, Emily and Tony Cox volunteer to care for the aging Mary, a mugging victim whose addled memory offers us glimpses of a privileged upbringing not entirely dissimilar to that of Lavinia Grant.
  The reader, of course, understands that these apparently unrelated plot strands must converge at some point, dragged together by the resourceful Cathy Connolly. A three-time national kick-boxing champion, Cathy is a likeable protagonist, a force of nature who projects an impressive physicality and professionalism even as her interior monologues betray her emotional confusion and self-doubt. In this she is reminiscent of Jane Casey’s London-based Maeve Kerrigan and Alex Barclay’s Denver-based Ren Bryce, characters who are the antithesis of the supremely self-confident and all-conquering heroes of the more macho style of thriller, and all the more fascinating for it.
  Moreover, it quickly becomes clear as the story unfolds that Sam Blake hasn’t employed the motif of an infant’s bones simply for the sake of an attention-grabbing narrative gambit. Cathy’s boss, Dawson O’Rourke, reminds Cathy of a cold case from the 1970s, when a new-born baby was murdered with a knitting-needle, the investigation of which was botched by the Gardaí. That case in turn leads us back into the 1950s, with Blake evoking the kind of suffocating patriarchal society in which a desperate young woman, having given birth out of wedlock, might be driven to take exceptionally desperate measures. Not that much has changed for Cathy Connolly; on hearing the Angelus bells, Cathy is reminded “that the Church was watching, waiting, like a great black crow hungry for the weak to stumble.” Blake isn’t the first Irish crime writer to engage with the long shadow of the Church’s malign influence, of course – Ken Bruen’s Priest and Jo Spain’s debut With Our Blessing spring to mind – but here she handles her material with an impressive sensitivity to the horrors visited upon generations of Irish women.
  That said, the latter stages are less convincing than Blake’s set-up promises. A veritable blizzard of revelations is required to tie together the various plot-strands, and credibility is strained by some of the developments required to bring the truth to light. The pace is frenetic, and the last third in particular is chock-a-block with twists and reversals, but readers who prefer a more patient, inevitable denouement might find themselves disorientated by the sheer volume of shocks and surprises Cathy Connolly unearths as the story races toward its pulsating climax.
  For the most part, however, Little Bones is a notably ambitious debut novel, a meticulously researched police procedural and a striking example of the crime novel as a vehicle for exploring society’s flaws and fault-lines. Cathy Connolly is a compelling character, a creation as complicated, flawed and gripping as Little Bones itself, and one who augurs well for Sam Blake’s future. ~ Declan Burke

  This review was first published in the Irish Examiner.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Publication: THE LIAR by Steve Cavanagh

Published on May 18th, THE LIAR (Orion) is Steve Cavanagh’s third novel to feature his incorrigible New York attorney (and former con artist) Eddie Flynn (“Plotting that takes the breath away,” according to one Ian Rankin). Quoth the blurb elves:
IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE ...
  WHO IS DEADLIER ...
  Leonard Howell’s worst nightmare has come true: his daughter Caroline has been kidnapped. Not content with relying on the cops, Howell calls the only man he trusts to get her back.
  ... THE MAN WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH ...
  Eddie Flynn knows what it’s like to lose a daughter and vows to bring Caroline home safe. Once a con artist, now a hotshot criminal attorney, Flynn is no stranger to the shady New York underworld.
  ... OR THE ONE WHO BELIEVES A LIE?
  However, as he steps back into his old life, Flynn realizes that the rules of game have changed - and that he is being played. But who is pulling the strings? And is anyone in this twisted case telling the truth...?
  For more on Steve Cavanagh, clickety-click here

Friday, June 16, 2017

Publication: BAD BLOOD by Brian McGilloway

The fourth in Brian McGilloway’s increasingly impressive Derry-set series featuring DS Lucy Black, BAD BLOOD (Corsair) was published on May 18th. Quoth the blurb elves:
A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. The only clue to his identity is an admission stamp for the local gay club.
  DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.
  Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far right group targeting immigrants in a local working class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.
  Hatred and complicity abound in the days leading up to the Brexit vote in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner, delivering the punch that readers of LITTLE GIRL LOST have grown to expect.
  For the Financial Times’ review of BAD BLOOD, clickety-click here

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Publication: SILVER’S CITY by Maurice Leitch

Turnpike Books republish Maurice Leitch’s SILVER’S CITY, which won the Whitbread Prize on its original publication in 1981, describing it as ‘one of the most seminal fictional portraits of the Troubles’ and the novel which ‘introduced a new authenticity to the literature of Northern Ireland’. Quoth the blurb elves:
Belfast is Silver’s city. The city always made you pay for your dreams. Silver Steele, the folk-hero who fired the first shot of the Troubles, escapes from a prison cell into a city where he is remembered only in graffiti and finds a world where he is a symbol of a cause he no longer belongs to. Silver discovers that he has swapped a cell for the illusion of freedom: he is now the prisoner of Galloway, one of a new generation of gunmen. Against the background of a city at war, Silver and Galloway engage in a private duel to the death.
  For more on Maurice Leitch, clickety-click here

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Publication: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL by Andrea Mara

Andrea Mara published her debut thriller, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL (Poolbeg), on June 6th, with the blurb elves delivering what sounds like a gripping domestic noir set-up. To wit:
When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.
  Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.
  The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.
  Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.
  Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not - there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.
  For more on Andrea Mara, clickety-click here

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Launch: THE SWINGING DETECTIVE by Henry McDonald

Ireland correspondent for the Guardian and the Observer, Henry McDonald launches THE SWINGING DETECTIVE at No Alibis later this month. Quoth the blurb elves:
Set in Northern Ireland and Berlin, the novel takes us into the dark world of espionage, dirty dealing, journalism and the harsh reality of life in Berlin. Captain Peters is handed a video of a gruesome murder as he visits his favourite swinging cafe. Soon Berlin is in turmoil because of a serial killer leaving a trail of headless corpses while a populist leader surfs the crest of outrage to influence the upcoming mayoral elections. With the aid of a former girlfriend, Peters cuts a b-line for the murderer through the heady Berlin cast of seedy underworld figures, Russian mafia, corrupt politicians, neo-Nazis and Israeli avengers, but his private swinging life is starting to interfere with his investigation …
  The launch will take place at No Alibis, Belfast, on Thursday, June 22nd, at 6.30pm. The event is free, but you’ll need to book your ticket in advance here

Monday, June 12, 2017

One to Watch: THE ORPHANS by Annemarie Neary

Adding significantly to the number of Irish crime writers who also hold a Masters in Venetian Renaissance Art, Annemarie Neary publishes her third novel, THE ORPHANS (Hutchinson), in July. Quoth the blurb elves:
Eight-year-old Jess and her little brother were playing at the water’s edge when their parents vanished. For hours the children held hands and waited for them to return. But nobody ever came back. Years later, Jess has become a locker of doors. Now a lawyer and a mother, she is determined to protect the life she has built around her. But her brother Ro has grown unpredictable, elusive and obsessive. When new evidence suggests that their mother might be alive, Ro reappears, convinced that his sister knows more than she claims. And then bad things start to happen …
  THE ORPHANS will be published on July 27th. For more on Annemarie Neary, clickety-click here

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Event: Dalkey Noir with Liz Nugent, Jane Casey and Sinead Crowley

It’s not often I find myself urging people to visit a Masonic lodge, but the Dalkey Book Festival takes place next weekend, and the Masonic Lodge in Dalkey is where Liz Nugent, Sinead Crowley and Jane Casey will be holding court (like, seriously – there are actual thrones) and talking all things crime fiction on Saturday, June 17th, at 11.30am. To wit:
Join three phenomenally successful bestselling authors in one intimate room. Sinead Crowley’s latest thriller is partly set in (a fictionalised) Dalkey. Together with Jane Casey, author of the award-winning Maeve Kerrigan series, she will be talking to Liz Nugent about the rise and rise of the female thriller writers who dominate bestseller lists.
  For all the details, including how to book tickets, clickety-click here

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Publication: PRAGUE NIGHTS by Benjamin Black

Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) has published seven novels in the Quirke series, which are set in Dublin in the 1950s, but recently Black’s been wandering into the realms of the standalone. The Raymond Chandler-inspired Philip Marlowe novel THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE (2014) is now followed by PRAGUE NIGHTS (Viking), with the blurb elves wittering thusly:
“The emperor’s mistress had been murdered, and the world had been taken hold of and turned upon its head.’
  Prague, 1599. Christian Stern, a young doctor, has just arrived in the city. On his first evening, he finds a young woman’s body half-buried in the snow.
  The dead woman is none other than the emperor’s mistress, and there’s no shortage of suspects. Stern is employed by the emperor himself to investigate the murder. In the search to find the culprit, Stern finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of the emperor’s court - unspoken affairs, letters written in code, and bitter rivalries. But there’s no turning back now ...
  PRAGUE NIGHTS was published on June 1st. For a review, clickety-click here

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

One to Watch: THE RELUCTANT CONTACT by Stephen Burke

Author and filmmaker Stephen Burke publishes his second novel, THE RELUCTANT CONTACT (Hodder & Stoughton) in September. The first, THE GOOD ITALIAN, was shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown award, and the RNA’s Best Historical Fiction prize. Quoth the blurb elves:
The Svalbard archipelago, 1977, Norwegian territory, yet closer to the North Pole. Russian engineer Yuri arrives on the last boat to the Soviet mining outpost of Pyramiden, as the Arctic sun disappears for the winter. Yuri still plays by Stalin-era rules: Don’t trust anyone; Keep your head down; Look after number one. Yet when a co-worker is found dead deep in the mine, the circumstances appear strange. Against his better judgement, Yuri breaks his own rules, and decides to investigate. At the same time, he begins a stormy love affair with the volatile, brooding Anya. She has come to Pyramiden to meet someone who has not shown himself in three months, if he exists at all. While the whole island is frozen in 24-hour darkness, Yuri enters a dangerous world of secrets and conflicting agendas, where even the people closest to you are not always what they seem.
  THE RELUCTANT CONTACT will be published on September 7th. For more, clickety-click here

Event: TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS at the Belfast Book Festival

I’m hugely looking forward to getting up to Belfast for the Book Festival on June 10th, where I’ll be hosting a conversation between three of the finest Irish crime writers out there, and who – no coincidence – contributed to TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS (New Island Books). To wit:
BBF17: TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS - NEW STORIES BY IRISH CRIME WRITERS

Saturday 10 June at 2pm
£6 | £4
at the Crescent Arts Centre


Irish crime writers have long been established on the international stage as bestsellers and award winners. Now, for the first time ever, the best in contemporary Irish crime novelists have been brought together in one volume. Author, editor and journalist Declan Burke will be leading the conversation on Irish crime writing with Louise Phillips, Julie Parsons and Stuart Neville.

Declan Burke is a writer, editor, journalist and critic. He has published six crime novels. He edited Trouble Is Our Business: New Stories by Irish Crime Writers in 2016.

Louise Phillips is an author of four bestselling psychological crime thrillers, each shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Her second novel, The Doll’s House, won the award. She is currently working on her latest novel, Dark Day In May.

Julie Parsons was born in New Zealand but has lived most of her adult life in Ireland. She was a radio and television producer with RTÉ for many years until the publication of her first novel, Mary, Mary in 1998. Her subsequent novels, including The Hourglass (2005) and I Saw You (2008) were all published internationally and translated into many languages.

Stuart Neville’s crime fiction has won numerous awards, including the LA Times Book Prize. Stuart also writes under the pen name Haylen Beck, whose debut novel, Here and Gone is due to be published this summer and is in development for the screen.
  To book tickets, clickety-click here ...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Review: HOFFER by Tim Glencross

Aesthete, fraud, mooch and fixer, William Hoffer is the latest in a long line of charming sociopaths cast in the mould of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley. Tim Glencross’s Hoffer (John Murray) opens in contemporary London, with William Hoffer moving in the rarefied circles of international finance, friend to aristocrats and confidante of Russian oligarchs. Ex-West Point, ex-CIA, Hoffer’s shady past as a go-between facilitating the money-laundering of Mexican drug cartels catches up with him when Diana Dominguez Saavedra, the daughter of one of Hoffman’s old sparring partners in Mexico, is discovered dead in his Onslow Square flat. Languidly paced, deliciously arch in tone, Hoffer delivers an anti-hero who is indeed a 21st century Tom Ripley, a genteel killer who makes the rounds of London’s galleries and clubs, all the while frantically plotting his escape from the web spun by his lies. What elevates Glencross above his fellow Highsmith disciples, however, is the novel’s bone-dry humour. “The last time I experienced something similar had been a cantina in Oaxaca,” says Hoffer of a dizzy spell, “the sort of place where the urinal by the bar was not a Duchampian whimsy.” ~ Declan Burke