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, March 6, 2015

Competition: CAN ANYBODY HELP ME? by Sinead Crowley

Sinead Crowley’s debut CAN ANYBODY HELP ME? (Quercus) has just been published in paperback, and to celebrate Sinead is offering a signed copy to one lucky reader. First, the blurb elves:
It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.
  Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.
  When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?
  But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?
  To be in with a chance to win a signed copy, just answer the following question:
What is the title of Sinead Crowley’s second novel, to be published later this year?
  Answers to dbrodb[at]gmail.com by 5pm on Friday, March 6th please, and don’t forget to include a contact email address. Et bon chance, mes amis

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pre-Publication: THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND by Stuart Neville

Stuart Neville’s latest, THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND (Harvill Secker), is the first in a new series to feature DCI Serena Flanagan, who previously appeared in THE FINAL SILENCE, a novel currently shortlisted for an Edgar award. Quoth the blurb elves:
When 12-year-old Ciaran Devine confessed to murdering his foster father it sent shock waves through the nation.
  DCI Serena Flanagan, then an ambitious Detective Sergeant, took Ciaran’s confession after days spent earning his trust. He hasn’t forgotten the kindness she showed him – in fact, she hasn’t left his thoughts in the seven years he’s been locked away.
  Probation officer Paula Cunningham, now tasked with helping Ciaran re-enter society, suspects there was more to this case than the police uncovered. Ciaran’s confession saved his brother Thomas from a far lengthier sentence, and Cunningham can see the unnatural hold Thomas still has over his vulnerable younger brother.
  When she brings her fears to DCI Flanagan, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion.
  THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND is published on June 26th. For more, clickety-click here

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Interview: Adrian McKinty

Jason Steger interviewed Adrian McKinty for the Sydney Morning Herald last week, most of the conversation centring on the Sean Duffy series of novels, of which GUN STREET GIRL (Serpent’s Tail) is the latest. Sample quote:
It was after Dead I May Well Be, his New York novel, came out in 2004 that McKinty first considered writing about Northern Ireland. He had originally pitched a cop show set in ‘70s Belfast along the lines of The Sweeney.
  “Seventies nostalgia with the added frisson of the Troubles in the background. They couldn’t have been more horrified. This guy said ‘we won’t be able to sell it in Northern Ireland, nobody wants to watch anything to do with the Troubles; we can never sell it across the water in England – they just want to forget it ever happened. And as for selling it to the US, that’s a joke; they have a very nostalgic view of what Ireland is’.”
  Although there had been novels about Belfast and the Troubles – Brian Moore’s Lies of Silence and Glenn Patterson’s The International, for example – everyone he asked told him the same thing: don’t touch the Troubles. And he took the message on board for years. But a few years back he had his epiphany – the thing that no one wants you to write about is exactly what he should be writing.
  For the rest, clickety-click here

Monday, March 2, 2015

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Steve Cavanagh

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?
There’s a few that spring to mind; The Black Echo by Michael Connelly, Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris, The Killing Kind by John Connolly and I’d even throw in The Firm by John Grisham. I think The Firm is one hell of a thriller with great themes running all the way through it. It’s very much a class warfare book, and a modern dissection of the American dream.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
One of my favourite fictional characters is Horace Rumpole. He believes in the presumption of innocence, Legal Aid, cheap Claret and teasing judges. I can’t fault that. I think John Mortimer is often overlooked in the crime fiction canon but I’d put the Rumpole of the Bailey series right up there with Holmes – it’s that important. In later books Mortimer even used Rumpole like a moral scalpel for society by examining ASBO’s and knee jerk anti-terrorism legislation. It would mean I’d have to put up with She Who Must Be Obeyed. Maybe I should rethink that one?

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
I don’t believe there are guilty pleasures when reading. If I enjoy something and I think it’s good then I don’t feel guilty about it. But I know what you mean. I’d probably say the late David Gemmell, as he is my favourite fantasy writer. He wrote fantasy novels, but wrote them as thrillers. David Gemmell was labelled as writing “heroic fantasy” which puts some readers off as they think it’s all about white knights on horses rescuing damsels in distress. I would say Gemmell was the master of unheroic fantasy – as most of the supposed heroes in his novels are almost as bad as the villains. Character is the key in his books and doesn’t spend the first 50 pages with world building. The first two books of his Celtic quadrilogy are stunning page turners. Gemmell also wrote the best fight scenes I’ve ever read. Read Legend – Gemmell’s hero, Druss, is basically a sixty-year old Jack Reacher with an axe. I can see why some might think this a guilty pleasure – I just see it as pleasure.

Most satisfying writing moment?
There is a scene in the second Eddie Flynn novel, The Plea, where the book shifts up several gears in a single sentence. It’s a moment that nobody sees coming and sets up a really tense action sequence. I think it’s probably the best thing I’ve written.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
I can’t recommend just one. The latest novel from my host, would be high on my recommended reads list, as would Brian McGilloway’s Little Girl Lost, Stuart Neville’s The Twelve, Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series and Gerard Brennan’s Undercover. I read Gerard’s last year and I thought it was the best thing he’s written, I loved it.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I think Stuart Neville’s The Twelve will make a great movie. And I really hope that does get made as it would transfer brilliantly to the screen. If I had my wish list – HBO would take a Charlie Parker book and adapt it over a whole season. That would be awesome.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
Best thing is when someone reads your book and tells you they enjoyed it. Worst thing? The worry. I constantly worry about everything; the writing, promoting, the whole shebang is like a brilliant, exciting but nerve wracking dream.

The pitch for your next book is …?
It’s my debut novel, The Defence.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren't that different. It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial - and win - if he wants to save his daughter. Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible? Lose this case and he loses everything.

Who are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished Lee Child’s Never Go Back, and I’m starting CJ Sansom’s Lamentation. I’m a real sucker for the Matthew Shardlake novels.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. I love to read but most of all I enjoy reading to my kids. Yeah, that’s the best. I couldn’t give that up.

The three best words to describe your own writing are…?
Fast. Tense. Funny. The three words I’d use to describe my process of writing are – Shit. Noooo. AARRGHHHH!!!!

Steve Cavanagh’s THE DEFENCE will be launched at No Alibis bookstore on March 12.