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, November 28, 2014

News: PD James, RIP

As you very probably know, the terribly sad news of PD James’ death came through yesterday afternoon. She died peacefully at home, according to her publishers, aged 94. She had a phenomenal career, a wonderful writer who made an indelible impact on the crime fiction genre; but as I said last night on RTE’s Arena programme, she is one of those writers who transcended the concept of genre to take her place in the realm of world literature.
  I was lucky enough to meet PD James, last year at Trinity College, where she appeared to celebrate the 200th anniversary of her beloved Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I was as nervous as you tend to be when anticipating the arrival of a living legend, and was entirely ignorant of the protocol of how to address a baroness and so forth, but as soon as she arrived – physically frail, perhaps, at the age of 93, but razor-sharp, radiant of smile and twinkly of eye – she put everyone at their ease, insisting that we all call her Phyllis and asking only one favour: that we dispense with all formality and minimise any fuss to the barest acceptable level. It was a truly wonderful evening, and one that will live long in the memory. PD James will be very sorely missed.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

News: Liz Nugent’s UNRAVELLING OLIVER Wins Best Crime Novel at the Irish Book Awards

Congratulations to Liz Nugent, the author of UNRAVELLING OLIVER (Penguin Ireland), who last night won the Best Crime Novel award at the BGE Irish Book Awards. It’s a doubly impressive feat, given that UNRAVELLING OLVIER is Liz Nugent’s debut offering, and that the novel is by no means a conventional crime title. It’s a book that reminded me very strongly of Karin Fossum’s work, and it will be very interesting to see what Liz Nugent does next.
  I reviewed UNRAVELLING OLIVER in the Irish Times when it was first released, with the gist of the review running thusly:
“Oliver Ryan may be a vain, shallow and ultimately violent sociopath, but his story grows more compelling and nuanced the more we learn about him and the factors that influenced the man he would become, some of which were set in train even before he was born. More an investigation into psychology than a conventional crime thriller, Unravelling Oliver is a formidable debut.”
  For a list of all the winners in the various categories at the Irish Book Awards, clickety-click here

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Publication: HARM’S REACH by Alex Barclay

Alex Barclay’s Colorado-based FBI agent Ren Bryce is a fascinating character who struggles with bi-polar depression. She returns in Barclay’s latest offering, HARM’S REACH (Harper):
FBI Agent Ren Bryce finds herself entangled in two seemingly unrelated mysteries. But the past has a way of echoing down the years and finding its way into the present. When Special Agent Ren Bryce discovers the body of a young woman in an abandoned car, solving the case becomes personal. But the more she uncovers about the victim’s last movements, the more questions are raised. Why was Laura Flynn driving towards a ranch for troubled teens in the middle of Colorado when her employers thought she was hundreds of miles away? And what did she know about a case from fifty years ago, which her death dramatically reopens? As Ren and cold case investigator Janine Hooks slowly weave the threads together, a picture emerges of a privileged family determined to hide some very dark secrets – whatever the cost.
  Over at Writing.ie, Susan Condon conducts a wide-ranging interview with Alex Barclay that covers most of her career, from DARK HOUSE to Ren Bryce and on to her YA fantasy fiction. For more, clickety-click here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Publication: THE LOST AND THE BLIND by Declan Burke

I’m delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of my latest tome, THE LOST AND THE BLIND, which will arrive on a shelf near you on December 30th, courtesy of the good people at Severn House. A contemporary spy thriller, the story has its roots in the early years of WWII – or ‘the Emergency’, as we liked to call it here in Ireland. Quoth the blurb elves:
Why would elderly Gerhard Uxkull concoct a tale of Nazi atrocity on the remote island of Delphi, off the coast of Donegal? And why now, just when Irish-American billionaire Shay Govern has tendered for a prospecting licence for gold in the area? When a body is discovered drowned, journalist Tom Noone must find out the truth if he is to survive.

This gripping Irish thriller is an intriguing new departure for comic noir writer Declan Burke.
  So there you have it. THE LOST AND THE BLIND is available for early download for those you who use NetGalley; meanwhile, if any blogger / reviewers out there would like to receive a digital review copy, I’d love to hear from you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Feature: The Alternative Irish Crime Novel of the Year

It’s that time of the year again, as the Irish Book Awards hove into view on November 26th, when I suggest that [insert year here] has been yet another annus terrificus for Irish crime fiction, aka ‘Emerald Noir’. The shortlist for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year runs as follows:
The Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award

Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinéad Crowley
Last Kiss by Louise Phillips
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville
The Kill by Jane Casey
The Secret Place by Tana French
Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent
  As always, however, there were a number of tremendous novels published that didn’t, for various reasons, feature on the shortlist. The following is another short list, of books I’ve read to date this year that are also easily good enough to win the title of best Irish crime fiction novel in 2014. As you might expect, there were also a number of very good novels that I didn’t manage to read this year; but the gist of this post is to celebrate the quality and diversity of Irish crime fiction in 2014. To wit:
The Dead Pass, Colin Bateman
The Black Eyed Blonde, Benjamin Black
The Wolf in Winter, John Connolly
Bitter Remedy, Conor Fitzgerald
Cross of Vengeance, Cora Harrison
The Sun is God, Adrian McKinty
Blue is the Night, Eoin McNamee
The Boy That Never Was, Karen Perry
  Finally, the very best of luck to all the shortlisted nominees on November 26th. Given that she has been oft-nominated and is yet to win, and her Maeve Kerrigan series grows more impressive with each succeeding book, my vote goes to Jane Casey’s THE KILL …