Saturday, 3 September 2011

Down These Green Streets - A review

The super-talented writer and all round nice guy, John Connolly was in my local bookshop yesterday so I popped in for a blether. 

This reminded me of a book I reviewed for Crimesquad recently - and here it is ...

Down These Green Streets: Irish crime writing in the 21st Century edited by Declan Burke


A generation of Irish crime writers has emerged onto the international stage in the last decade, among them John Connolly, Tana French, Eoin McNamee, Gene Kerrigan, Arlene Hunt, Alan Glynn, Declan Hughes, Jane Casey and Ken Bruen. Down These Green Streets: Irish crime writing in the 21st Century charts the evolution of the Irish crime novel since the inception of the Irish state through a series of essays, interviews, personal testimonies and short stories, offering the writers’ perspective on Irish crime writing in fiction, non-fiction, film and theatre.


John Connolly was my introduction to Irish crime fiction some ten years ago – my gateway drug if you will, and he offers a fascinating essay detailing among other things, why he chose to set his novels in the US. Adrian McKinty and Brian McGilloway offer views from the north and the impact of the troubles on their desire to write. Declan Hughes talks about  Irish identity and links with America. Ken Bruen in “The Houston Room” has delivered a short story which will be an emotional punch in the gut to devotees of the genre.

There is however, more ...much more.

Throughout this process Declan Burke displays himself to be a very generous fellow indeed. A writer with talent to match anyone in the book, with his only contribution to the collection (introduction aside) he gives John Banville an opportunity to answer his critics who have accused him of literary snobbery. As a follower of his excellent blog,  Crime Always Pays. I know Declan to be an articulate and thoughtful advocate of the genre and I would have enjoyed some of his own thoughts to be included in the book (but then that’s the problem with being the editor).

Down these Green Streets is not a book to gallop through. It’s one to savour and ponder the points raised by some of the keenest minds writing in fiction today. It is in turns discursive, instructive and entertaining and is never less than fascinating. This needs to be in every crime writing fan’s library, regardless of the hue of their preferences. The Scandinavians need to have a good look at their royalty statements; the Irish are here! 

To buy (and you know you wanna) simply go HERE

Amazon also have availability, but they're getting too powerful for my liking. Spread your cash around, people.



  1. I never really thought about Irish crime novels as a specific genre. I know I like them (movies too). I also have a slight obsession with stories about the troubles.

    You've named a few authors there I'm not familiar with, but will likely check out. Thanks.

  2. I picked up Tana's book, "In the Woods" on your recommendation. Excellent. We do have to make a concerted effort to spread the wealth when it comes to our book stores. It's getting more difficult for the Indies to make it, but perhaps the failure of some big stores, whose name shall not be Borders mentioned, will help us return to the times when we popped into a local shop to browse the pages, grab a cup of tea or coffee, maybe even enjoy a local musician or poet. I miss that.

  3. Hey LG - not sure how I missed the fact you'd left a message. I'd blame my advancing years. Tell you what, that book is chock full of great writers.

    Marley - you are so right. You can't beat a well run indie bookshop. Whenever I find one I think I've died and gone to heaven.