Declan Burke is one of the most versatile writers around. In addition to reviews, interviews, and essays, he has edited, or helped to edit, two award-winning non-fiction anthologies. (Down These Green Streets and Books To Die For.)
The tone of any of his novels is impossible to anticipate based on what you’ve read before. Eightball Boogie is an updated, hipper, take on Chandler, with Harry Rigby filling the PI role. The Big O reminds me of Elmore Leonard at his best, funny and unexpectedly violent. Absolute Zero Cool is meta-fiction, an abandoned character talking to—and possibly controlling—the author who walked away. Slaughter’s Hound catches up with Rigby eight years later, in a not dissimilar tone until things go pear-shaped, after which it is as dark a novel as you’re likely to find. Of the writers I read with any regularity, only Scott Phillips leaves you less able to guess what his next book will be like based on its predecessors than does Squire Burke.
Burke’s newest is the soon to be released Crime Always Pays, the sequel to The Big O. To anticipate the release of Crime Always Pays next year, Dec is releasing The Big O for Kindle for the paltry sum of $0.99 in the United States, and a measly £0.90 in the UK. (It’s those snobby Brits, acting like their money is worth more than ours, or something.)
One Bite at a Time isn’t one of those big, impersonal blogs that takes its readers for granted. I think of each and every one of you as a personal friend. Really. I do. (Which is why I won’t loan you money, as lending money has been proven to ruin friendships.) As your friend, I encourage you to hasten your ass over to Amazon and get a copy; you’ll thank me for it. I say this not because Dec is a friend. He’s a friend, in part, because I read The Big O and thought, “I really need to hang around this guy as much as possible, in case some of this shit rubs off from 3400 miles away.” (Editor’s Note: I looked it up, and that’s not stalking. It’s a little creepy, but legal.)
Get a copy post haste. It’s the best ninety-something whatevers you’ll spend.