A couple of recent posts on Declan Burke's estimable Crime Always Pays blog moved me to post replies. One is in regard to the speed and effectiveness of blogs vs. mainstream media (Declan's post was itself a reply to comments by Peter Rozofsky on his Detectives Beyond Borders blog). I'm quite happy to see my article in the new Mystery Readers Journal Mysteries Set in Ireland issue (a bit of a plug for myself there--but thanks are definitely owed to Janet Rudolph for accepting my humble offering); I certainly still stand behind anything I say in the article, but it's frustrating (as a blogger) not to be able to keep writing it--to include books published since I wrote it, changing opinions about some authors, etc. Writing a blog spoils one in terms of being as current as possible when an "article" is "published" (not sure if those words from the old-media world really apply to the blog-o-sphere). A blog is certainly a more immediate (if unjuried, unedited, and therefore less "published") venue, not only in terms of staying up-to-date, but also in terms of carrying on a conversation (from Peter to Declan and beyond).
And regarding my article, Declan Burke also aims a friendly diatribe at one of my comments therein, regarding a list of "Irish novels that aren’t exactly crime novels" including "Seamus Smyth’s QUINN (featuring a career criminal and a lot of even blacker comedy).” To wit, quoting Declan: "Glenn? I love you like a mother from another brother, etc., but I have no idea of how Hugo Hamilton’s Pat Coyne tales, and that of Seamus Smyth’s QUINN, ‘aren’t exactly crime novels’. Hamilton, you could argue, offers a crude but quixotic protagonist raging against the world at large, and one who could just as easily be a middle-management figure as an Irish police detective tilting at the windmills of Irish justice or lack of same. But QUINN (1999), a first-person account of a killer-for-hire, is one of the defining Irish crime fiction novels of the current outpouring."
Point taken: but I still think of Quinn as a farce or a picaresque comedy (with murders and other assorted violence) more than a crime novel--I guess it's something about the hit-man-narrator's voice that's very seductive and natural, but more in a comic vein. But maybe it's just not that productive to try to draw distinctions like the one I was (evidently in vain) trying to make: Quinn is certainly a novel of crime, and a very violent and very funny one at that--enough said? Comments?