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.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Sheila Bugler

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?
So many! It’s an ever-increasing list. I am a huge fan of US author Megan Abbott and if I could have written even one of her novels I’d be pretty happy. I’ve just read a wonderful novel by Stephan Talty called BLACK IRISH, which I read and really wished I’d written. It’s bloody good.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Again, how do I choose just one? These questions are tough! Possibly Nick Carraway, the narrator in THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I never feel guilty about reading and I’ll read anything that takes my fancy. Obviously I read a huge amount of crime fiction. I also love so-called literary fiction (I’ve just finished James Salter’s LIGHT YEARS. Please, please read it if you haven’t already. It’s the most wonderful, moving book). And I’m a huge fan of Marian Keyes. Chick lit or whatever you call it, her writing rings all my bells.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Ooh, good question. And my answer is going to sound horribly pretentious. For me, the best moment - and I don’t think this will change - was the moment I found my ‘voice’ as a writer. Writers bang on about voice a bit and I’d be hard-pushed to define what it is, exactly. Except I know when it works, not just for me but I can see it in other writing too. I can remember - exactly - the moment I found my own voice. I knew, from that moment on, that I could do this.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
It would have to be THE GUARDS. I think with Jack Taylor, Ken Bruen invented a new type of Irish noir. What a bloody brilliant writer. I also adore the Max series he’s written with Jason Starr for Hard Case Crime. Demented and hilarious.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Joe Murphy’s wonderful novel DEAD DOGS would make a fantastic movie. I adore this book. What a talented writer.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Worst: it’s so damn all-consuming and means you don’t do anything else properly. Best: it’s the best thing in the world and I can’t imagine that I’d ever want to do anything else.

The pitch for your next book is …?
It’s called WATCH OVER YOU. It’s a sequel to HUNTING SHADOWS and it’s a dark, twisted tale about dark, twisted females. My type of book.

Who are you reading right now?
Ah ... Philip Kerr’s amazing Berlin Noir trilogy. Perfect prose. Reading it is the greatest pleasure.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
The obvious answer is f*** off but you can’t print that, right? If I really had to choose, I’d have to ditch the writing. I couldn’t live without reading.

The three best words to describe your own writing are...?
Empathic, angry, matriarchic.

Sheila Bugler’s HUNTING SHADOWS is published by Brandon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

On Home Fires And Flamethrowers

Around about this time next week – August 16th, to be precise – I’ll be at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, hosting a conversation between award-winning authors Rachel Kushner and Elizabeth Day (right). I’m hugely looking forward to it: Elizabeth’s HOME FIRES is a terrific piece of work, and Rachel’s THE FLAMETHROWERS has been garnering all kinds of wonderful reviews. To wit:
This exciting double bill presents two young novelists whose new work builds on their award-winning debuts.
  Fidel Castro’s revolution provided the backdrop for Rachel Kushner’s TELEX FROM CUBA, a cinematic coming of age tale that won her the California Book Award. Her new novel, THE FLAMETHROWERS, tells the “brilliant and exhilarating” (Boston Globe) story of Reno, a young artist drawn into the seductive New York art world.
  Elizabeth Day burst onto the literary scene in 2011 with SCISSORS PAPER STONE, which won the Betty Trask Award. Her follow up, HOME FIRES, is an intense portrait of loss, focusing on the parents and grandmother of a young officer whose death on his first posting has devastating consequences.
  For all the details of how to book tickets, etc., clickety-click here

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Wizard Of Oz

Hearty congratulations to Adrian McKinty, who has been shortlisted for Best Fiction in Australia’s Ned Kelly Awards for I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET (aka the second title in the ‘Troubles Trilogy’, following on from THE COLD COLD GROUND), and so becomes – although I’m open to correction here – the first Irish crime novelist to be nominated for a Ned Kelly. For all the details, and the full shortlist, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, the third in Adrian’s ‘Troubles Trilogy’, IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE, will be published early next year. Quoth the blurb elves:
It’s 1983 and Sean Duffy’s life has hit what looks like rock bottom. Humiliated by the Royal Ulster Constabulary and stripped of his rank, with no social life, no one to love, he is wasting his time away. He has no plan and no desire to get one. While Sean has sunk so low, his school friend - and rival - Dermot McCann has risen up the ranks of the IRA before being fitted up by the RUC and sent to serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure at the notorious Maze prison. So, when Sean gets a late-night call to duty because Dermot and his comrades have made a daring escape, all their history comes back to him. And as Sean stands at a road-block in the pouring rain, on a country lane in the dark, he has plenty of time to think about Dermot McCann. And he knows, with the chilly certainty of a fairy story, that their paths will cross again.
  For regular updates on the ‘Troubles Trilogy’, and much more besides, clickety-click on Adrian’s blog

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Seth Lynch

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?
For the royalties: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson. But for the kudos: THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY by Patricia Highsmith.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
I’m going to stretch fictional to include film and go for Mick Travis from If

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
It’s not who but what – I read cycling books for guilty pleasure (although I don’t feel that guilty about it). Other books are normally somehow related to what I’m writing or intending to write. Cycling books are read for their own sake – and to help when I’m cycling through the rain on my way home from work.

Most satisfying writing moment?
My first novel has just come out and I guess it’s seeing it there on the Amazon page. Although I think being accepted by a publisher comes a close second as it represents vindication form someone outside my circle of friends and family.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
I have a strong taste for the surreal or strange and so I’ll go for THE THIRD POLICEMAN by Flann O’Brien. I’m never quite sure which parts of the book I read and which parts I dreamt after reading it.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
For a film I’d like to see something low budget, black-and-white and gritty, so I’ll flatter my host and choose EIGHTBALL BOOGIE.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best is being able to channel some of the angst that others have to express in road rage incidents. It’s also a way to help my thoughts find expression. The worst is the lack of genuine opportunities for success – I guess that’s true of all the arts.

The pitch for your next book is …?
Paris, 1930. A femme fatale. A missing man. A private detective plunged into the dark and ugly underbelly of the City of Light.

Who are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished a book by Alex Butterworth, THE WORLD THAT NEVER WAS. It’s a non-fiction piece on the early history of the anarchist movement in Europe. Next up is THE BONNOT GANG by Richard Parry. It’s also non-fiction. The Bonnet Gang were a bunch of criminals operating in France in the years before World War 1. They were also loosely associated to the French Anarchist moment. There’s a deliberate theme there.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
My answer to this one fluctuates but I’ve settled on read. I love writing but my girls have just reached the age where they like to hear Secret Seven books at bed time – I’ve had years of reading picture books about teddy bears and fairies. My eldest, aged 7, is also a keen writer and how would I explain that God won’t let me read her work? (I’d also have to explain what God is and I don’t think she’d buy that one).

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Dark, funny, fast.

Seth Lynch’s SALAZAR is published by Nemesis Publishing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Always Be Closing

I won’t, alas; but if you’re likely to be in the vicinity of Galway this Thursday evening, August 8th, do yourself a favour and wander by that emporium of literary wonder, aka Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, where Seamus Scanlon’s collection of short stories AS CLOSE AS YOU’LL EVER BE gets its long overdue Irish launch. The details:
What: Irish launch of crime fiction collection AS CLOSE AS YOU’LL EVER BE by Seamus Scanlon
Where: Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Galway
When: Thursday, 8th August @ 6.30
What else: James Martyn Joyce & Alan McMonagle also reading from their books
What else: Tayto & Wine
  Tayto? Now that’s what I call a classy joint …
  If you can’t be in Galway on Thursday, but you’re fond of a well told short story, do yourself a different kind of favour and clickety-click here for reviews of AS CLOSE AS YOU’LL EVER BE. I really can’t remember when I’ve seen so many impressive reviews for a debut title.
  And while we’re on the subject of book launches, Arlene Hunt will be doing the honours on behalf of Louise Phillips’ THE DOLL’S HOUSE at the Gutter Bookshop on Wednesday, August 7th, at 6.30pm. For all the details, clickety-click here

Monday, August 5, 2013

The First Cut Is The Deepest

I’d imagine that CUT by Frank McGrath (Longboat Publishing) is a crime debut with a difference, given that Frank McGrath is a pseudonym for Alan Moore, a poet whose first collection, OPIA (1986) was a UK Poetry Book Society choice – not bad going for a first collection.
  As for CUT, which is set in Dublin, Hong Kong and Macau, the blurb runs like this:
A savage killing. A girl missing. A clock ticking.
  A cop who sees the world differently.
  Detective Jack Grogan investigates the disappearance of the Chinese Trade Minister’s 15-year-old daughter, following the brutal murder of her bodyguard.
  He soon discovers that Lynsey Tao is a pawn in a game where no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems.
  For more, clickety-click here

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Courage Of His Convictions

Another day, another debutant Irish crime writer. THE CONVICTIONS OF JOHN DELAHUNT (Doubleday) isn’t the first book that historian Andrew Hughes has published, but it is his first novel, and a fascinating tale it sounds too. Quoth the blurb elves:
On a cold December morning in 1841, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. But when the people of Dublin learn why John Delahunt committed this vile crime, the outcry leaves no room for compassion. His fate is sealed, but this feckless Trinity College student and secret informer for the authorities in Dublin Castle seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Sitting in Kilmainham Gaol in the days leading up to his execution, Delahunt tells his story in a final, deeply unsettling statement . . .
  Set in Dublin in the middle of the turbulent nineteenth century, with hints of rebellion against the Crown in the air, THE CONVICTIONS OF JOHN DELAHUNT presents a colourful assortment of characters: carousing Trinity students, unscrupulous lowlifes, dissectionists, phrenologists, blackmailers, and sinister agents of Dublin Castle who are operating according to their own twisted rules.
  Shot through with dark humour, THE CONVICTIONS OF JOHN DELAHUNT is a gripping portrait of one man’s duplicity, and is based on true events that convulsed Victorian Dublin and still seem shocking to us today.