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 3, 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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: THE BOY THAT NEVER WAS by Karen Perry

The latest Irish Times crime fiction column appeared last week, and included the new titles from Martin Cruz Smith, Chris Pavone, Natalie Haynes, Tom Rob Smith and Karen Perry. The Karen Perry review ran a lot like this:
Karen Perry is a new writing partnership composed of Karen Gillece and Paul Perry, and their debut The Boy That Never Was (Penguin / Michael Joseph, €14.99) suggests that it will be the first of many. A prologue set in Tangier in 2005 tells the reader that Harry is guilty of negligence in the death, during an earthquake, of his young son Dillon. The story then moves on to Dublin in 2010, when Harry believes he sees his missing son on O’Connell Street during an anti-government demonstration. Unable to persuade the Gardai that Dillon is alive and well, Harry confesses all to his wife, Robin, which is when we start to realise that Harry has a history of obsession and instability, and that Robin also has secrets she needs to conceal. The unreliable narrator is a staple of the crime / mystery genre, but The Boy That Never Was folds another dimension into the convention by offering us a pair of devious narrators. It’s a neat trick, especially as each succeeding account casts doubt on the truth of the previous offering’s events and the mental state of its narrator, with the result that this assured debut is equal parts thriller, mystery and fascinating psychological study. ~ Declan Burke
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shivers Down The Spine

Book-spine poetry seems to be a thing. Here’s an offering from a selection of new crime novels sitting on my shelves right now …

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Winter Wonderland

As I understand it, John Connolly’s THE WOLF IN WINTER topped the bestseller charts in Ireland and the UK while I was away on holidays, which is marvellous news but not entirely surprising – to my mind, THE WOLF IN WINTER is one of the finest of John Connolly’s books to date. I was particularly impressed by its ambition, as you might guess from this snippet from an Irish Examiner interview published last week:
THE WOLF IN WINTER finds Charlie Parker investigating the disappearance of a young woman and the apparent murder of her father, a homeless man who lives on the streets of Portland in Maine. Far from resting on his laurels, the 46-year-old author has blended a novel of social conscience into his traditional private eye tale, and also explores themes of ancient and contemporary spirituality.
  “It’s because I enjoy doing it,” says John when I ask why it is that he seems so restlessly self-challenging. “I love what I do, and if you love what you do you take a kind of craftsman’s pride in wanting to produce the best work possible. I know that there are writers who object to that word ‘craft’, who say that a book is art or it’s nothing. But I don’t get to decide what’s art and what isn’t. That’s a function of time as much as anything else. And all art is a function of craft. You work with craft and if you’re lucky there’s a moment of transcendence and you produce something that just slips past that barrier, whatever it may be, and becomes something slightly greater than its parts. But you don’t get to decide those things. All you can do is sit down each time and write the best book you can.”
  For the rest of the interview, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, Declan Hughes reviewed THE WOLF IN WINTER for the Irish Times, and a very fine piece it is too. You’ll find it here

Monday, April 28, 2014

Eyes On The Prize(s)

Apologies for the breakdown in transmission over the last fortnight, folks, but yours truly trundled off to Cyprus for a holiday, where a wonderful time was had by all.
  Back to business, then, and we’ll kick off again with a hearty congratulations to Adrian McKinty (right), Gene Kerrigan and Stuart Neville, all of whom have been shortlisted for Barry Awards. Nice work, gents. Adrian McKinty has all the details and the full shortlists over here
  And while we’re on the topic of award nominations, it’s an equally hearty bon chance to The Artist Formerly Known As Colin Bateman, who has been shortlisted – for about the seven hundredth time – for the Goldsboro ‘Last Laugh’ gong, which will be awarded at Crimefest next month. Colin Bateman, as I’m sure you all know, is a previous winner of the ‘Last Laugh’ award, which is given for Best Humourous Crime Novel. For all the details – and all the Crimefest award shortlists – clickety-click here