EIGHTBALL BOOGIE - Declan Burke
It really shouldn't work. Even in something as dark and noir styled as EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, there should be limits. Sure, hero's can be wise-cracking, dry, lone wolf investigators, or "Researchers". They can obviously have fraught personal lives, and goodness knows Rigby's personal life - what with a son he adores and an on again-off again live in partner, mostly pissed off with him in the extreme falls at the very least, into complicated territory. They can have mates that can be turned easily, enemies around every corner, cops, crooks and all. They can even be somewhat risky friends to know. They can have decidedly dodgy family members but somehow keep waiting for the Chrismas cards to arrive. But really, can they possibly be shot, bashed, thumped, beaten, shot, beat up a bit more, and shot again (I lost count), and not have the reader feel the occasional WTF moment. Apparently, when you're this reader, and it's this book, you can.
It's undoubtedly something to do with the crisp, sharp, pointy, sticky, dark, hilariously funny writing throughout the book. It really got to the point where I didn't care if the hero got shot yet again, as long as he rose to his feet with a nice little aside out of his mouth. I confess at one point I was worried about the beatings - but if I'm being honest - only because of the possibility of a broken jaw and what Burke would do to keep the hero wise-cracking. At no stage did I worry for his longevity, and he really is the sort of engaging character that you'd like to think is propping up a bar into his dotage, as long as it's not my local. Sure the plot probably needed a tourist guide, a very good torch and maybe a cheat sheet, but I ... simply ... did ... not ... care. I loved the whole package and frankly, had a ball reading it. Giggled like an idiot at points.
This is Declan Burke's first book, which I cannot believe I've not read before. Especially as I'd loved The Big O.
You'd think I'd know these things by now.
‘Imelda Sheridan was dead, which was tough cookies on Imelda, but then every silver lining has its cloud. My job was to find out who and why, at 12 cent per word for the right facts in the right order … which is how it all started out, anyway.’
Freelance hack Harry Rigby likes a smoke, the easy life and Robert Ryan playing the bad buy in late night black-and-whites. Sweet. But when the wife of a prominent politician is murdered in her best nightdress, Rigby finds himself caught in a crossfire between rogue paramilitaries, an internal Garda inquiry and the heaviest blizzard of coke ever to hit Ireland’s northwest. If all that wasn’t bad enough, his relationship with Denise is on the rocks. And then there’s Gonzo, Rigby’s brother, back on the streets and meaner than a jilted shark …