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, June 5, 2015

Taking A Break …

Sincere apologies to anyone who has arrived here – panting hotfoot, no doubt – to hear the latest in Irish crime fiction news, because yours truly is taking a bit of a break from the blogging game and adjourning to the back garden (right) to plot the next novel. Normal-ish service will be resumed fairly quickly, I’d imagine, once I realise that the plot to the next book will be pretty much the same plot I’ve been using for the last ten years or so, but set somewhere sunny / in the past / on board a submarine. In the meantime, happy reading folks, and see you soon …

Thursday, June 4, 2015

One to Watch: ALOYSIUS TEMPO by Jason Johnson

Featuring one of the most deliciously monikered protagonists in the (admittedly short) history of Irish crime fiction, ALOYSIUS TEMPO (Liberties Press) is Jason Johnson’s fourth novel. Quoth the blurb elves:
Aloysius Tempo creates ‘accidents’ that kill. He fled a notorious Irish care home and has built a life as an unarmed hitman, travelling Europe and ending lives for cash. Now veteran government recruiter Imelda wants him back to slay four of the nation’s most hated people; a loan shark, a shamed priest, a wildly controversial female politician find themselves in his sights. But when he learns more about the fourth person on the list, everything changes for Aloysius Tempo.
  ALOYSIUS TEMPO will be published on June 25th.

Launch: THE BONES OF IT by Kelly Creighton

Kelly Creighton launches THE BONES OF IT (Liberties Press) at Belfast’s No Alibis on June 4th, and Brian McGilloway, for one, is very impressed. To wit:
No Alibis Bookstore is pleased to invite you to the launch of Kelly Creighton’s debut novel, ‘The Bones of It’. This FREE event takes place in store on Thursday 4th June, 6:30pm.

‘A brilliant crime debut, chilling, compulsive and beautifully written. Fans of The Butcher Boy and The Book of Evidence will find much to love in The Bones of It. A hugely impressive addition to the growing body of Irish crime fiction. I look forward to reading much more from Kelly Creighton.’ – Brian McGilloway
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Interview: Douglas Kennedy, author of THE HEAT OF BETRAYAL

I had an interview with Douglas Kennedy (right) published in the Irish Examiner last week, on the publication of his latest novel, THE HEAT OF BETRAYAL (Hutchinson). In the novel, married couple Robin and Paul travel to Morocco for a working holiday, only for Robin to discover a particularly cruel ‘intimate betrayal’ by Paul:
What follows is a thrilling tale as Robin sets off alone in a strange land to find her husband. The opening, which moves from Casablanca to Essaouira, is reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, but Douglas also had more literary inspirations to draw upon.
  “There were two novels that were in my mind, or two writers I should say. The first was Paul Bowles, with The Sheltering Sky, which is an extraordinary book. But I was also thinking about Patricia Highsmith, and Highsmith was always very interesting on Americans abroad, especially a couple in trouble, with secrets. I also had in mind [VS] Naipaul, who in one of his books talked about a certain kind of Leftist from the West, who would always turn up in centres of revolution with return air-tickets,” he laughs.
  For the rest of the interview, clickety-click here

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

One to Watch: HIDE AND SEEK by Jane Casey

An Edgar award winner earlier this year for THE STRANGER YOU KNOW, featuring London-based detective Maeve Kerrigan, Jane Casey also writes YA crime fiction. HIDE AND SEEK (Corgi) is the third novel to feature Jess Tennant, with the gist running thusly:
If I hadn’t walked into the room at that moment, maybe everything would have worked out differently. Maybe everything would have been all right after all . . .’
  Port Sentinel may be a beautiful seaside tourist trap, but in the short time Jess Tennant has lived there, it has seen its fair share of tragedy. Tragedy that somehow Jess keeps getting caught up in.
  A schoolgirl from the town goes missing, leaving her diary behind and a lot of unanswered questions. Has she run away from her unhappy home or is there something much more sinister going on? And can Jess find her before it’s too late?
  HIDE AND SEEK will be published on July 30th.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Publication: BLOOD SISTERS by Graham Masterton

BLOOD SISTERS (Head of Zeus) is the fifth novel from Graham Masterton to feature Cork-based detective Katie Maguire. To wit:
Katie Maguire hunts a serial killer targeting nuns in the gruesome new thriller from Graham Masterton.
  In a nursing home on the outskirts of Cork, an elderly nun lies dead. She has been suffocated. It looks like a mercy-killing - until another sister from the same convent is found viciously murdered, floating in the Glashaboy river.
  The nuns were good women, doing God’s work. Why would anyone want to kill them? But then a child’s skull is unearthed in the garden of the nuns’ convent, and DS Katie Maguire discovers a fifty year old secret that just might lead her to the killer ... if the killer doesn’t find her first.
  BLOOD SISTERS is published on Kindle on June 1st, with the hardcover edition due on October 8th.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Retro: DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD by Roald Dahl

I had a whale of a time last week reading Roald Dahl’s DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD as a bed-time story. Lily, recently turned seven years old, was thrilled by the story, and particularly impressed with Danny’s dad William, upon whom she bestowed what appears to be the ultimate accolade in fatherhood by describing him as ‘a very daddish dad’.
  All of which was marvellous, because I vividly remember reading DANNY as a child myself, and it’s a book that has stuck in my memory for the best part of 40 years. That may well be, as I realised on re-reading it, that DANNY is essentially a ‘heist’ story, as Danny and his dad set about sabotaging local landowner Mr Victor Hazell’s shooting party by poaching his entire stock of pheasants, and with the tacit approval of the entire village – doctor, vicar and policeman included – to boot.
  Like many crime writers, and certainly on this side of the pond, I read Enid Blyton voraciously during my childhood – the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, the Five Finder-Outers, the Adventure stories featuring Philip, Dinah, Lucy-Ann and Jack (and parrot Kiki), the Barney Mysteries, but also the Twins of St Clare’s and the Malory Towers books – but if memory serves, DANNY is the first book I read that was a mystery / crime story told from the perspective of the criminals. It’s also true that Danny and his dad aren’t poachers from need, driven to steal by hunger and want, but for the sheer thrill of it – the excitement of the deed itself, and the exhilaration of having pulled off the big one. And it’s not as if William is a Robin Hood character – William intends to share the proceeds of his heist with his friends, certainly, but given that said friends are a doctor, vicar and policeman, it’s not exactly a case of robbing the rich to give to the poor.
  When I suggested to Lily that perhaps we shouldn’t be ‘up’ for Danny and his dad, because they were stealing from Mr Victor Hazell, she was having none of it. Mr Victor Hazell is a nasty piece of work, a snob and a bully, and he fully deserves his comeuppance, even if that involves Danny and his dad breaking the law.
  It’s a similar kind of story to FANTASTIC MR FOX, of course, which we also enjoyed a couple of months ago, although in that case – from a moral perspective – Mr Fox steals in order to feed his family, and then reacts in spectacular fashion to the subsequent persecution. DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD is another matter entirely, a genteel story of sticking it to The Man for no other reason than The Man owns pheasants that taste good when they’re roasted.
  No wonder Lily loved it so much. Next week we’ll probably move it up a notch to Richard Stark’s THE HUNTER.