Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Keeping Up With the Times...The Sunday Times Review

And while I'm at it here at the auld blogging, here's the review of Irregulars published yesterday in the Sunday Times.  So far, the critics have been more than kind.  I was kind of delighted with it.

Sunday Times Culture Section 21.07.13

Irregulars by KEVIN McCARTHY
New Island £13.99 pp383

It’s Dublin, 1922, and demobilised Royal Irish Constabulary man Seán O’Keeffe is at a loose, fragile and unemployable end. He drinks too much, he’s lonely for any kind of companionship, he is spooked by memories of combat in Gallipoli and in Ireland’s ‘’Tan War’’, he is mourning the death-in-action of his younger brother, and he is guilt-ridden at not seeing his parents for months even though he lives less than a mile from the family home. A chance meeting with a doctor alerts O’Keeffe to the fact that his father – also a former policeman – is ill. Three days later, after a skinful of booze and with the vague recollection if ‘’a heady miasma of perfume and sweat....the laughter of women and a crackling gramophone’’, O’Keeffe finally returns home.
His father, now drifting in and out of early-onset Alzheimer’s, burdens O’Keeffe witha moral debt that must be repaid to Ginny Dolan, a powerful brothel keeper in the city’s infamous Monto area. For some unknown reason, Dolan had O’Keeffe’s father in her pocket, and it is now the turn of his son to take that place. Ginny Dolan’s request? O’Keeffe must find her beloved teenage son, Nicholas, who has taken up with republican guerrillas (aka the ‘’irregulars’’).
With a nod to fellow Irish-American writer Dennis Lehane, Kevin McCarthy – whose 2010 debut crime Novel, Peeler, also featured the character of O’Keeffe – blends a rigorously researched, factually based storyline with an array of crime-novel characters, only a few of which come across as hackneyed.
O’Keeffe stalks his prey through the main thoroughfares and back streets of Dublin, via detention camps in Gormanstown. Dolan is embittered and quick-witted: ‘’Only in Ireland can men let politics come between them and a screw,’’ she notes.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a strong interest in Irish history – McCarthy writes such an involving, oft-times harsh story that lack of knowledge neither intrudes nor undermines they enjoyment. The contextual mood seems realistic for the times that are portrayed. Depression and disappointment, poverty, prostitution and child abuse are all here. No pretty pictures are painted and Irregulars is all the better for it

Tony Clayton-Lea

Monday, 15 July 2013

Up the Dubs! A review of Irregulars on the RTE Ten Website

Spotted a great review of Irregulars on the RTE Ten website today. http://www.rte.ie/ten/news/2013/0715/462563-irregulars-rte-ten-review/  It's short enough so I'll post it here.  I have to say I'm delighted.  Irregulars is my own twisted love letter to Dublin and the reviewer really felt the love.
Dublin Coddle...not on tourist menus for a reason.
Looks awful, tastes great!

I love the title (sub heading?) too. New Jackeen City...classic!  (Jackeen, for those who might not know, is slang for a denizen of Dublin.  According to the eminent Dr. Charles Wikipedia its origins are thus:  Jackeen is a mildly pejorative term for someone from DublinIreland. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "A contemptuous designation for a self-assertive worthless fellow," citing the earliest documented use from the year 1840.[1]
Ice T, Wesley Snipes, a young Chris Rock? A movie charting the rise and fall of
a Dublin drug lord.  Or maybe not...

The review, by Henry Guerin, is printed below.

    New Jackeen City
Kevin McCarthy's Dublin-set thriller Irregulars has just been published by New Island. Harry Guerin says this case is really worth investigating.

It takes some kind of author to make you see your native city in a new way, but after reading Kevin McCarthy'sIrregulars the streets, alleys and ghosts of Dublin Past will never seem the same again. Long before you finish devouring the chapters you'll be planning a walking tour of your own.
Set in 1922, Irregulars tells the story of Seán O'Keefe – ex-soldier, ex-Peeler – who's thrown head-first into a pitch black coddle of missing children, murder, stolen money, Civil War politics and a family debt that must be honoured, with plenty of beatings and bodies before he can.

As O'Keefe goes from front parlours to tenements to lodging houses, he's joined by 'Just' Albert; Monto muscle with a personal interest in the case and an unshakeable belief that he can fix any problem with his hands. After he and O'Keefe pay a visit to the internment camp at Gormanston you're ready to believe him, and that's just one of a number of brilliantly realised set pieces amidst the twists.
Like George P Pelecanos with his DC Quartet, McCarthy has made Dublin his own, populating it with heroes, shooters, spies and street urchins who look good for two decades and a dozen books, all far from The Gathering crowd.  4.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Another Review of Irregulars...or...If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the Kitchin...

Another review of Irregulars, this one by author Rob Kitchin over at his great Irish crime fiction blog, The View From the Blue House.  Rob's an author himself and it's always rewarding to be reviewed well by one's peers.  The link to it is here:  http://theviewfromthebluehouse.blogspot.ie/2013/07/review-of-irregulars-by-kevin-mccarty.html

The View from the Blue House

Monday, 1 July 2013

First Review of Irregulars

You hear that some writers don't read their reviews.  Well...with all due respect...bullshit.  What's the old adage about 99% do it and the other 1% is lying?  All of which is to say that the first review of Irregulars was published last week on the fine history website, The Irish Story, and a really interesting review it is, too.  It's very good, mostly, and some of what the reviewer didn't like, I can agree with.  Still, waiting around for reviews can be a bit hard on the auld nerves.  Firstly, you are hoping for any reviews at all.  It's reviews what sell books, for better or worse...even worse, apparently, though I'd not like to test it out.  And of course any reviews you do get, you really want to be positive but then again, bad reviews are part of the job of work that is novel writing.  'It's all in the game,' as the late, great Omar Little once said.  But still, you hope they'll be nice.  Generally, Peeler was well reviewed.  No real negative ones and some fabulous ones but reviewers are kind to first novels, I think, unless they're six figure deals or written by a glamour model or some such.  Second novels, particularly in a series?  The gloves are off, I'd say.  But I will post the bad with the good on here and here's hoping for the good...
I wrote a novel and a hockey game broke out...the gloves are off for the reviewers of Irregulars

Also, there's a cool blog post re Irregulars over at Peter Rozovsky's brilliant blog, Detectives Beyond Borders.  I've written about his blog before but I'll say it again:  there isn't a smarter, funnier or more erudite book blog on the web.  The fact that Peter is a stand up guy only helps.  Check it out here.

Novelist Declan Burke of Crime Always Pays blog
and author of the mega-meta-masterpiece Absolute Zero Cool
And finally, over on Declan Burke's equally brilliant, Irish Crime Fiction blog, Crime Always Pays, Declan has included Irregulars on a list of books eligible for Irish Crime Novel of the Year 2013.  Now, I've only read two books on that list but am proud that Irregulars is hanging with such a cool crowd.  Honoured, I am.

Irregulars Out Now!!! Get It While It's Hot...or Before the Reviews Come In!

Ok, it's official, I'm the world's worst blogger.  I just see that I've posted nothing on here since May and really, for some weeks there was nothing to report and then, suddenly, now, loads to report.

Firstly, Irregulars, the second Sean O'Keefe novel, is now in good bookshops everywhere or can be purchased also here or, preferably, here at the New Island home site.

We launched it last week at the Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar.  Booker listed author Ed O'Loughlin was kind enough to shove the book into the world with a speech that was too kind by half and a real honour for me.  I have to say I've been well served by the two writers who've launched my books, Ed this time and Cormac Millar, who launched Peeler in 2010.  A real honour, seriously.  And a word here about the Gutter Bookshop.  If you're ever in Dublin and need a book, go there.  Bob, the owner, took the bold step of opening the shop during the worst recession this country's ever seen and, through a genuine love of books and insider knowledge of the publishing world, has brought the shop from strength to strength.  I love all bookshops, really, and will shop in any one I find myself in, but wherever possible I try to shop in independent bookstores.  They are being eaten alive by those guys I've linked above...the online retailer, not Ed and Cormac...and we still need places that care about art (I'm making no claims for my books, just sayin'...) rather than just product.  And now I'll climb down off my soapbox and tell you that the party then moved next door to the Turk's Head pub for further refreshments and a fine time was had by all...or by me.  And here, let me thank everybody who came out to support the book at the launch.  I really appreciate it and owe you a drink or three.
Myself and Ed O'Loughlin at the launch of Irregulars