Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Belfast Noir Update



In case you don't know I'm editing a volume called Belfast Noir with Stuart Neville for the prestigious Akashic City Noir series. We got some good news this week: we've got a preliminary cover (right) which I think kicks ass and Johnny Temple, the series editor, told me that Belfast Noir is going to come out as a simultaneous audiobook when the hardback is published later in the year. A quick Nate Silver style analysis reveals that only about 1/3 of the City Noir books actually become audiobooks too, so this I think bodes quite well...
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Just to remind you we were delighted to get stories from Glenn Patterson, Eoin McNamee, Garbhan Downey, Lee Child, Alex Barclay, Brian McGilloway, Ian McDonald, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Claire McGowan, Arlene Hunt, Steve Cavanagh, Lucy Caldwell, Sam Millar and Gerard Brennan. A pretty impressive list I think you'll agree. 
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With the success of the new BBC drama The Fall and the best seller status of a surprising number of crime writers from Ireland I think the wheel may finally turning towards Northern Irish fiction. For years the words "The Troubles", "Northern Ireland" and "Belfast" caused book buyers, programme makers and publishers to either shrug with indifference or shudder in horror; but the new generation of writers coming out of Belfast is so good that a previously reluctant audience has had their interest piqued. I've been saying on this blog for the last three years that the Scandinavian crime boom is going to end and the Irish crime boom is going to begin and I still believe that. The depth of talent is there. All it needs is a spark, hopefully Belfast Noir will add kindling to a growing fire...
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Incidentally Steve Cavanagh, one of our contributors, identified this (right) as Upper Church Lane in central Belfast and says - on twitter - that he used to hang out in the very portico where the dudes are hanging out in the picture. Why was he hanging out there? I'll leave you to speculate on that gentle reader...
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Are you still reading all the way down here? Boy are you patient, well I might as well plug me then: The Boston Globe reviews Sean Duffy #3, today, here

49 comments:

John McFetridge said...

Congrats, looks like a fantastic collection. And here's hoping you're right and the wheel is finally turning towards Northern Irish fiction. There's so much great stuff being written there now.

Dana King said...

I hope the delays in recognizing Northern Irish crime fiction were a residual effect of the Troubles, and are now far enough away to become a fertile source and not a hindrance. The story potential is vast, and the writers with chops to use them without becoming exploitative are ready and waiting.

Alan said...

Adrian,A fine way to be involved in the process of raising public awareness of the great wealth of material and it's mexcavators lying below N.I. Soil.Who better than you and Mr.Neville to collate this collection.I am sure Duffy would smile with a Vodka lime when meets "The Ghosts Of Belfast.Best and Happy New Year .Alan

Gerard Brennan said...

So delighted to have a story in this. When's the launch party?

gb

seana graham said...

Wait a minute. I thought we all had been saying that Irish noir in general would see its day and you had been skeptical.

Oh, well. I'm looking forward to the book. It's a familiar bunch of names to many of us readers here by now, so I know it won't disappoint.

Steve Cavanagh said...

Thanks so much for letting me contribute Adrian. I owe you and Mr Neville a beer. Happy New Year.

Best,

Steve Cavanagh

Sheiler said...

Yeah, Seana, kick his arse. It was you who said it.

Also I wonder if there's such a thing as Palestinian noir? Occupation and all that. Does anyone know? Too lazy to type and find out on my 120 year old mac. It takes me all day to write 'arse'.

seana graham said...

Sheiler, although Akashic's list runs pretty deep, and they have Tehran, Lebanon and Jerusalem all lined up for the future, Palestine doesn't appear to be contemplated yet. And I didn't see any others with my search, but it was far from exhaustive...

Sheiler said...

Yeah, too busy riding that bike, as seen on your thumbnail photo. That's a Santa Cruz type thing, right?

seana graham said...

That's pretty funny Sheiler, as I just bought that bike this fall and have had very little time to ride it since. Also, I pretty much suck at it. But I was just heading out the door to give it another short spin while there's no traffic when I checked this. It is also pretty much the only time anyone is ever going to see me on it without a helmet.

Peter R. may have more extensive ideas about Palestinian noir than I do if he checks in here.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Peter R. has checked in!

Sheiler, Matt Rees has written crime novels set in the Palestinian territories. Here’s what he had to say about crime fiction in the Arab world at large and the territories in particular. It's not just a matter of saying OK, let's find some crime writers.

Akashic has a Jerusalem Noir in the pipeline, and I’d bet my weekly salary in shekels that it will include territories stories. I wonder if the Jerusalem Noir book would take in such issues as intra-Palestinian rivalry, or P.A. corruption. I hired a car for a drive into Bethlehem and Hebron. The driver, an Israeli Arab, had much to say of interest, and where there is interest, there is crime.
=================================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

Stuart Neville said...

I just tried to post this comment over at Declan Burke's blog, but it seems to be suffering gremlins, so I'll post it here instead:

We have some really terrific stories in this collection. Adrian and I are both delighted not only with the quality, but the range of storytelling. Lee Child (who has Belfast roots, did you know?) gave us a taut thriller that ticks like a Swiss watch. Glenn Patterson and Alex Barclay delivered wonderfully dark tales whose prose borders on poetry. Lucy Caldwell examines the wickedness of youth. Gerard Brennan's story is a desperately sad tale of a young woman's life gone wrong...

I could go on. Each story exhibits its own unique voice, a different aspect of its setting. Who would think such a small place could inspire so many viewpoints?

Anyway, it was a pleasure to work with Adrian on this. Readers are in for a treat.

Mel Healy said...

Good stuff. Pity Eugene McEldowney's Belfast detective, Superintendant Megarry, isn't still on the street. Mind you, he's probably have retired by now.

lil Gluckstern said...

Sounds interesting, at the very least. When is the projected release date?

Sheiler said...

This new collection sounds terrific. Maybe someday I'll get my hands on a copy. Meanwhile I'll just harangue Seana on her mad biking skills. Peter, it's so interesting to me on how detective fiction had to be explained in lieu of a book review. Wow.

What is the difference between crime fiction and detective fiction? You'd think I'd have asked this by now, or would have gleaned it by coming over here these past coupla years. Sadly I think my gleaner needs attending to.

seana graham said...

What became clear to me yesterday is that I don't actually know how to stop, Sheiler. It's a problem.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Sheiler: Right. Violence is as old as human history, and crime and transgression probably followed shortly thereafter. But crime fiction as we know it is an Anglo-Franco=American creation.

I wonder if Arab or Palestinian folklore and history contain any stories that could find homes in modern crime fiction, the way those old, old Chinese magistrate stories did in Robert Van Gullik's Judge Dee stories.

adrian mckinty said...

John

I hope so too! Thanks man! I wonder when we're going to see Montreal Noir...

adrian mckinty said...

Dana

I think there was a queasy feeling for a long time but hopefully thats changing...

adrian mckinty said...

Alan

My one regret is that we didnt get a story from Stuart but of course we couldnt because he was editing.

adrian mckinty said...

Ger

TBA. Definitely.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

It wont disappoint I promise.

adrian mckinty said...

Steve

Actually its the reverse. Mr Neville and I owe you a beer.

adrian mckinty said...

Sheiler

Yeah I think in the Jerusalem Noir.

adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I lived in Jerusalem for a year and I've got at least one Jerusalem story in me, so its a pity I couldnt have squeezed into that collection. Mustnt be greedy I suppose.

adrian mckinty said...

Stuart

Yeah the quality is terrific. I was expecting a masterclass from Lee and Eoin and Ger but Lucy (a newbie to the crime field) stunned me with her E Belfast childhood tale...

adrian mckinty said...

Mel

We big him up in the intro.

adrian mckinty said...

Lil

I'm guess the autumn?

Sheiler said...

Peter,

Just got an email from UChicago press offering me a free read of Murder in Ancient China. Serendipitous (as in should I go and buy a lottery ticket) or were you reminded by the same email?

Craig said...

For a moment I read a contributor's name as "James Patterson" and my brain vapor locked.

adrian mckinty said...

Craig

Well since he somehow churns out 12 novels a year I wouldnt put a short story past Jim P.

Peter Rozovsky said...

"I lived in Jerusalem for a year and I've got at least one Jerusalem story in me, so its a pity I couldnt have squeezed into that collection. Mustnt be greedy I suppose."

Aye, rare is the place you haven't lived.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Sheiler, I'll look up that "Murder in Ancient China."

China has a long tradition of supernaturally tinged crime stories with magistrate's as detectives. We know the eighteenth-century Judge Dee stories that Robert Van Gulik translated and then the new ones that he wrote in, I guess, the 1960s. But I have read that the eighteenth-century stories derive from plays that date from a time closer to the era of the real-life Judge Dee in the Tang Dynasty.

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John McFetridge said...

That's a fantastic cover for Belfast Noir.

And a great review, congrats. It's nice to see the press catching up to the rest of us...

I was surprised to see these comments from January. One of them asks about Montreal Noir, I guess we can confirm now that it looks like it'll be out in 2015 and I'll be co-editing with Jacques Filippi.

Alan said...

Adrian,Fine cover but a think the two gentlemen look surprisingly like Burke and Hare.All seems to be moving uphill.I keep looking for Seasin Two of "The Fall" but no joy yet.Best Alan

librarian111 said...

I live in Dallas Tx and just listened to "The Cold, Cold Ground." If I'm reading it, then you are making great headway in the US. I saw where you said the US market was tough to crack.

I am looking forward to reading the next two in the series.

seana graham said...

Congratulations, John. So it looks like I'll be reading a lot of short form noir in the not too distant future...

adrian mckinty said...

JOhn

Brilliant news about Montreal Noir!

adrian mckinty said...

ALan

I love that cover. I love the tone of it and the old world field.

adrian mckinty said...

Librarian

You're right, I think you're the third blog commenter from Texas I've had this year, which doesnt sound like a lot but its more than I've ever had....

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

For your sins you will. Funny that you know Susie. Or know of her anyway.

seana graham said...

I have many random connections to her, including the fact that I had a friend in college who used to babysit her as a child, but she wouldn't know me from Adam.

Cheryl Carter-Smith said...

Great to see such a wonderful review from my hometown newspaper. -Hometown in that I went to school in Boston and we have a general claim as Boston being "ours" even if we don't actually live in the city itself.

I'll watch for Belfast Noir. It sounds fantastic.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Still its a small world.

adrian mckinty said...

Cheryl

I just hope its not my last US newspaper review...

seana graham said...

Small if you're not aboard a missing Malaysian airliner that is.

Sheiler said...

I can't WAIT to read the Montreal noir.

Adrian, the cover photo is brilliant. It reminds me a bit of the lurkers in Gloucester, MA. Sailors on land who spend serious time in doorways up and down the streets. When I lived up there it startled me. They don't even pretend to be doing anything other than feeling (I suppose) dry land and a solid horizon.