“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Crime Fiction At The Dublin Writer’s Festival

I’m very much looking forward to taking part in the Dublin Writers’ Festival next month, when I’ll be hosting a conversation between Arne Dahl, Sinead Crowley and Brian McGilloway. To wit:
Bestselling Swedish novelist Arne Dahl joins forces with two Irish writers to consider the dark arts of the crime thriller. In such a competitive field, what makes a thriller stand out, and how do you keep the reader turning the pages?
  RTÉ correspondent-turned-crime novelist Sinead Crowley’s debut is attracting all the right buzz. CAN ANYBODY HELP ME? tells the story of a young Dublin mother whose addiction to an online forum leaves her vulnerable to a terrifying killer.
  Brian McGilloway is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin and DS Lucy Black series. His sixth novel, HURT, was published in 2013. Earlier this year he won the Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay Little Emperors.
  Presented in association with Dublin City Public Libraries.
  The event takes place at the Central Library at 6pm on May 19th. For all the details, including how to book your free tickets, clickety-click here

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SLAUGHTER’S HOUND: Now 99p, Apparently

You’ll forgive me, I hope, for pointing you in the direction of the Kindle-friendly edition of SLAUGHTER’S HOUND, which is currently retailing at 99p, or roughly one-third of what I last paid for a creamy coffee. What the price of coffee has to do with it I’m not entirely sure, but everyone seems to equate the price of books with that of coffee these days, and I’d hate to be the one marching to a different drum (because, perhaps, of an over-indulgence in coffee).
  Anyway, you’ll find the 99p Kindle-friendly SLAUGHTER’S HOUND here, where you’ll also find some big-ups that read a lot like this:
“Everything you could want - action, suspense, character and setting, all floating on the easy lyricism of a fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child

“Slaughter's Hound has everything you want from noir but what makes it special is the writing: taut, honed and vivid . . . a sheer pleasure.” – Tana French

“Declan Burke sets the scene for the most perfect noir novel ... The only way Harry Rigby could be more like Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe would be if he rode around in a 1930s Chrysler and called all the women dames ... In the very American realm of hard-boiled crime fiction ... few of his peers over the Atlantic can hold a candle to him.” – Sunday Times

“Many writers of crime fiction are drawn to the streetwise narrator with the wisecracking voice Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett have a lot to answer for but only a handful can make it credible and funny. Irish writer Burke is one who has succeeded spectacularly well ... From the arresting opening image to the unexpected twist at the end, this is a hardboiled delight.” – The Guardian
  As always, if you feel moved to share this news by clicking on one of the tiny buttons below, I will be very grateful indeed …

Monday, April 7, 2014

How To Write A Novel: Louise Phillips

The NOIR-WEST Passage

Editor James Martyn Joyce gets in touch to tell us about NOIR BY NOIR-WEST (Arlen House), a collection of short stories out of the West of Ireland that has already staked a strong claim to title of the year. To wit:
NOIR BY NOIR-WEST presents new short fiction by 30 of Ireland’s best established and emerging writers; stories filled with menace and intrigue, with wit, wind and rain.
  From small town streets in millennium Ireland to the frontline trenches of World War 1, these stories represent a new departure in Irish literature, with contributions by Galway writers including: Mike McCormack, Órfhlaith Foyle, Ken Bruen, Geraldine Mills, Kernan Andrews, Cristina Galvin, Des Kenny and Celia de Fréine.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Verdict Is In

The latest in Cora Harrison’s ‘Burren Mystery’ series, VERDICT OF THE COURT (Severn House), came across my desk last week. It features, as they all do, the 16th century Brehon judge Mara, a woman who is, to paraphrase Edgar Quinet, as tough and fair as time itself. To wit:
A festive celebration turns into a fight for survival when Mara and her clan come under attack ...
  Christmas 1519: in the midst of celebrations, the Brehon of Thomond is found dead and it is Mara’s difficult task to investigate the murder. Then suddenly the castle is attacked: how will Mara’s husband answer the call for surrender?
  I reviewed Cora’s previous novel, CROSS OF VENGEANCE, last year, and enjoyed it very much. For more, clickety-click here

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: IN THE ROSARY GARDEN by Nicola White

The latest crime fiction column in the Irish Times featured offerings by Pierre LeMaitre, Kim Cooper, James Naughtie and Maurizio de Giovanni. It also included a review of Nicola White’s IN THE ROSARY GARDEN, which ran a lot like this:
Set in Ireland in 1984, Nicola White’s In the Rosary Garden (Cargo Publishing) centres on the discovery of a dead infant in the grounds of a convent. Given the place and particularly the time, Detective Vincent Swan has to proceed carefully as he investigates how the child was killed, and why it was left to be discovered in a convent, and matters are further complicated by the fact that this is not the first time that schoolgirl Ali Hogan has discovered a dead baby. White’s debut – the novel won the Dundee International Book Prize late last year – has haunting echoes of recent Irish history, and White has no compunction in pointing the finger at the patriarchal society that plays a significant part in the tragedies detailed here. The novel is by no means a polemic, however. An unusual but absorbingly twisting narrative is hugely enhanced by White’s creation of Detective Swan, a complex man whose own frustrated paternal instincts ensure that a highly politicised case becomes very personal indeed. ~ Declan Burke
  For the rest of the column, clickety-click here

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Celts Are Coming: aka ‘Celtic Crime’

The good people at Severn House are publishing a number of Irish and Scottish authors under the banner of ‘Celtic Crime’, which – given that I am one of said authors – seems a rather nifty idea to me. The writers involved include Declan Hughes, Cora Harrison, Anna Sweeney, Caro Ramsey, Lin Anderson and Russel D. McLean.
  For more info on any (and, indeed, all) of those writers, clickety-click here

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Launch: THE TEMPORARY GENTLEMAN by Sebastian Barry

Miller Time

It’s not very often I report on publishing deals here at CAP, but this week’s news about Jax Miller (right) – aka Aine Domhnaill – is the stuff every aspiring writer dreams of. A couple of weeks ago, over at the Irish crime writing Facebook page, Aine posted that she’d just finished her book, and was already in talks with Simon Trewin about ‘film potential’. Today, in the Irish Independent, Aine – writing as Jax Miller – confirms to John Spain that she has signed a London Book Fair pre-empt two-book deal for FREEDOM’S CHILD worth ‘a substantial six-figure sum in sterling’. Suh-weet. Quoth Aine / Jax:
“I finished my novel on Tuesday, Simon Trewin of WME literary agents in London read it on Wednesday, signed me on Thursday and sent it to HarperFiction on Friday.
“The deal was finalised overnight on Monday and I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow and find it was all a dream.”
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Introduction To Crime Writing at the Irish Writers’ Centre

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be hosting a crime writing course at the Irish Writers’ Centre this summer, beginning on May 6th and running for eight weeks. The gist runs like this:
Introduction to Crime Writing with Declan Burke
Police procedural? Private eye? Thriller? Spy novel? The crime novel is the most popular form of fiction in the world and comes in a wide variety of guises. Incorporating international and Irish examples that include contemporary, historical, psychological and comic crime fiction, this course considers the various forms of the crime novel, helping aspiring authors to decide on the best narrative style to employ to tell their story, while also discussing the integral elements of the crime novel: character, plotting, setting, pace, voice and theme. With seven books published in a variety of styles, Declan Burke is an award-winning author of crime fiction and non-fiction.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Friday, March 28, 2014

Crime Always Pays: Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before …

As all three regular readers of this blog will be aware, I published my latest opus, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS this week – or rather, had it published on my behalf by the lovely folk at Severn House (I’m talking about the UK edition here; it will be published in the US and Canada in July). The story features most of the same characters (aka reprobates) who previously showed up in THE BIG O, and even though it can be read as a sequel, CAP is basically your common-or-garden comedy crime caper trans-Europe road trip with a homicidal Siberian wolf-husky along for the ride. Stop me, as they say, if you’ve heard this one before …
Karen and Ray are on their way to the Greek islands to rendezvous with Madge and split the fat bag of cash they conned from Karen’s ex, Rossi, when they kidnapped, well, Madge. But they’ve reckoned without Doyle, the cop who can’t decide if she wants to arrest Madge, shoot Rossi, or ride off into the sunset with Ray …
  CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is my fifth novel, and it’s by some distance the book I had most fun writing. I sincerely hope people have as much fun reading it. If you’d like a very short taster, Chapter 1 can be found here
  Finally, and as you might imagine, I’m very keen to spread the word about CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, and I’d be very grateful indeed if you could find the time to click on one of the buttons below. Much obliged, folks …

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Come Ye Back, Danny Boy

I don’t know if there’s room in the world – or need, for that matter – for more than one Irish crime writer who hails from Sligo, but I’ll go ahead anyway and let you know that Dan Kavanagh re-releases the Duffy novels early next month. Here’s the blurb elves on the first, aka DUFFY (Orion):
Things aren’t going so well for Brian McKechnie. His wife was attacked in their home, his cat was brutally killed and now a man with a suspiciously erratic accent is blackmailing him. When the police fail spectacularly at finding out who’s after him, McKechnie engages the services of London’s most unusual private eye. Duffy is a detective like no other. A bisexual ex-policeman with a phobia of ticking watches and a penchant for Tupperware. But what he lacks in orthodoxy he makes up for in street-smart savvy and no-nonsense dealings. Intrigued by McKechnie’s dilemma and the apparent incompetency of his ex-colleagues, Duffy heads to his old patch, the seedy underbelly of Soho, to begin inquiries of his own. Helped by some shady characters from his past, Duffy discover that while things have changed in the years since he was working the area, the streets are still mean and the crooks walk arm in arm with the blues. Full to bursting with sex, violence and dodgy dealings, DUFFY is a gripping and entertaining crime novel with a distinctly different and entirely lovable anti-hero.
  So who is Dan Kavanagh, I don’t quite hear you breathlessly ask?
Dan Kavanagh was born in County Sligo in 1946. Having devoted his adolescence to truancy, venery and petty theft, he left home at 17 and signed on as a deckhand on a Liberian tanker. After jumping ship at Montevideo, he roamed across the Americas taking a variety of jobs: he was a steer-wrestler, a waiter-on-roller-skates at a drive-in eatery in Tucson, and a bouncer in a gay bar in San Francisco. He is currently working in London at jobs he declines to specify, and lives in north Islington.
  There you have it. There’s an excerpt from DUFFY to be had over at Dan Kavanagh’s web-lair here, where – curiously – it is suggested that if you like the work of Dan Kavanagh, you might want to try that of Booker Prize-winning author Julian Barnes. Well, why not?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In The Merry Merrick Month Of May

Disappointingly, at least in terms of the veracity of this post’s headline, Ken Bruen’s latest novel, MERRICK, arrives on April 15th rather than any time in May. Otherwise, it’s all good – it is, after all, a new novel from Ken Bruen. Quoth the blurb elves:
A new character and a new novel from one of the most prominent Irish crime writers of the last two decades. For fans of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor and Inspector Brant series, LA CONFIDENTIAL by James Ellroy and MYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane, comes a noir crime story set in New York City about a rogue ex-cop from the Irish Gardai. A rouge Irish cop manipulates a transfer to work for the NYPD in an exchange program. However, it turns out that the Irish cop is really a serial killer wanted for murder in Ireland and now NYC.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Monday, March 24, 2014

Interview: Glenn Patterson

I had an interview with Glenn Patterson published in the Irish Examiner last week. It began a lot like this:
Born in Belfast in 1961, Glenn Patterson grew up through the Troubles, when virtually everything anyone ever heard about Northern Ireland was violence, bombs and sectarian strife. His latest novel, THE REST JUST FOLLOWS (Faber), begins in the early 1970s and spans almost four decades, but for an author who says he writes ‘in the spaces in-between’, it is by no means a ‘Troubles novel’.
  “What I really wanted to do with this book was to take a group of people and follow them from their pre-teens through to their early middle-age,” says Glenn when we sit down in Dublin’s Brooks Hotel. “They were going to have to live through a whole load of other stuff that I’d lived through, but also that the whole city of Belfast went through as well. Some of that has to do with the economy, some of it has to do with the politics and the Troubles – but it’s all just the stuff of the world that they all have to live through and deal with.”
  While the Troubles serves as a muted backdrop to the story, it’s much more a celebratory tale of how three teenagers – Maxine, Craig and St. John – grow up making the same kinds of mistakes and experiencing the same kinds of joy as kids in cities all over the world. Glenn mentions David Holmes, the Belfast-born DJ, whom he interviewed for a TV documentary a couple of years ago.
  “We were talking about growing up in Belfast – for him it would have been the 1980s and into the ’90s, when he was starting to DJ in Belfast. And he said that he was really happy that his children didn’t have to grow up in what he grew up in. But then he paused and he said, ‘But I’m really glad that I did.’ I think it’s very hard to regret your own teenage years. So much of who we are has to do with what happened to us at that age that it doesn’t really matter what was going on in the public domain. That’s your only chance to be that age.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Boy, Interrupted

Karen Perry’s THE BOY THAT NEVER WAS (Penguin / Michael Joseph) is an intriguing prospect, being the debut crime thriller from a writing team composed of Karen Gillece and Paul Perry. Karen is the author of several literary novels, including SEVEN NIGHTS IN ZARAGOZA and LONGSHORE DRIFT, while Paul is not only a critically acclaimed author, but a lecturer in Creative Writing for Kingston University, London, Writer Fellow for University College Dublin, and Course Director in Poetry for the Faber Academy in Dublin. Quoth the blurb elves:
You were loved and lost – then you came back …
  Five years ago, three-year-old Dillon disappeared. For his father Harry – who left him alone for ten crucial minutes – it was an unforgivable lapse. Yet Dillon’s mother Robyn has never blamed her husband: her own secret guilt is burden enough.
  Now they’re trying to move on, returning home to Dublin to make a fresh start.
  But their lives are turned upside down the day Harry sees an eight-year-old boy in the crowd. A boy Harry is convinced is Dillon. But the boy vanishes before he can do anything about it.
  What Harry thought he saw quickly plunges their marriage into a spiral of crazed obsession and broken trust, uncovering deceits and shameful secrets. Everything Robyn and Harry ever believed in one another is cast into doubt.
  And at the centre of it all is the boy that never was …
  THE BOY THAT NEVER WAS arrives with impressive advance praise from Tana French, Jeffrey Deaver, John Boyne and Nelson DeMille. For all the details, clickety-click here

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Rosary Garden In The Gutter

I mentioned Nicola White’s debut IN THE ROSARY GARDEN (Cargo Publishing) a couple of weeks ago, a novel that comes to us with impressive advance praise from Declan Hughes, Denise Mina and Val McDermid.
  Set in Ireland in 1984, the novel opens with the discovery of a dead infant on the grounds of a convent. Complicating the tragedy is the fact that this is not the first time the schoolgirl who finds the body has unearthed a dead baby …
  As part of her UK and Ireland tour, Nicola White launches IN THE ROSARY GARDEN on Tuesday 25th March at The Gutter Bookshop in Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar at 6.30pm.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Thursday, March 20, 2014

CRIME ALWAYS PAYS: The Countdown Begins …

It’s hard to believe it’s that time again, but my latest tome, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS (Severn House), is published next week, on March 27th. It feels kind of strange right now, because there’s a sense of being in limbo, of not knowing how it’s likely to be received. Meanwhile, as you might imagine, I’m cracking on with the new book, and just today hit the halfway point – although ‘cracking on’ might be a bit misleading, as there are very many days when ‘trudging waist-deep in treacle’ might be more apt.
  Anyway, the blurb for CAP runs as follows:
Karen and Ray are on their way to the Greek islands to rendezvous with Madge and split the fat bag of cash they conned from Karen’s ex, Rossi, when they kidnapped, well, Madge. But they’ve reckoned without Doyle, the cop who can’t decide if she wants to arrest Madge, shoot Rossi, or ride off into the sunset with Ray …
  If you’re in the mood for a short taster, Chapter 1 can be found here.
  If that piques your interest, and you’d like a review copy of CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, there are digital copies available via NetGalley. If you have any problems downloading it, just drop me a line and I’ll do my luddite best to help.
  Here endeth the shilling … for now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cometh The Winter, Cometh The Wolf

The launch for John Connolly’s latest Charlie Parker novel, THE WOLF IN WINTER (Hodder & Stoughton) takes place in Dublin’s Smock Alley tomorrow evening, March 20th:
We are delighted to announce another event our ongoing series of author talks with our neighbours, the Gutter Bookshop. Join us to celebrate the launch of the twelfth Charlie Parker thriller, THE WOLF IN WINTER. John Connolly will be joined by musicians Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell in what promises to be a unique and thrilling evening.
  As I understand it, the Smock Alley venue is entirely booked out, but John also plans a book signing after the event at ye olde Gutter Bookshop. For all the details, clickety-click here

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” DA Mishani

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?
Probably ROSEANNA, by Swedish authors Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (1965), the first Martin Beck novel. It taught crime writers that pacey can also be slow and its bitter melancholy is intertwined with the funniest scenes ever written in a crime novel (especially those with American detective Kafka).

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Any character living permanently in Paris. And since I wouldn’t mind being a real detective, at least for a while, why not Jules Maigret? He’s eating very well, drinking very well, smoking good tobacco, involved in the most interesting cases and still seems so relaxed.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
The Classics. Mainly Flaubert or Balzac. Now, for example, I’m reading a beautiful novel by Stefan Zweig and feeling very guilty I’m not reading crime.

Most satisfying writing moment?
Honestly? Writing the words ‘The End’. But also when a character surprises and sometimes even saves you. It happened to me while writing THE MISSING FILE: I thought the novel would end in a very sad way but then a female character I like a lot, Marianka, saved me and offered a new solution that I added to the novel.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
Since not many crime novels are translated to Hebrew I'm afraid I don’t know enough Irish crime novels – but I enjoyed immensely Benjamin Black’s CHRISTINE FALLS and THE SILVER SWAN. Obviously Black\Banville is an exceptional writer and I can’t wait to read his THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is the fact that everything you do counts as ‘work’. I can watch a crime series on television or read or even just walk for hours and listen to music and still tell myself and others I’m working, and even hard, and that might even be true because who knows, maybe at these exact moments writing is happening inside. The worst thing is that sometimes, no matter what you do and how much you try, writing stays inside and just doesn’t happen elsewhere and then you really feel like you’re doing nothing, staring at your computer screen for hours, while you could (and should) have done something else, real work for instance.

The pitch for your next book is …?
An explosive device is found in a suitcase near a daycare centre in a quiet suburb of Tel Aviv. A few hours later, a threat is received: the suitcase was only the beginning. Tormented by the trauma and failure of his past case, Inspector Avraham Avraham is determined not to make the same mistakes—especially with innocent lives at stake. He may have a break when one of the suspects, a father of two, appears to have gone on the run. Is he the terrorist behind the threat? Or perhaps he’s fleeing a far more terrible crime that no one knows has been committed? (The novel’s name is A POSSIBILITY OF VIOLENCE and it’ll be published in English in July 2014).

Who are you reading right now?
I just finished Ian McEwan’s SWEET TOOTH (what an ending!) after discovering Juan Gabriel Vasquez’ excellent THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
I can see my Ego jumping ahead and screaming ‘Write’! But that would have been a very miserable choice. Reading is much more important to my mental health.

THE MISSING FILE by DA Mishani is published by Quercus.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre

Given that it’s the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I thought I’d run a quick round-up of some interesting Irish crime fiction novels, aka ‘Emerald Noir’, that have appeared on ye olde blogge so far in 2014. It runs a lot like this:

THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE by Benjamin Black, aka the new Philip Marlowe novel.

UNRAVELLING OLIVER by Liz Nugent, an intriguing debut from an impressive new voice.

SLEEPING DOGS by Mark O’Sullivan, a sequel to one of the more interesting debuts I read last year.

THE RAGE by Gene Kerrigan, which was recently shortlisted in the LA Times’ Book Awards crime / mystery category.

BLUE IS THE NIGHT by Eoin McNamee, a superb novel which concludes his ‘Blue’ trilogy.

IN THE ROSARY GARDEN by Nicola White, another excellent debut.

HARM’S REACH by Alex Barclay, the latest in the Ren Bryce series, which I’ve been enjoying hugely.

THE FINAL SILENCE by Stuart Neville, the third novel to feature DI Jack Lennon.

KILMOON by Lisa Alber, a debut written by an American author and set in Ireland.

DEADLY INTENT by Anna Sweeney, which is to the best of my knowledge the first Irish crime novel translated from the Irish language.

THE WOLF IN WINTER by John Connolly, which is the latest Charlie Parker novel, and hotly anticipated it is too.

IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE by Adrian McKinty, which concludes his excellent Sean Duffy trilogy.

CAN ANYONE HELP ME? by Sinead Crowley, a forthcoming debut already attracting plenty of strong advance buzz.

  So there you have it – just some of the highlights from the last couple of months on Crime Always Pays. If you’re looking for another author, just type in the name in the search engine on the top left of the page, and off you go. Oh, and a very happy St. Patrick’s day to you, wherever you may be in the world …