Colfer’s story “Taking on PJ” led off Akashic Books' Dublin Noir collection, and a fine job it did. I looked for more by this Colfer guy and was disappointed to find that his previous writing was YA – for young adults. Then I started reading the books. The Artemis Fowl series and Half Moon Investigations are full of intelligent nonsense and, unlike comparable series by other authors into which I looked briefly, they don’t ever appear to be talking down to their young readers.
So I was pleased to learn some months ago that Colfer had written an adult crime novel and even more pleased last month to learn that he will be part of my “CRANKY STREETS: WHAT'S SO FUNNY ABOUT MURDER?” panel on Saturday, Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m.-12:30, at Bouchercon 2011, along with Colin Cotterill, Chris Ewan, and Thomas Kaufman.
That novel, Plugged, has already answered a question I hope to raise during the panel and one that hovers over all comic crime fiction: how to balance the crime and the comedy without trivializing the first or overwhelming the second. He does it by giving protagonist Daniel McEvoy, a soldier-turned-bar doorman; funny, rueful lines that McEvoy doesn't know are funny. And a scary wartime past. And an amusing vulnerability. (He's self-conscious about his hair transplant.)
But the YA writer in Colfer sneaks through every couple of chapters, in bits of delightful adolescent silliness, of which this is my favorite so far:
"‘Kronski, you asshole,’ she calls out, in a voice ravaged by thousands of cigarettes. ‘Your tablets gave me the shits. Twenty-six fifty for the shits? Open the door, dammit. I can see you moving.’"So far, fun.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011