My new book, Preserve the Dead. It’s the third Lucy Black book.
What’s the hook?
Lucy pulls a dead body from the River Foyle. What initially looks a suicide takes a different turn when they discover the body was already embalmed.
And why’s that floating your boat?
The book was finished 20 months ago but we had a lot of problems settling on a name for it which held up publication. It’s strange that, in pushing a new book, you generally end up talking about something which is at least 12 months old and you’ve moved on to a whole new story and set of characters since.
When did you turn to crime?
In 2007 as a writer, in 1997 as a reader. Just after I finished my degree a crime bookshop in Belfast opened called NO Alibis. I called in one day and picked up a few books - some Colin Dexters and Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue. I was back two days later, joined the loyalty scheme and never looked back. The owner, Dave Torrans, loves crime writing and knows it inside out. He’s also a pusher - with every couple of purchases he’d slip a freebie into the bag and say, ‘I think you’ll like this.’ He got me hooked onto James Lee Burke with a copy of the Neon Rain. I’d be very happy to think he’s been handing out the odd freebie of mine to some unsuspecting customer too.
Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
Contemporary. I love books that reveal something about the state of the society which produced them - state of the nation crime. I think it’s something the crime novel is particularly suited to as it can cover all levels of society, peers behind the facade, and deals with the extremes of human behaviour.
And, what’s blown you away lately?
I chaired the Irish Noir panel at Harrogate and they sent me a batch of books to read, which was easy as I’d already read most of them. there’s so much good stuff coming out of NI at the moment. Stuart Neville’s new one, Those We left Behind, is as brilliant and thought-provoking as you’d expect from Stuart. I’m just staring on Claire McGowan’s new one, The Silent Dead. Claire's a wonderful writer and one of very, very few women writers tackling Northern Ireland at the moment but I suspect that will change.
The Devlin books have been in development for 8 years now, so I’d love to see that happening soon! I loved Declan Hughe’s books and always thought they’d make cracking TV. And I think Tommy Lee Jones made a good Robicheaux, but we haven’t had a great movie of any of James Lee Burkes books yet.
Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
I’m happy to read anything that grabs me. I tend to the paper rather than digital, to be honest. And I still buy hardback of any writer whose books I know I’ll want to keep.
Shout us a website worth visiting …
www.brianmcgilloway.com has just been updated and made all shiny and new, so do feel free to drop by.
Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
I supplemented my student years by, among other things, playing a shopping centre Santa when I was 19. On the first day, I was driven up to the shopping centre on top of a fire engine. Some of the local kids ran alongside us the whole way up the road shouting, “Oi! Santa, you fat bastard!”
:: Buy Brian McGilloway's PRESERVE THE DEAD at Amazon UK