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, January 8, 2016

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” Alan Walsh

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?
Definitely The Talented Mr. Ripley. I’m a huge Patricia Highsmith fan and there’s a cool, aloofness to her writing that I’ve often unsuccessfully tried to mimic. There’s so much to love about the book too, the destinations, the unlovable characters and easy, almost effortless way the plot meanders along. I love the power rivalries between her characters too and I think they show up best maybe in this book.

What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Part of me really wants to answer Nick Corey, from Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson. But that would make me sound like a psychopath, wouldn’t it? Still, the element of charm Thompson gives these absolute maniacs is probably best represented in Nick, and he does get a laugh or two along the way.

Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Umberto Eco. I keep rereading Foucault’s Pendulum. It’s like the DaVinci Code for anyone who’s actually interested in all that hoodoo, and I definitely am. I keep unearthing weird new facts each time I read it too.

Most satisfying writing moment?
You know, I think it’s when I realise I’ve gone wrong, where I’ve gone wrong and the cathartic effect of scrapping the whole chapter, letting it wash away and getting it right next time, wondering how you ever have been so dumb as to think that previous direction was the way to go.

If you could recommend one Irish crime novel, what would it be?
It would have to be the Book of Evidence. I read it when I was too young to properly appreciate just how good Banville is, but I’ve reread it since and it has the same effect each time.

What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
I actually think the Book of Evidence could make a great movie. It would take a virtuoso performance from a lead actor though, and a steady director, gradually building tension.

Worst / best thing about being a writer?
The worst is definitely always wanting to write. All the time. You’re out on the peer with friends, enjoying an amazing afternoon of ice cream and laughter and there’s this voice, deep within, whispering about how good it would be to sit down in front of a blank page. The best part is when you get to sit down.

The pitch for your next book is …?
A young girl realises her past is a carefully constructed lie and her future has been already mapped out by the powers that be.

Who are you reading right now?
I’ve just finished Ways of Seeing by John Berger, which was a Christmas treat and next I feel like starting up a Graham Greene, or maybe Louise Phillips’ latest, which I still haven’t read.

God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. because I can always write the stories in my head. Then maybe tell them, rather than type. I hope that’s cheating.

The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Unorthodox, unexpected, uncommon!

Alan Walsh’s SOUR is published by Pillar. For more, clickety-click here

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

First Look: THE CITY IN DARKNESS by Michael Russell

THE CITY IN DARKNESS (Constable), set in Dublin in 1939, is the third novel in Michael Russell’s series featuring Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie. To wit:
Christmas 1939. In Europe the Phoney War hides carnage to come. In Ireland Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie keeps tabs on Irishmen joining the British Forces. It’s unpleasant work, but when an IRA raid on a military arsenal sends Garda Special Branch in search of guns and explosives, Stefan is soon convinced his boss, Superintendent Terry Gregory, is working for the IRA.
  At home for Christmas, Stefan is abruptly called to Laragh, an isolated mountain town. A postman has disappeared, believed killed, and Laragh’s Guards are hiding something. Stefan is the nearest Special Branch detective, yet is he only there because Gregory wants him out of the way?
  Laragh is close to the lake where Stefan’s wife Maeve drowned years earlier, and when events expose a connection between the missing postman and her death, Stefan realises it wasn’t an accident, but murder. And it will be a difficult, dangerous journey where Stefan has to finally confront the ghosts of the past in the mountains of Wicklow, before he can return to Dublin and the truth of his boss’s duplicity.
  THE CITY IN DARKNESS will be published on May 5th. For more on Michael Russell, clickety-click here