“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “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, October 21, 2016

Event: Writing the Crime Novel with Declan Burke

The lovely people at the Irish Writers’ Centre have been in touch to ask if I’d be interested in facilitating a one-day course on writing the crime novel. It takes place on December 3rd in Co. Tyrone (details below), and I’m very much looking forward to it. To wit:
All great crime fiction stems from the fact that character is mystery. From whodunits to psychological thrillers, via private eyes and police procedurals, we’ll uncover the crucial elements that make for a memorable crime / mystery novel. Embracing plot and character, the authorial voice, style and language, setting and tone, this course employs classic and contemporary crime writing to illustrate the way forward for authors seeking to hone their craft and maximise the impact of their writing.
  Declan Burke is an award-winning author of six novels, and the editor / co-editor of two non-fiction titles on crime writing. He is the editor of the short story anthology Trouble is Our Business (New Island).

Saturday 3rd December
Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm
Duration: 1 day
Venue: Ranfurly House, Co. Tyrone
Cost: €67/£60
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Publication: IRON MAN: THE GAUNTLET by Eoin Colfer

I’ve spent the last few weeks harping on about the diversity of Irish crime fiction and the way in which Irish writers are happy to explore every nook and cranny of the genre, but it’s fair to say that Eoin Colfer – in this respect, as in most other things – is out there on his own. To date Eoin has penned one of the all-time best-selling YA series with his Artemis Fowl novels; written an instalment in Douglas Adams’ increasingly improbable Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy; a pre-teen private eye novel; books for young children; and comedy caper crime thrillers for adults.
  To cap it all – for now, at least; no doubt there’ll be even more maverick offerings from the Wexford man – Eoin publishes IRON MAN: THE GAUNTLET, in which the Marvel superhero comes to Ireland. To wit:
Tony Stark is known as many things: billionaire, inventor, Avenger, but mainly for being the invincible Iron Man! People expect strength and pizzazz from him at all times and he’s not about to let them down. But when he heads to an international eco-summit, he detects an anomaly off the coast of Ireland. Stark decides to investigate and that’s when the party really starts. Find out how he tackles both inner and outer demons in this all-action adventure from Eoin Colfer, the best-selling author of Artemis Fowl.
  So there you have it. For an excerpt from IRON MAN: THE GAUNTLET, clickety-click here

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It’s been a busy couple of weeks since TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS (New Island) was launched, and the reaction – happily – has been pretty favourable to date.
  First off, hearty congratulations to Jane Casey, whose story ‘Green, Amber, Red’ has been longlisted for the Short Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Sponsored by Writing.ie, the shortlist will be announced on October 25th, and if Jane’s chilling story isn’t on it then there’s something very rotten in the state of Denmark.
  Staying with Writing.ie, Hubert O’Hearn writes a very nice appreciation of the anthology, with the gist running thusly:
“Trouble is our Business is a uniformly excellent selection of twenty-four crime stories written by two dozen Irish writers. Not all of them are murder mysteries per se, although some are; not all are identifiably Irish in speech or setting, although again some are. Each one though polishes a different facet of the whole crime writing genre and just as with the wine sampler mentioned above, by the time you are finished reading this anthology you will certainly have discovered at the very least several writers you’ll list for future enjoyment.”
  Over at the Sunday Independent, Hilary White is also very positive about the book, describing it as “One of the essential literary fiction compendiums in Irish publishing this year.” I haven’t found a link to the review to date, but I’ll hoist it here when I do.
  Meanwhile, to coincide with the publication of TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS, there’s been a few pieces published about Irish crime fiction in general. RTE’s new Culture website hosts an imaginatively titled piece called ‘Crime Spraoi’, the Irish Times hosts another on why ‘Irish crime writers are a law unto themselves’, and The Journal.ie interviews John Connolly, Louise Phillips and yours truly on why Irish crime writing is having ‘a killer moment right now’.
  Finally, if you’re in the mood to sample a couple of the stories from TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS, the Irish Times carries Gene Kerrigan’s ‘Cold Cards’, while the RTE Culture website carries Sinead Crowley’s ‘Maximum Protection’. We do hope you enjoy …

Monday, October 17, 2016

Debut: THE GIRL BEHIND THE LENS by Tanya Farrelly

Tanya Farrelly’s debut, THE GIRL BEHIND THE LENS (Killer Reads), is a dark psychological thriller which will be published as an e-book on October 28th and in paperback on December 15th. Quoth the blurb elves:
When every word’s a lie …
  A picture is worth a thousand.
  Oliver Molloy never meant to hurt his wife. It was an accident, not his fault. A respected lawyer, he needs to make sure no-one finds out the truth. But there’s someone watching him, waiting for him to slip up.
  Photography student Joanna Lacey has always been close to her mother. But when Rachel Arnold turns up on her doorstep, Joanna’s world falls apart. The father she never knew has been found in the canal – a married man, now dead.
  Joanna and Oliver’s paths cross when they meet at the funeral. Convinced everyone she loves is lying to her, Joanna turns to him for help. But Oliver is the most dangerous liar of all.
  Can she uncover the truth before the past destroys them both?
  For Tanya Farrelly’s essay on ‘The Fruits of Perseverance’, clickety-click here

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Publications: Irish Crime Fiction 2016 / 2017

Herewith be a brief list of Irish crime fiction titles published / to be published in 2016 / 2017, a list I’ll be updating on a regular basis. To wit:


THEY ALL FALL DOWN by Cat Hogan (July 1)
LYING IN WAIT by Liz Nugent (July 7)
SO SAY THE FALLEN by Stuart Neville (July 7)
BLOOD FOR BLOOD by JM Smyth (July 14)

THE CONSTANT SOLDIER by William Ryan (August 25)
THE BLUE POOL by Siobhan MacDonald (August 26)

THE WONDER by Emma Donoghue (September 8)
TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS, ed. Declan Burke (September 21)
BENEATH THE SURFACE by Joanne Spain (September 22)
THE TRESPASSER by Tana French (September 22)

THE CITY IN DARKNESS by Michael Russell (October 3)
HOLDING by Graham Norton (October 6)

TRESPASS by Anthony J. Quinn (November 3)
THE DEVIL’S LUCK by T.R. Croke (November 7)

THE GIRL BEHIND THE LENS by Tanya Farrelly (December 15)



LET THE DEAD SPEAK by Jane Casey (March 9)
BLOOD TIDE by Claire McGowan (March 23)

A GAME OF GHOSTS by John Connolly (April 6)
HERE AND GONE by Haylen Beck (April 6)

BAD BLOOD by Brian McGilloway (May 18)

WOLF ON A STRING by Benjamin Black (June 6)
UNTITLED NOVEL by Stephen Burke (June 15)
ONE BAD TURN by Sinead Crowley (June 29)

CANDYLAND by Jax Miller (July 13)

CARDINAL WITNESS by Conor Fitzgerald (August 15)

SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Jo Spain (September 21)

INISHOWEN BOOK 3 by Andrea Carter (October 5)

  NB: Publication dates are given according to Amazon UK, and are subject to change.

Friday, October 14, 2016

One to Watch: HERE AND GONE by Haylen Beck

You’re likely to be hearing a lot about Haylen Beck over the next few months, the debut author of the psychological thriller HERE AND GONE (Harvill Secker), which will be published in April 2017. To wit:
Harvill Secker has acquired a “heart-stopping” standalone psychological thriller Here and Gone by Haylen Beck. The book, said to appeal to fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn, is set to be Vintage’s lead thriller next year and will publish in April 2017. It begins on a desolate road in Arizona where Audra is fleeing her abusive husband in the family car. Her children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. Desperate not to draw attention, Audra is petrified when she is pulled over by the local sheriff. What happens next is every parent’s worst nightmare: one minute her children were here, the next they were gone.
  So why the big fuss about Haylen Beck on a blog dedicated to Irish crime fiction? Well, as the picture above suggests, ‘Haylen Beck’ is none other than our own Stuart Neville. To wit:
The book is said to mark “a thrilling new direction” for Stuart Neville, for whom Haylen Beck is a pseudonym for novels inspired by his love of American crime writing. A second standalone Haylen Beck novel will be published in 2018.
  Nice work, sir. For all the details, including those of the sale of the film rights option, clickety-click here
  For more on Stuart Neville, clickety-click here

Thursday, October 13, 2016

One to Watch: THE CITY IN DARKNESS by Michael Russell

I don’t make a habit of blogging about books I’m still reading but with 100 pages or so still to go, Michael Russell’s THE CITY IN DARKNESS (Constable) is shaping up to be one of the best Irish crime fiction novels I’ve read all year. Quote the blurb elves:
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.
  It’s a beautifully realised historical mystery, a blend of police procedural and spy novel, the story split between WWII Ireland and post-Civil War Spain. THE CITY IN DARKNESS was published on October 3rd; for more on Michael Russell, whose ‘City’ novels have previously been nominated for the CWA awards, clickety-click here

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Publication: THE DEVIL’S LUCK by T.R. Croke

Former Garda detective T.R. Croke publishes his debut novel, THE DEVIL’S LUCK, on November 7th. Quoth the blurb elves:
Detective Kate Bowen is accustomed to dealing with difficult men as she leads Dublin’s Surveillance and Intelligence Unit, and in her disastrous love life.
  But when her team discover ex-IRA stirrings and chatter of an alliance between a rogue group and a Paris-based militant Islamic cell, Kate unearths a tangled conspiracy hiding a vengeful Irish terrorist’s plot. Her investigation leads her into a warren of France’s disenfranchised Muslim youth, a bombing at the BBC proms, and sniping between intelligence agencies that threatens to derail the case.
  And Kate’s boyfriend, the seductive Charlie, isn’t exactly what he seems either. Not by a long shot.
  A police procedural with a gritty female sleuth pitted against an international alliance of the world’s worst terrorists, a pompous MI5 Section Chief seeking glory, with innocents being tortured and slaughtered along the bloodstrewn way.
  For more on T.R. Croke, clickety-click here

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Event: TROUBLE IS OUR BUSINESS at the Red Line Festival

An Evening With Ireland’s Finest Crime Writers

Join us for an evening of discussion on Irish crime writing with some of
Ireland’s best crime writers. Author, editor and journalist Declan Burke
will be leading the conversation with Alan Glynn, Declan Hughes and
Alex Barclay to discuss the ins and outs of the crime-writing process, the development of gripping plots and characters, as well as the past and present of Irish crime writing. Perfect for crime fiction fans and aspiring authors, it’s sure to be a wonderful evening! In association with New Island Books.

Date: Wednesday 12th October
Time: 8pm
Venue: Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Price: €8/€6

Event: Declan Hughes and Alan Glynn on Raymond Chandler

I do hope the good burghers of Waterford know what they’ve let themselves in for by inviting Declan Hughes and Alan Glynn to take part in the Imagine Arts festival later this month – the deadly duo will be discussing Raymond Chandler (right), a topic which could easily take them well into Advent. To wit:
At the 15th annual Imagine Arts festival in Waterford this October, Irish crime writers Alan Glynn and Declan Hughes will read from their work and discuss the influence of Raymond Chandler on their writing and on contemporary crime fiction. This event will take place in partnership with the Irish Writers Centre as the Imagine Festival commemorates the memory of Raymond Chandler and his close connection with Waterford.
  This free event takes place at Waterford’s St Patrick’s Gateway Centre on October 23rd. For all the details, clickety-click here