Friday, 24 October 2008

John Connolly on Stuart Neville


I've been looking forward to reading The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville for a long time now, but the latest post on Stuart's blog has me positively fidgeting in my seat. Or maybe that's down to the Diet Coke I had for breakfast. Either way, I'm impressed, awed and unprofessionally jealous of this quote from the godlike John Connolly:
"Ghosts of Belfast is not only one of the finest thriller debuts of the last ten years, but is also one of the best Irish novels, in any genre, of recent times. It grips from the first page to the last, and heralds the arrival of a major new voice in Irish writing. I don't know how Stuart Neville is going to improve upon such an exceptional first novel, but I can't wait to find out..."

Stuart says he's flabbergasted, but I'm assuming he means that in a good way.

19 comments:

Michael Stone said...

Jakers, Janey Mac and Jeez Louise. that's a blurb to die for!

Gerard Brennan said...

I know! I'm really happy for him... the bastard.

gb

Conduit said...

Aw, shucks (blushes and scuffs his toe on the ground).

Thanks, Ger. :)

Gerard Brennan said...

No worries, Stuart. I grudgingly wish you the best of luck, ye fecking jammy bastard.

No, seriously -- I'm truly in awe and delighted that another NI writer is getting this sort of attention. Writers like you, McGilloway, McKinty et al are drawing the right kind of attention to the NI crime scene, and proving to the likes of me, that it can be done, so we'll keep on trying.

So, cheers, man.

gb

Peter Rozovsky said...

Criminy, that's a nice stack o'blurbs friend Stu is building up.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Gerard Brennan said...

Peter - Uh-huh. He's gonna be one of them famous guys soon. with any luck he'll remain modest and blurb my books in the future.

gb

Peter Rozovsky said...

And I'll be able to say I had a pint with him back in the day.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Gerard Brennan said...

Peter - You're one up on me, man, and me and Stuart live on the same island! How's that make sense?

gb

Peter Rozovsky said...

We scanned photos of pints of Guinness, then e-mailed them.

No, in fact he attended that crime fiction event in Dunlaoghaire that happened when I was there. Through Declan Burke, I met and hung out with all the writers. I was chuffed that Connolly and Declan Hughes greeted me at Bouchercon in Baltimore.

Verification word: nonitor, a marvelous word to use in connection with a security breakdown.

Gerard Brennan said...

Peter - Pretty good company, man. I briefly met John Connolly and Declan Hughes at No Alibis a few months ago, and it was obvious the pair of them were real gents. And they gave the best reading I've ever been to. I'll have to go to more of these further afield events, though.

Nonitor, filed away for future use.

gb

adrian mckinty said...

Stuart

VERY much looking forward to it.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Declan Hughes not only introduced himself and said he liked my site, but he informed me that his niece's husband played on my softball team. That wins my award for the coolest thing that has happened to me because of my blog.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

adrian mckinty said...

Wait a second, the fact that your Montreal mafia buddy David Roskies came to my wedding counts for nothing?

Peter Rozovsky said...

That's in the realm of legend, at least until I meet David Roskies and he rubs his chin in wonder and says, "My, my. Isn't that something?"

You may recall that it transpired that my mother knows lots of Roskiesies, though not David. We do know Ruth Wiess, though, and I did go to school with all the Roskies and Wiess kids.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Josephine Damian said...

Gerard, I pegged you as way too cool for NaNo - Stuart's another story, though. :-)

I see, like me you write screenplays.

Gerard Brennan said...

Josephine - Nobody's accused me of being too cool for something in ages. Thought I was losing it. Thanks!

Yeah, I've written a screenplay that seems to have done baffling well. No production company attached (yet), but Northern Ireland Screen, a funding body here, has helped me out a lot through the Individual Award programme they run. I still feel like a total newbie to the form, though.

How goes it with you?

gb

Colin said...

Really looking forward to the book and very pleased its getting the big up everywhere. Although my experience, whether book or film or tv, has always been that anything with 'Belfast' in the title is a VERY hard sell, irrespective of the quality of the writing. Talking about the UK here. US, where I can't get arrested, might be different.

Gerard Brennan said...

Colin - I remember you mentioning that before, maybe in an interview you did for Verbal? I hope it wasn't a hard lesson, because Belfast Confidential is probably my favourite Starkey book.

gb

Conduit said...

Colin - I hope this isn't talking out of school, but my publisher's marketing department did question the title. The book was originally called 'Followers', but during the revisions I did for my agent I changed it. As things turned out, Jason Starr's new book is called 'The Followers', so retitling was probably a good idea from that point of view.

The response to the new title was particularly positive from my American friends and beta readers, so that together with the fact that a certain amount of marketing legwork had already been done, meant we stuck with the new title.

I can understand the negative reaction some people might have to anything to do with Belfast or the Troubles in general. There's been far too much dour-social-commentary style films and books over the years, and I know I personally approach anything about NI with caution. Your books would be a shining example of the exeption, that if we can get past the self-important misery-fests, then there is a rich vein of material to be mined here.

I'm convinced that we're on the verge of an interesting wave of fiction (both on page an screen) about our corner of the world. Historically, the most interesting fiction about any conflict doesn't appear until the conflict is over. When you don't have to be concerned with taking sides, with the politics and sensitivities, there is room for pure storytelling to flourish. At least I hope so, anyway...