Tag Archives: Ken Bruen

The freebie

There is nothing quite like a free bag. Or book. Both, even.

The Resident IT Consultant should be jaded by now, but he still brought home this cloth bag with a copy of The Scotsman and the crime novel A White Arrest by Ken Bruen. And, erm, various edibles, including a sachet of porridge oats…

Now me, I have cloth bags coming out of my ears, closely followed by novels. Not so much porridge. I’m more of a yoghurt girl.

So he was terribly pleased with his loot. The Resident IT Consultant is now back to eating porridge for breakfast like a proper Scotsman. He decided to take them up on the newspaper deal as well, so somewhat to my horror we are reading what seems to me to be a rather conservative newspaper. But it’s got Scottish news, he says. Unlike the Guardian.

We are probably not going to read the Bruen novel. A short story in my past taught me Ken is a little noirer than I feel comfortable with. But at least I’d heard of him, unlike the porridge eater.

I wonder how the deals for this kind of freebie works? This book is pretty old, so maybe they shared costs, both in the hope of selling more. More Scotsman, more Irish Noir. And more porridge. Can’t remember if there was shortbread as well.

Good value for £1. And I think that was the bag Daughter passed on to a friend, who was happier about the bag than anyone ought to be. But why not?

(It worked on me, all those years ago, with a free Ann Granger novel. Changed my life and all that.)

Bookwitch bites #56

All together now.

How I wish I could have popped over to Dublin last week. It was positively teeming with crime writers. I know it’s the latest vogue but this strikes me as exceptional. It was the launch of crime anthology Down These Green Streets; Irish Crime Writing in the 21st century, edited by our very favourite Declan, Declan Burke. (Sorry Hughes.)

Down These Green Streets

And I do realise some of you will find it a little hard to drop everything and pop in the Belfast direction for the NI launch tonight. But do try. I would. If I could. There are multi-signed copies of the book for sale from The Gutter Bookshop (which I believe is a lot nicer than the name suggests). I want one. It’d be the next best thing to having been there. But it’s this idea of actually paying…

It’s not just those criminally minded Irish who are ganging up. We have the History Girls. I’ve been hearing rumours for a while, and now they have got their act together. Almost. You can get them on facebook already. And from the 1st July you can enjoy their new blog.

The History Girls

They are girls who write historical fiction. I’m amazed they managed to get so many together for a photo, and very nice they look too. I understand they launched with a lunch, or possibly vice versa, at the home of Michelle Lovric. Should have known someone like Michelle would have an interesting house!

I suppose I shouldn’t ignore that large group of people who have their day tomorrow. The Daddies. We are an unfriendly kind of witch family, so don’t celebrate this kind of event at all. Not even with socks. (And he got a tie for his birthday, so there.) But can you really not go wrong with the books ‘advertised’ below?

Father's Day Penguins

Barnaby Booth

Feeling the need to finish on a softer note; here is Barnaby Booth. Barnaby’s human Daddy is Stephen Booth. I believe Barnaby (I trust you can work out who Barnaby is named after?) helps with the murdering around the house.

How noir can you get?

Luckily they began with Eoin Colfer’s story in the Dublin Noir collection. It was somewhat of a shock finding my kind and funny Eoin being all adult, and a little noir. But that’s what Dublin Noir is about. Dark crime. Irish crime. His story is a far cry from Artemis Fowl. On the other hand, the man’s an adult. He’s allowed.

That’s as far as I read when I first bought the book a few years ago. So I had to re-read Eoin’s story in order to get into the whole thing properly. And it’s quite humorous, in actual fact. Better if you don’t go into it expecting Artemis to lurk round the corner.

Ken Bruen came next, and I have not read any of his novels, but I have been told to do so. The man is god, apparently. I was a little taken aback by Ken’s story, but by the time I’d read some of the others I began to appreciate it properly.

Dublin Noir

Some of the Dublin Noir stories are pretty noir, and I’d like to think they have little to do with Dublin or the Irish, or I’d never ever contemplate visiting. I suppose you can ‘noir’ almost any place or topic. A lot of swearing. Of course. An awful lot of unpleasant deaths. Not that death is ever pleasant, but violent and sordid and uncalled for killings are not nice, let’s say.

Halfway through I almost wanted to rest and come back later, but I was lucky and got in some slightly less noir and gory reads. So yes, its not a bad book. Quietly good, really. But black.

With hindsight you realise it feels a little weird. Published in 2006 it expects Dublin to be prospering and on the way up, whereas now that the bubble has burst things are noirer than they were.

I have to admit to preferring the lighter stories. The ones with blood flowing in rivers all over the place are too OTT for me. But it’s a good way to read many of the names I’d previously only heard of. Still not sure Ken Bruen is god. Good, yes.