And here she is, the Bookwitch is finally Kissing the Blarney Stone!
Not really, it’s just the level I’ve achieved in my Irish reading challenge, set over on Books and Movies. Who better to end with, than my original introduction to the Irish criminal world, Declan Burke?
The thing about Absolute Zero Cool is that I’ve read it before. Once upon a time Declan published it free, online, and we flocked to read whenever he put a new bit up. That was then. This is now. Now Declan has an actual book, which suits me so much better. It looks nice, too. Blue, with a flaming ruler. No, I see. It’s a bomb, carefully disguised as a ruler. Candle? Thermometer?
I’ve been trying to work out who is the craziest; Declan or his character Karlsson/Billy. To tell the truth, I’m not so sure they are separate. This is the story about the author who sits peacefully on his deck, enjoying a coffee, when an old character saunters back into his life and demands to be taken seriously. He used to be Karlsson, but now calls himself Billy.
Karlsson is not happy with having been ‘forgotten’ and has ideas about reviving his old novel. So they chat and they edit and come up with new ideas as the weeks pass. Karlsson works as a hospital porter and he wants to blow the place up. Whether he’s also responsible for those unexpected deaths on the wards we never really find out. He’s crazy.
It’s clever. The first time I had great difficulties keeping all these people and ‘settings’ apart. This time it was easier, and I have concluded it’s not just Karlsson who is a page or two short of a full book.
We know it’s the real Declan, because he discusses things from his own life with Karlsson, including putting his lovely baby daughter in the risk zone. Karlsson is a real piece of work, although I quite enjoyed the bit where he engages in chatting up a young girl online, and before you all splutter in your scrambled eggs, it works out ‘interestingly.’
It’s weird. It’s different. But if you can keep several balls going at the same time in this juggling act, it’s a fun read. Shows you what publishing can be like. It’s sort of a picture within a picture within a…