Hexham Book Festival
I'll be appearing at the Hexham Book Festival with fellow Irish crime writers Alan Glynn and Stuart Neville. We'll be moderated, if that's the plausible word, by the radiant Laura Wilson. Our event is on at 5.3o; please come along if you're in the area. In the meantime, here's another American review for City of Lost Girls, this time from the Cleveland Plain Dealer
"No one writes crime fiction quite like Declan Hughes..."
So said Hallie Ephron in the Boston Globe
on Sunday. And Marilyn Stasio says some very nice things in the New York Times
. They didn't like everything about City of Lost Girls
, but they liked enough to be going on with. Meanwhile, Laura Wilson has nothing but good to say in the Guardian
Going out west
I'll be reading with John Connolly on Thursday April 22 as part of the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway. We're last minute replacements for Ian Rankin, who has been stranded in Scotland by the airborne toxic event. We're on at the Town Hall Theatre at 8.30.
The LA Times...
... said some nice things about me and City of Lost Girls. Go here
to read them.
I'll be in conversation with Roddy Doyle at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire tomorrow night (Thursday, April 15) to mark the publication of his wonderful new novel, The Dead Republic,
Volume Three of The Last Roundup
. Although it doesn't deal directly with the economic catastrophe currently assailing Ireland, the title of Roddy's book could not be more topical. And there's lots about John Ford and the (putative) genesis of The Quiet Man,
so what's not to like?
City of Lost Girls
, the fifth Ed Loy novel, is published today in the USA, and I can be found on Clair Lamb's excellent Answer Girl
blog answering five random questions on pressing issues like the Easter Bunny and the overuse of words meaning let's get falling down.
And for a mental health break, you should go to the Crazy Crimespree Cats' Central Crime Zone
, where you'll find Commissioner Gordon, Sergeant Harvey Bullock and the Riddler discussing the new book. In Legoland.
City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #6
And then he begins to sing.
At first, Anne thinks it will be the single most embarrassing moment of her entire life. Jack is swaying, and he starts in the wrong key and has to correct himself and start again, and Mark groans and sighs and mutters. But the voice, my God, the voice, he's barely two lines in and the room is completely hushed. It's Tosca, Recondita Armonia, her father used to love it. Anne tries to control herself, but there is really no possibility of that; the raw shock of such unearthly beauty pushes tears into her eyes in a molten rush. Jack doesn’t quite make the last high C. He leaves his mouth open in silence, and points into it with a finger, a cartoon ‘O’ of outrage, as if the note has been stolen, but Anne swears she can hear it anyway. And then the entire restaurant erupts, and it is as if the night has been elevated, and then, this being Dublin, Anne hears someone shout, “Pity he didn’t sing that on the Late Late Show”, which brings the house down, and Jack raises his hand and nods, ruefully conceding the point. The boy producers look entirely stunned, and Anne wonders if they think this kind of thing happens in Dublin all the time, and reckons they probably do, and realises that is what people love about Jack Donovan, that even though the movies are shot through with sentimentality and corn, he can make you believe in something bigger, bigger than just The Way Things Are. Jack Donovan can make you believe in love everlasting, and life after death, in fate, and in grace, and in miracles. Jack Donovan can make you believe in a Dublin where men announce out of nowhere that they are reconciling with their long-estranged wives and children, then sing Puccini arias and bring packed restaurants to an unearthly hush. Jack Donovan can make you believe, and, Anne thinks, as she walks arm in arm with Ed on their way to the pub for the after-dinner drink without which no trip to an Irish restaurant is complete, everyone wants to believe. Everyone.
City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #5
Jack Donovan has always been just a little too big for Ireland, and tends to attract the same combination of adulation and hostility - often from the same people - as Bono of U2. The two have long admired each other, and a version of this
was used as the closing music for Donovan's 1999 homage to Michelangelo Antonioni, Twenty Grand
City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #4
Three-in-one, one-in-three is a motif, not to mention a method of murder, in the book, and what could be more appropriate for Easter Sunday? Arthur McBride
(from the great Andy Irvine and Paul Brady
album) was woven through the soundtrack of Jack Donovan's The Last Anniversary (2005)
, while Coinleach Glas an Fhomair
(from Clannad 2
, and yes that's Gaelic, or Irish, as we call it) opened 1999's Twenty Grand
. The third song is by a short-lived Irish band called Swim. Led by the great Joe Reilly, Swim
recorded a stunning debut album, produced by Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame, and two even better EPs; then they simply vanished off the face of the earth. I Believe
, a slice of inspirational sunshine pop, closed Ocean Falls
City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #3
Ed Loy makes a brief appearance in a Jack Donovan picture (don't reach for your popcorn or you'll miss him). In The Dain Curse
(1997) Loy is "Irish man in bar." He even has a line. Loy was working as a private detective in Los Angeles back then, and he and Donovan had become friends. They were in Hal's Bar on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice one night while casting was underway.
"Hey Ed, say whiskey."
"There you go. You could be Irish man in bar, right?"
"I could. I often have."
The story was transposed to post-war LA, and the soundtrack was a stew of bebop and "cool" jazz. Then, true to Donovan form, midway through the final credits, this
crashes in. It's perhaps not Rory's best, not up there with Moonchild
, but then, neither of them is called Continental Op (To Dashiell Hammett)
City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #2
Jack Donovan's movies invariably end on a diminuendo, the music trailing off into the ether. Then, midway through the titles, a rock song, usually Irish, crashes in, sending everyone out on a high. A Terrible Beauty
(1992) ended with this.
City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #1
... Jack opens his mouth and the first line sails out in that extraordinary voice, pure tenor, not as fine as it once was, wood-smoked and whiskey-basted by one careless owner but still mighty, and the expressions on the faces of those who'd heard rumours of this but never dared dream it might be true, let alone that they would witness it, as E lucevan le stelle from Tosca fills them, fills us all with sad joy and desperate longing for a love we didn't know we'd lost, for a home we'd forgotten we missed.