Thursday, November 28, 2019

Declan Burke

Declan Burke is the author of Eightball Boogie (2003), The Big O (2007), Absolute Zero Cool (2011), Slaughter’s Hound (2012), Crime Always Pays (2014), The Lost and the Blind (2014), and The Lammisters (2019). Absolute Zero Cool was shortlisted in the crime fiction section for the Irish Book Awards, and received the Goldsboro Award for Best Humorous Crime Novel in 2012. Eightball Boogie and Slaughter’s Hound were also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Burke is also the editor of Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century (2011) and Trouble is Our Business (2016), and the co-editor, with John Connolly, of Books to Die For (2013), which won the Anthony Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime. Burke was a UNESCO / Dublin City Council writer-in-residence for 2017-18. He blogs at Crime Always Pays.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Burke's reply:
I always like to read a few books at the same time, picking up a particular book to suit a particular mood or need or time of the day. I also love the idea of the books cross-pollinating one another, with different styles and themes and sets of characters cross-hatching their way through my subconscious.

I’m reading Lee Child’s Blue Moon at the moment, because I’ll be interviewing him next week. I think what I admire most about Lee’s work is how deceptive his style is – it takes a hell of a lot of craft to make a book read so easily.

I’m also working my way through Moby-Dick for the first time, which I’m enjoying immensely, in part because the prose is so lusciously dense. I love a good sea-faring yarn – Conrad, Patrick O’Brian – and Moby-Dick is, among many other things, the grizzled old sea-dog of sea-faring yarns.

I’ve just finished Emma Donoghue’s Akin. Emma’s best-known book is probably Room, which won her all kinds of prizes, including an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay; Akin is about an elderly man, Noah, who is forced to take an 11-year-old grand-nephew he’s never previously met on a vacation to Nice in France, a city Noah hasn’t seen since he was evacuated from it as a child during WWII. It’s fabulous; funny, poignant and philosophical.

Another ongoing read, dipping in and out, is The Best of Myles, Myles na Gopaleen being the alter ego / nom-de-plume of Flann O’Brien – the book is a collection of the weird, wonderful and frequently surreal pieces O’Brien wrote for the Irish Times from the mid-’40s to the mid-’60s. Comic genius.

Finally, there’s a PG Wodehouse on the bedside locker, as there usually is – it’s Ice in the Bedroom at the moment. There’s nothing like a little Wodehouse last thing at night.
Visit Burke's Crime Always Pays blog.

--Marshal Zeringue