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, May 11, 2013

The Naked And The Stiffed

I do like the set-up to Rob Kitchen’s STIFFED (Snubnose Press), which sounds like the kind of crackerjack black comedy Eoin Colfer is bringing to the masses. To wit:
Tadhg Maguire wakes to find himself spooning a dead man. The stiff is Tony Marino, lieutenant to mobster Aldo Pirelli. It doesn’t matter how the local enforcer ended up between Tadhg’s sheets, Pirelli is liable to leap to the wrong conclusion and demand rough justice.
  The right thing to do would be to call the cops.
  The sensible thing to do would be to disappear. Forever.
  The only other option is to get rid of the body and pretend it was never there. No body, no crime.
  What he needs is a couple of friends to help dispose of the heavy corpse. Little do Tadhg’s friends know what kind of reward they’ll receive for their selfless act – threatened, chased, shot at, and kidnapped with demands to return a million dollars they don’t possess.
  By mid-afternoon Tadhg is the most wanted man in America. Not bad for someone who’d never previously had so much as parking ticket.
  If he survives the day he’s resigned to serving time, but not before he saves his friends from the same fate.
  For all the details, clickety-click here …

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free Books: CROCODILE TEARS by Mark O’Sullivan

I’ve gone on record saying that I’ll be very pleasantly surprised if there’s a better Irish crime fiction debut this year than Mark O’Sullivan’s CROCODILE TEARS, and I’m delighted to offer readers the opportunity to snaffle a free copy of said tome. First the blurb elves:
DI Leo Woods’ life is a mess. Work keeps him sane. More or less. On an ice-cold winter morning in an affluent Dublin suburb, he stares down at the bloodied corpse of a property developer. Dermot Brennan’s features, distorted in terror, are a reflection of Leo’s own disfigured face. Life does that kind of thing to Leo. Makes faces at him.
  With the help of ambitious but impetuous Detective Sergeant Helen Troy, Leo uncovers a frosted web of lies, where nobody is quite who they seem. But who ever is? A host of suspects emerge: Brennan’s beautiful but aloof wife, Anna; their estranged son; two former business associates bearing grudges and secrets; a young man convinced Brennan has ruined his life; an ex-pat American gardener; and an arrogant sculptor who may or may not have been having an affair with the dead man’s wife.
  As ice and snow grip Dublin, Woods and Troy find themselves battling forces as malevolent as the weather: jealousy, greed and betrayal. Can they identify the murderer before things get even uglier?
  To be in with a chance of winning a copy of CROCODILE TEARS, just email me at dbrodb[at], putting ‘Crocodile Tears’ in the subject line and including your name and postal address in the body of the email. The giveaway is open until noon on Friday, May 18th. Et bon chance, mes amis

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The French Detection Connection

Here’s an intriguing proposition for those of you with academic ambitions. ‘Clues: A Journal of Detection’ is taking submissions for an issue themed ‘Tana French and Irish Crime Fiction’, with the gist running thusly:
Tana French and Irish Crime Fiction
(theme issue of ‘Clues: A Journal of Detection’)
Guest editor: Rachel Schaffer (Montana State University Billings)
Submission Deadline: August 1, 2013

The number of Irish crime writers and books currently in print is a clear indication that the popularity of Emerald Noir, aka Celtic crime and Hibernian homicide, has never been greater. Ireland—with its economic boom and bust, child abuse scandals, and growing problems with drugs, gangs, and murder—offers a wealth of material to authors looking for rich veins of mystery and crime themes to mine. One of the most popular of these Irish writers is Tana French. Her popularity and critical acclaim have grown with each book, but, to date, there have been few serious academic studies of her work in print. Therefore, Clues seeks previously unpublished papers about Tana French in particular, as well as about Irish crime fiction and writers in general.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:
  Essays on Tana French or other Irish crime writers, individual or comparative
  Trends in Irish crime fiction
  Comparisons of Irish crime fiction to that of other nations or cultures
  Connections between social, cultural, or economic issues in Ireland and crime
  Connections between Irish history—past, present, or future—and crime
  Connections among Irish identity, stereotypes, or mythology and crime

Submission details
Submissions should include a 50-word abstract and 4–5 keywords, and be between 15 to 20 double-spaced, typed pages (approximately 3,300 to 6,000 words) in Times or Times Roman font with minimal formatting. Manuscripts should follow the MLA Style Manual, including parenthetical citations in text and an alphabetized Works Cited list. Please confirm that manuscripts have been submitted solely to Clues.

Submit essays to Janice Allan, Clues executive editor, at j.m.allan@; inquiries may be directed to Elizabeth Foxwell, Clues managing editor, at
  For more details, click on the ‘Clues: A Journal of Detection’ website.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Peculier State Of Affairs

It’s turning into a week of awards and short- and longlists here at Crime Always Pays. Today it’s the turn of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which issued a 13-strong longlist yesterday. It’s a very strong field, but I reckon the two Irish writers, Gene Kerrigan and Stuart Neville, have a pretty decent shot at making the shortlist, and maybe even winning the award outright (Gene Kerrigan’s THE RAGE, of course, has already won the CWA Gold Dagger). To wit:
The Guilty One – Lisa Ballantyne (Piatkus)
Finders Keepers – Belinda Bauer (Transworld)
Rush Of Blood – Mark Billingham (Little Brown)
Dead Scared – S J Bolton (Corgi, Transworld)
The Affair – Lee Child (Transworld)
A Foreign Country – Charles Cumming (Harpercollins)
Safe House - Chris Ewan (Faber and Faber)
Not Dead Yet - Peter James (Macmillan)
Siege – Simon Kernick (Bantam Press)
Prague Fatale – Philip Kerr (Quercus)
The Rage – Gene Kerrigan (Vintage)
Birthdays for the Dead – Stuart MacBride (Harper)
The Dark Winter – David Mark (Quercus)
The Lewis Man – Peter May (Quercus)
Gods And Beasts – Denise Mina (Orion)
Stolen Souls – Stuart Neville (Vintage)
Sacrilege – S. J. Parris (Harper)
A Dark Redemption – Stav Sherez (Faber and Faber)
  The heartiest of congrats to all nominees. The shortlist will be announced on July 1st, by the way; for all the details, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, and on the subject of awards and the winning of, a big shout-out to Adrian McKinty, who has won the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Novel with THE COLD COLD GROUND. Quoth Adrian:
“I’m really very touched. I put a lot of my heart and soul into that book. It was both harrowing and strangely fun journeying back to the 1981 of my imagination and reliving those childhood days in Victoria Estate in Carrickfergus. I don’t find writing particularly easy and I’m not one of those 1000 words before breakfast types but occasionally during the writing process of this book I did feel that I was firing on all cylinders the way a top notch writer presumably feels all the time ...”
  For more on Adrian and THE COLD COLD GROUND, clickety-click here

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Hound Of The Laughtervilles

I’m very pleased indeed to announce that SLAUGHTER’S HOUND has been shortlisted for the Goldsboro Last Laugh award at Crimefest. As all Three Regular Readers will be aware, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL won the Last Laugh gong at Crimefest in 2012 – I was genuinely stunned on the night in question, and very nearly left speechless, and it remains one of the proudest moments of my writing career to date.
  That’s only one of the reasons why I don’t have a hope in hell of winning the Last Laugh this year; the other is the superb quality of the other nominees. To wit:
- Colin Bateman for The Prisoner of Brenda (Headline)
- Simon Brett for The Corpse on the Court (Severn House)
- Declan Burke for Slaughter’s Hound (Liberties Press)
- Ruth Dudley Edwards for Killing The Emperors (Allison & Busby)
- Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May and the Invisible Code (Doubleday, Transworld)
- Hesh Kestin for The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats (Mulholland Books, Hodder & Stoughton)
  Congratulations to all nominees, in all of the Crimefest awards categories. All the details can be found here
  Finally, I note in passing that three of the six Last Laugh nominees are Irish. What that might or might not say about the Irish attitude to crime and / or crime fiction is anyone’s guess. But I’d love to hear your theories …

The Best Things In Life Are Free … Books

UPDATE: A quick thank you to everyone who took part in the Tana French / BROKEN HARBOUR competition – the response was fantastic. The winner is Linda Callaghan of Glasnevin in Dublin, Ireland. Stay tuned for another competition later this week, when I’ll be giving away copies of Mark O’Sullivan’s CROCODILE TEARS.

As you may or may not know, Tana French’s BROKEN HARBOUR won the Best Mystery / Thriller Award at the LA Times awards last weekend. A splendid achievement, I think you’ll agree, and fully deserved – BROKEN HARBOUR is a wonderful book.
  To (modestly) celebrate Tana’s win, I’m giving away a copy of BROKEN HARBOUR to one lucky reader. First, the blurb elves:
In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin - half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned - two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.
  Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .
  To be in with a chance of winning, just email me at dbrodb[at], putting ‘Broken Harbour’ in the subject line and your name and postal address in the body of the email. The closing date is noon on Friday, May 3rd, and I’ll draw the winner’s name out of a bobbly hat on Friday afternoon. Et bon chance, mes amis

UPDATE: Just a quick reminder, folks – some of the entrants to the competition have neglected to include their name and postal address in the body of the email. If you’re taking part, please remember to include your name and address as part of your entry. Thanks kindly.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Agatha Awards: BOOKS TO DIE FOR

I’m delighted to announce that BOOKS TO DIE FOR, edited by John Connolly, Clair Lamb and yours truly, has won the Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction at the annual Malice Domestic convention.
  The Agatha Awards, for those of you unfamiliar with them, ‘honour the “traditional mystery.” That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others.’
  It’s a considerable honour, and I’m particularly thrilled for John and Clair, but also for all the writers who contributed to BOOKS TO DIE FOR – it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that this award belongs to every one of them as much as it does the book’s editors.
  For all the Agatha Awards shortlists and winners, clickety-click here.
  It’s been a real roller-coaster week for BOOKS TO DIE FOR. We were hugely honoured to be shortlisted for Thursday night’s Edgar Awards, and naturally we were disappointed not to win. That disappointment was offset on Friday by the news that BTDF has been shortlisted for the HRF Keating Award at Crimefest, where the book will find itself, again, in some very fine company. To wit:
Declan Burke & John Connolly for BOOKS TO DIE FOR (Hodder & Stoughton, 2012)
John Curran for AGATHA CHRISTIE’S SECRET NOTEBOOKS (HarperCollins, 2009)
Barry Forshaw (editor) for BRITISH CRIME WRITING: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA (Greenwood World Publishing, 2008)
Christopher Fowler for INVISIBLE INK (Strange Attractor, 2012)
Maxim Jakubowski (editor) for FOLLOWING THE DETECTIVES (New Holland Publishers, 2010)
P.D. James for TALKING ABOUT DETECTIVE FICTION (The Bodleian Library, 2009)
  Incidentally, I’ll be hosting a panel at Crimefest on BOOKS TO DIE FOR, featuring contributors Peter James, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Brian McGilloway. If you’re going to be in Bristol that weekend, we’d love to see you there.