Preview: Absolute Zero Cool

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Intro, Ireland, notes

I met Declan Burke at Crime Fest in 2008 and realised at once that he was a very funny man. I  have even forgiven him for trying to pass me off as Salman Rushdie,  and claim a $10  million bounty from the Iranian Embassy. It is great news that his new book Absolute Zero Cool has its official launch on August 10th at the Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar, Dublin. 

Below some of the early praise for Absolute Zero Cool, and my own review of The Big O.

More information at Declan’s blog Crime Always Pays.

“A genuinely original take on noir, inventive and funny. Imagine, if you can, a cross between Flann O’Brien and Raymond Chandler.” – John Banville, author of THE SEA

Who in their right mind would want to blow up a hospital?

            “Close it down, blow it up – what’s the difference?”

            Billy Karlsson needs to get real. Literally. A hospital porter with a sideline in euthanasia, Billy is a character trapped in the purgatory of an abandoned novel. Deranged by logic, driven beyond sanity, Billy makes his final stand: if killing old people won’t cut the mustard, the whole hospital will have to go up in flames.

            Only his creator can stop him now, the author who abandoned Billy to his half-life limbo, in which Billy schemes to do whatever it takes to get himself published, or be damned . . .

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is unlike anything else you’ll read this year … Laugh-out-loud funny … This is writing at its dazzling, cleverest zenith. Think John Fowles, via Paul Auster and Rolling Stone … a feat of extraordinary alchemy.” – Ken Bruen, author of AMERICAN SKIN

“Stop waiting for Godot – he’s here. Declan Burke takes the existential dilemma of characters writing themselves and turns it on its ear, and then some. He gives it body and soul … an Irish soul.” – Reed Farrel Coleman, author of EMPTY EVER AFTER

Here is my own review of Declan Burke’s wonderfully amusing debut novel The Big O:

Over the holiday period I read Declan Burke’s novel The Big O.
Frank a crap plastic surgeon has problems, with an ex wife, twin daughters, and the medical ethics committee, all on his back. His golf is not too good either.
He decides to arrange the kidnapping of his ex wife Madge, in an insurance scam, and pocket the ransom money less the kidnappers’ fee.
Frank’s receptionist Karen moonlights sticking up gas stations, and during one of these stick- ups meets hunky Ray, a decorator, who happens to be also the designated kidnapper of Madge. Madge and Karen are friends and Karen’s ex boyfriend Rossi Francis Assisi Callaghan is just out of the slammer and is looking for Karen, his 44, his Ducatti and his stash.
Frank is then mugged by Rossi and cop Stephanie Doyle enters the scene and develops a thing for Ray. Then Doug, Frank’s insurance broker,who is sleeping with Madge gets in the way of a golf ball hit by Frank…….
Confused no way, and I haven’t even introduced Anna yet.
Rossi’s partner in crime is called Sleeps because he suffers from narcolepsy, but I can guarantee you won’t fall asleep reading The Big O.
This book is a blunt, rude, crude, politically incorrect, raucus, rumbustious, rollicking, romp of a crime caper novel. The characters are larger than life and the action is convoluted and non-stop. I certainly admire the chutzpah of Declan in writing this, because among all the other stuff….
“He actually said he’d staple your tits together?”….Doyle thinking how they’d need to be big staples,…..
there is a lot of wit and wisdom.
That was when it finally dawned on him: it’s not the way a woman looks, it’s the way she looks at you.
And other gems:
“And you’ve trained for this? Done courses and shit?”
“Believe it. At the university of fucking hard knocks.”
“So you’re not actually, y’know, qualified.”……..
“See, this is the beauty of it,” Rossi said. “Know what kind of qualifications you need to start a charity?”
The Big O is a loveable rogue of a novel and while it is not literature you will have a lot more fun reading it than some labyrinthine incomprehensible Booker prize winner. 
  1. Norman – That does look intriguing! Thanks for giving us a taste. My book budget, on the other hand, does not thank you ;-).

  2. kathy d. says:

    Whatever 12-step program you’ve discovered for book-o-holics, please let me know what it is and where to find it. I feel like someone who’s sitting down at the roulette wheel and then calling out a bet when I sit down at the computer and start reading book reviews. I’m about to give my credit card to a neighbor to hide. Gosh — this is as bad as chocolate but that craving can be quelled by $1 expense.

  3. I think you should have asked him to share those millions with you, that is definitely what I would have done 😉

    And I know exactly what Kathy should do; she should stop reading blogs like yours 😀

  4. Norman says:

    Dorte the only two people who think I look like Salman Rushdie are called Declan and Bridie. They should take more water with their Bushmills Irish whisky.

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