Friday, 9 March 2018

Three Crime Writers and Hopefully More Than One Microphone

Luca Veste, his Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast partner, Steve Cavanagh, and I (yeeeooo!) will be chatting about books and stuff in less than a week. In real life and in the same bookshop.

We'd love to see No Alibis packed to the gills next Thursday. This is a special book for Luca. New characters, a different side of Liverpool, a blurring of the genre lines that pays off with twisted beauty. I loved it and it's an honour to participate in the Belfast launch.

Steve and Luca are a riot on their podcast, and with Steve fresh off the American tour circuit for his cracking new novel TH1RT3EN, you'd be mad to miss this. I'm going to have to try really hard to actually participate in the event rather than just sit back and enjoy a great night of craic from both.

More details, you say?

Fill your boots:

Luca Veste at No Alibis Bookstore
Thursday 15th March 2018 at 6:30PM
Tickets: FREE

No Alibis Bookstore are pleased to invite you to celebrate the launch of THE BONE KEEPER, the latest novel from Luca Veste, on Thursday 15th March at 6:30PM. Luca will be joined by local authors Steve Cavanagh and Gerard Brennan. Tickets for this event are free, and can be booked through EventBrite.


What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He'll slice your flesh.
Your bones he'll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

DISORDER Appreciation

DISORDER is the book that just keeps on giving. And everybody's been lovely about it. The release of this Irish News article started off the official release date (March 18). Check it out, if you haven't already. Following that, The Mourne Observer ran a piece, and I hope that'll generate even more local interest in my work. And we've had our first couple of Amazon reviews too (thanks to Mr Maltman and the Village Reader).  The more the merrier, though. If you're feeling suitable moved, I'd love to read more thoughts on the book. My ego loves a wee boost every now and again, you know?

I'm also digging this snazzy press release (click to enlarge):

I uploaded a couple of videos from the pre-Christmas soft launch of the book to YouTube. You'll find both below. The sound isn't great, and the camera has been held sideways to make me look taller, but you'll get an honest taste of what this book means to me, and a wee bit of a reading without any offensive swearing. Apart from when I say "ballbag," but that's not really a curse-curse, is it?



I forgot to include a link to my Novel Ideas interview on NVTV. D'oh! Here it is.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Disorder on Kindle (et al)

Oi! You know that book I wrote? No, not that one. DISORDER.

Aye, well you can get it on your Kindle now. And on other e-readers, I believe. I haven't checked because I don't have those kind of e-readers. But sure, have a hoke about the site if you're into Apple Books or whatever.

Here's a wee blurb for it, in case you need convincing:

"Tommy Bridge is on a mission. A Yoga mat, his Buddhist teaching and a Glock, his main weapons of choice. Tommy has had a tough time as a Cop. Now he has a clear and definite purpose. Deal with a local crime Kingpin and he may just achieve some sense of redemption.

Patricia, “Dev”, Devenney, Tommy’s partner. Made from more traditional stock. All Dev wants is for Tommy to be at peace with himself…hopefully keeping him alive along the way.

Clark Wallace, the Kingpin. Clark has values, traditions, honour- unfortunately, none of them are really traits that normal folk would adhere to. Clark is like a bad nightmare in technicolour and this movie is about to go into 3D.

Jimmy McAuley. The student. Failing at University. Soaring with the Weed. Quite simply, Jimmy is in the wrong place at the wrong time - stoned and about to learn a harsh life lesson. Hopefully he can pass this exam.

Grace Dornan. The reporter. Grace knows what her Prize should be. The only problem for Grace is that she may let the “truth” behind this grand saga be the last thing she seeks."

Sounds like a cracker, so it does. Grab a copy and see what you think, ye rocket ye.


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Disorder Launch

If you can make it, you should. It's going to be mega.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Three Weeks!

So, it's only three weeks to go until NOIRELAND kicks off. Holy smokes! It's flying in.

You'd think that they'd have run out of major announcements at this stage, but you'd be wrong. Just last week they revealed that Aidan Gillen would be interviewed by none other than the New York Times best-selling author, Brian McGilloway.



This is going to happen on Saturday 28th at 19:30, by the way. From the NOIRELAND website:

"PLAYING IN THE DARK: Aidan Gillen talks Crime with Brian McGilloway*

Internationally renowned actor Aidan Gillen will be discussing the influence of crime fiction on his life and career, from the books and television shows Gillen enjoyed growing up to the award winning roles he has become renowned for. Aidan Gillen has earned an international reputation as one of Ireland’s finest actors. Gillen has starred in some of the most iconic and influential crime dramas produced in recent years, including the multi-award winning The Wire and RTÉ’s Love/Hate. He will be appearing in the new series of the BBC's Peaky Blinders, which starts this autumn.

*Subject to schedule"

I wonder what they'll announce next?

Oh, and don't forget that I'll be hosting a workshop on the Friday morning before the festivities kick off. Look!

So, like, if you can't make it to the Aidan Gillen thing, my hair's nearly the same colour, and my mother says I'm really handsome too. So you're sorted either way, really.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Workshop Workshop Workshop

Well now. That aul' saying about waiting for a bus all day and two come along at once seems to apply here.

Tonight I start my eight-week crime fiction course at The Duncairn in Belfast. Really looking forward to getting stuck in. I always find that teaching makes me more energetic when it comes to my own writing, and the book I've been trying to finish for the last few weeks could do with a wee boost.

But here, there's more (hence the two busses thing). You know that Noireland thing I was telling you about in the last post? That crime fiction convention you've been hearing loads about on Facebook and Twitter and all? Well, they've recently announce an addition to the programme. A day full of writing workshops! And I'm part of that. Here's what it says on the Noireland website:

Friday 27th October, 10:00-13:00  


Gerard Brennan will begin the day by introducing you to some of the fundamentals of writing a crime novel. From plotting, writing a crime character and then on to creating a three act structure for your novel.

Gerard Brennan recently earned his PhD in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast. His publishing credits include Undercover (2014), Wee Rockets (2012) and The Point (2011); winner of the Spinetingler Award for Best Novella in 2012.

Snazzy, right?

And the super-talented Claire McGowan is taking the afternoon shift:



Now that you've gotten to grips with the basics, Claire McGowan will talk in more detail about character, viewpoint and dialogue. She’ll address how you create suspense in your novel and what to think about when writing a crime series.

Alongside a successful career as a novelist Claire McGowan runs an MA in creative writing at London’s City University. She regularly gives workshops and talks at festivals and has taught in the Guardian Masterclass series.

How cool is that? Go register for it. Now.

Friday, 1 September 2017


There's a new crime fiction festival on the circuit. And it's in Belfast! Yeeeooo!

NOIRELAND is brought to you by David Torrans of No Alibis Books, and considering his standing in the crime fiction community, here and internationally, that's so fitting.

I could talk it up here, but you don't need me to. All you need is this link to their snazzy website and you'll get all the information you need. Maybe sign up for their newsletter as well to make sure you don't miss any updates. I did, and I got a sneak-peek at the events programme. Some major names in there!

And you can follow the Twitter handle here.

I'll be there, soaking it all in. It's going to be class.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

There's Only One Conor McGregor

Mayweather beat McGregor. Fact.

More facts: McGregor lasted longer than most educated boxing fans thought he would. He landed more shots than any other Mayweather opponent except for Canelo Alvarez ("But that's because Floyd changed his style..." SHUT UP! He changed his style because he had to.). And millions of self-proclaimed boxing fans won't bother watching Canelo Vs Triple G. Criminal.

And an opinion: McGregor brought more attention to boxing than anybody else who faced Mayweather in recent years. I'm not talking about the real boxing fans who know loads of facts and figures (yawn) about the sweet science. I'm not even talking about the fair (May)weather fans or the new McGregor UFC disciples. It's the people who were drawn into Mystic Mac's spell after a lifetime of not knowing a jab from a cross. Who did that? The one and only Conor McGregor.

Right, that last sentence, and the title of this post are both a bit misleading. As the Facebook group, Spide Pride, pointed out before the fight, his son is called Conor as well. But let's leave cute Conor Og (or Junior) alone for the sake of decency. If you want to be shitty, you can find a comments section somewhere else that'll welcome you with open arms.

Spide Pride were gently taking the piss out of Mick Konstantin's excellent song of the same name when they posted:

there's only one Conor McGregor🎶
Is BALLIX......sure his kids called Conor also?

That's cool. And the singer probably didn't even notice. He was busy. McGregor invited Konstantin to Vegas off the back of that, and in the candid videos that followed, I couldn't help but smile at the idea that Konstantin was a bard of sorts, leading an army of ne'er-do-wells in green football shirts through Vegas. Now, in reality, a lot of that army was probably felled by alcohol poisoning, sunburn, and beaten dockets by the time Mayweather stopped McGregor in the tenth round. BUT I doubt Konstantin and the pasty troops will think about their heat rashes and other unfortunate self-inflicted health issues when they tell their part of the story in years to come. They'll talk about taking over as one rather than taking part as individuals.

The lyrics of Konstantin's song include a reference to McGregor knocking out Mayweather. That didn't happen in this reality. But that still doesn't mean it was impossible.

I've read and heard plenty of arguments against that last statement. And I saw Mayweather school McGregor in boxing live; with bleary eyes; fuelled by black Irish coffees, and a promise to my kids that I'd wake them before dawn and heat up pizza for breakfast.

But I still believe McGregor could have knocked out Mayweather. He could have. Anything's possible.

In another version of this world, Conor said, 'Feck da money!' and wheel-kicked Floyd. Just for the craic. In yet another reality, Floyd agreed to step into a cage instead of the square circle. There's even a scenario in the infinite universes in which the fight won't happen until 2018, and people will still argue that Floyd isn't too old to outbox an MMA fighter. And they might be right in that timeline. Or wrong.

But that's not how it panned out here in this reality on the 26th of August 2017. The 27th, even, where I was sitting.

And yet, a short YouTube video in which my family paid homage to Mick Konstantin's song, is approaching 7,000 views at the time of writing this post. After the fight. The loss. The lack of knockout on Conor's part.* That's double the views from the week before, when McGregor's win was still a possibility.

There are also surprisingly few shitty comments on the video as well, considering it lives in YouTube, the spiritual home of the lowly shit-poster. Now, I'll admit, I deleted a couple of the first negative comments because I felt a responsibility towards my children and their feelings. I forgot for a minute that they're tough, and confident, and (unlike me) they don't read the comments. So now I just let them hang there. Trolls and keyboard warriors will do what trolls and keyboard warriors do. My eldest already knows that, and she's been stung a lot worse by sham friends than shit-posting strangers. Her brothers don't give a fuck about anything. The three of them will be fine.

So I'm relaxing on that hair-trigger of parental guilt and Irish temper. The safety is on.

And I welcome you to sample a wee bit of craic with the Brennans:

#DownWithTheMayweathers #CarefulNow #AndStillTeamMcGregor

*Technically, Mayweather didn't knock McGregor out either, but I'm glad the ref stopped it. That ref gifted McGregor a longer career. Love him or hate him, you know you want to see what McGregor does next.


Just me, is it?

Aye. Dead on.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Don't Forget What Got You To The Dance

Writing got me to the dance. I need to be a respectful partner, and apologise for stepping on one or two toes as and when I stumble.

That's a clumsy metaphor, by the way. I'm not doing a whole lot of literal dancing right now.

It's the middle of the summer holidays. I have a knee injury that's keeping me away from the gym, but I can bend my leg enough now to fit it under my desk for more than ten minutes at a time. The kids are at summer schemes, so I'm getting a few hours a day of undisturbed laptop time. Mostly I'm catching up on admin-type things ahead of a burst of academic writing, exploring funding opportunities, and trying to finish writing a second Shannon McNulty novel. You'll meet her at some point in the future. My agent, Svetlana Pironko, is doing all she can for her. Watch this space for publishing news.

While I'm used to multi-tasking (or taking a scatter gun approach to my workday), every so often I have to remind myself that the most important thing is the actual writing, both creative and critical. And while blogging is less popular (or maybe less necessary) among writers these days, I'd still like to keep Crime Scene NI alive and jiving in some shape or form. After all, it was instrumental in putting my work on the Norn Iron Noir map when I started it back in... March 2008!?

I'd published some short stories back then, and had no idea where writing would take me. A little over nine years later, I've built an impressive writing CV, and I had a period of three years in which I didn't have to show up to the 'dayjob' at all. Currently, again thanks to writing, I only have to show up three times a week at the most. And I have a PhD. In English (made up of creative and critical crime fiction components). I also hold an MA in Creative Writing. Like, I literally have two degrees from Queen's University Belfast to rub together. I didn't even have one at the start of this nine-year twist.

So, basically, I'm a writer, I introduce myself as such now, and I've learned enough about the business of writing to know that there's a lot to be said for the security of a steady job. Hopefully I'll land a better part-time job that's more directly related to writing than the current one. That's more of a reality now than ever since I now have teaching experience. Because if I'm not writing, reading, or talking about writing and/or reading (i.e. teaching), I'm not really working. I'm passing time, waiting for the band to tune up.

Oh, look. Here's something worth stretching for:

Northern Ireland: Writing Crime Fiction with Gerard Brennan

This blog has been a patient and loyal dance partner from the start, and to honour it, I'm naming my eight-week, Belfast-based crime fiction course, Crime Scene NI (AKA CSNI). And it starts on Thursday 28th of September. If and when I start a writing podcast, I'll use the blog's name there too.

I want you to click that link above, so that's all the information you're getting for now. The course content is currently being planned out (I like to get started early), but at a tenner per two-hour workshop, I give you my solemn oath that you'll get your money's worth. And I'm friendlier than most of my author pics would suggest.

NB, I read comments, here and on social media, so if you have any questions about the course, go ahead and ask them now so I can start humming a tune and working out the steps.