Crime Beat: What’s the average kill count in your novels?The Page 99 Test:: The Big O (Irish edition).
Declan Burke: Pretty low, I have to say. I’m not a fan of gratuitous murders, and I especially hate killing for the sake of advancing a plot, or to get rid of an inconvenient character, or to invoke some undeserved pathos. I think two people died violently in my first novel, Eightball Boogie, and none at all in the second, The Big O. Actually, The Big O was in part conceived as a fun exercise in how authentically I could write a crime novel without any killings and the bare minimum of violence. I had a friend who died young, and violently, so maybe that’s one reason I don’t take lethal violence lightly.
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Crime Beat: Serious stuff now: in a blog you wrote that Irish readers might have an ‘inferiority complex’ when it comes to reading Irish crime fiction. We most definitely have the same problem in South Africa. But I sense that we’re way behind you in terms of backlist and number of writers. Did you have a long tradition of crime fiction to build on? Our tradition rests mostly on the shoulders of one James McClure writing in the 1970s, then Wessel Ebersohn in the 1980s but after his last book in 1990 things went quiet until a motorcycle maniac called Deon Meyer hit the scene in 1998. But the rush, such as it is, really started in 2006. How are you convincing the great unwashed that they should read you and your colleagues? I know, I know, you don’t call them the great unwashed for starters.
Declan Burke: ‘Inferiority complex’ might...[read on]
The Page 99 Test: The Big O (US edition).