Irish crime

I’ve just read Declan Burke’s The Big O. It’s rather like The Commitments, hardboiled. Having called in regularly to check out Declan’s blog crimealwayspays, which is very witty as well as informative, I was hoping his own fiction would be as funny. It is.

This is Declan’s second crime novel, and I must get my hands on the first one, very soon. The Big O is about an interesting group of people, who are all more or less into crime of some sort. It’s not so much black and white, as various shades of grey. But they are very likeable, even though they use the f-word most of the time. The bookwitch is just being oldfashioned here.

I’m not going to give away the plot, which centres on kidnapping, but I can tell you it all builds up to a hilarious ending. I wonder what goes on inside Declan’s head?

Until now my only experience of Irish crime has been Artemis Fowl and Skulduggery Pleasant. I get the impression from Declan’s blog that there is a great deal more, and I think it would be a mistake to treat Irish crime writing as not much different from English crime. It’s worth looking west.

And if you’re thinking of buying The Big O, get it via Declan’s blog, to support small business. I even managed to beg an individually (very individually!) signed copy this way.

10 responses to “Irish crime

  1. I share your high opinion of The Big O Has Mr. Burke referred you to the Critical Mick Web site, that other source of brash reviews and useful information about Irish crime fiction?

    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  2. Steady on here, I could easily spend all day reading good blogs… Very occasionally I need to do other things. But, yes thanks, I’m aware of Critical Mick.

  3. Yes, I’d spend more time reading if I spent less time blogging about reading.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  4. Hey there, Bookwitch! I am now officially aware of you as well. Polite smiles all around!

    Seeing as you’re into children’s books, crime, and (just guessing by yer moniker, here) ye olde supernatural shite, lemme hit you with a couple plugs. I’ve recently completed Is Anybody Listening? by Larry O’Loughlin and also Mind’s Eye by Philip Henry. Both are well above average, worth tracking down… though that may be difficult, outside of Ireland.

    One notable thing about these Irish novels: both contain a healthy dose of four-letter words. Is that the norm in YA fiction these days, or is it because language over here is a bit saltier than in the US-? I dunno, I’m asking. Been 25 years since Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing so I am out of touch with trends.

    All the Best!! And great interview with Eoin Colfer (who I will smack around one day unless he writes some more grownup crime- great shtuff)


  5. Re smacking Eoin Colfer around unless he starts writing more for grownups, what has he written for that age group, other than the highly enjoyable story that opened the Dublin Noir collection?
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  6. Boys, boys, slow down.

    Mick, did you by any chance see me sneak in this morning? Thought I left no trails. But really nice meeting you like this. And thanks for suggestions.

    I’m not into the supernatural! I AM a witch. Hence the name.

    I’m beginning to think it’s the Irish who swear, unless written about by Eoin. I think books perceived to be for boys have more swearing in them.

    I’ll soon post a piece on a charity anthology that has a piece by Eoin, that might appeal to you somewhat older boys.

    Otherwise I’m getting worried here that I have to start making up more on crime, as I’m primarily here for the young fiction. I’ll check out some Swedish crime in Gothenburg next week, so maybe something will come from that.

  7. A real witch? Like Willow from Buffy?


    Yeah, Peter, it was Colfer’s contribution to Dublin Noir. One of the best pieces in that anthology. Humor, action, a geneuine surprise I didn’t catch coming… Can’t wait til he writes some more.

    Time for more serial plugging: on the subject of chairty anthologies, check out the link to “Do the Write Thing” on the main page of…. all proceeds help to fight breast cancer.

    Thanks again, Peter & BW!


  8. Pingback: The Blue Orange rave « Bookwitch

  9. Pingback: The Big O as an e | Bookwitch

  10. Pingback: Crime Always Pays | Bookwitch

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