A few weeks ago, we were in the middle of being enthralled by ‘The Departed‘ (Scorcese’s wonderful and violent movie about the intertwinings of the Irish mob and the FBI in Bawhston) when this song jumped off the soundtrack and kicked me right in the arse – turns out the song is by ‘The Drop-Kick Murphys, a somewhat inebriated Irish band from Bawhston as well. The song is ‘I’m Shipping up to Boston’, and it kinda sounded like The Pogues on steroids. Actually, after I purchased ‘The Warriors Code’ (the CD containing ‘Shipping up to Boston), I decided that if the Clash were born in Boston and were totally Irish, this is what they WOULD have sounded like. Well..the Clash with Bagpipes. Drop-Kick Murphys totally kick ass.
In the same vein, if the Pogues wrote detective novels starring their alcoholic lead singer Shane MacGowan, they would read something like the ‘Jack Taylor’ series penned by Irish-noir writer Ken Bruen. My favorite fictional detectives in the current scene are all alcoholics: Jack Taylor, Matt Scudder (from the brain of Lawrence Block) and Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke). Not sure why, but something about the conflict makes for crime novels with brawn and sinew.
Bruen’s voice is unique and his stories aren’t easy. No hugs, tied-up bows or endlessly discussed codes of honor (ahem, the last 10 Spenser novels). They are, however, highly recommended. Start with ‘The Guards‘, and if you’re like me, you won’t stop. James Crumley (maybe the best crime novelist living) says:
“The Guards is an astounding novel, a poetic account of a desperation as deep as the North sea, retribution and resurrection. It�s so good I can�t think of it as a crime novel. Its a fine book with some crime.”