Irish American Writers & Artists

October 15, 2013

‘The Biggest Part of Writing Is Showing Up’ A Conversation with Peter Quinn

Filed under: Literature — by johnleemedia @ 11:39 pm
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Intro to an interview with one of our IAW&A founders and past president Peter Quinn

Peter Quinn’s newest novel is Dry Bones, the third book in a trilogy that also includes Hour of the Catand The Man Who Never Returned. His previous works include the novel Banished Children of Eve, which won a 1994 American Book Award and is now entering its twentieth year in print, and Looking for Jimmy: In Search of Irish America, a collection of nonfiction essays. Quinn, a historian and a former political and corporate speechwriter, has published numerous articles and reviews in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times,America, and Commonweal. He recently spoke with Commonweal’s digital editor, Dominic Preziosi.Dominic Preziosi: Your new novel, Dry Bones, completes the trilogy that began with Hour of the Cat. Did you start out with the intention of writing a series?

Peter Quinn: No. I had written Banished Children of Eve, and it took ten years, so I wanted to write a quick book. And because I love Raymond Chandler, I wanted to write a noir detective novel. So then I had an idea that instead of stumbling on a single murder, what if a detective stumbled on the biggest murder plot in history—eugenics and the Holocaust. So my quick book turned into an eight-year book, because of all the research. But I then found that I wasn’t finished with this detective and I had another idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the Judge Crater case, and my publisher said, “We’ll put your detective Fintan Dunne on the case and we’ll do a trilogy.” But I didn’t want to be locked into a time schedule—I wanted to be able to skip around. So Hour of the Cat is set in 1938, The Man Who Never Returned is set in 1955 but goes back to a case from 1930, and the third book is in postwar Slovakia in 1945 and then jumps to Havana in 1958.

To read the whole interview, please go to https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/%E2%80%98-biggest-part-writing-showing-up%E2%80%99

 

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October 10, 2013

Gabriel Byrne, Colum McCann, William Kennedy Join in Advance Praise for Peter Quinn’s “Dry Bones”

Past president of the IAW&A Peter Quinn has penned (and he still writes by pen) the finale of his Fintan Dunne trilogy, due on the bookshelves on November 1.   Here are some early reactions and reviews of Dry Bones…

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“Peter Quinn is a poet and an historian and one of our finest storytellers. He sits at the fireside of the American imagination. He can carve mystery out of mystery. The work is generous and agile and profound.” – Colum McCann

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Kirkus Reviews

DRY BONES [STARRED REVIEW!]

Author: Peter Quinn

Publisher:Overlook

Pages: 352

Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95

Publication Date: October 31, 2013

ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4683-0736-8

Quinn’s final installment in a spy trilogy that began with Hour of the Cat (2005) and The Man Who Never Returned (2010) sends New York PI Fintan Dunne on a secret wartime mission to Slovakia to rescue OSS officers from the last gasps of Nazi aggression.

Dunne and his deceptively tough partner, the poetry-spouting banker’s son Dick Van Hull, barely escape Slovakia, where nothing is as it was described. A slippery chain of events exposes them to Dr. Karsten Heinz, a war criminal whose grave offenses include supervising gruesome experiments on concentration camp victims. Not only does Heinz avoid conviction, he appears to be among the many Nazi scientists and technicians being imported by the U.S. government to aid in the fight against communism. That men who were employed by Hitler to help kill millions would be awarded new careers in America is, says an outraged OSS officer, “the greatest danger we face…becoming the enemy we oppose.”

Jump to 1958. Working for a high-profile Manhattan security firm (complete with a smart and beautiful office assistant), Dunne comes across coded instructions to meet an OSS crony who has crucial information about Heinz’s whereabouts. More old friends and foes emerge from the shadows, while Van Hull, now a drunken shadow of his old self, remains hidden with a secret of his own.

Quinn writes with elegant restraint; he’s a master of tone and a deft orchestrator of people and events. His portrayal of Wild Bill Donovan, controversial head of the OSS, is but one of his sure-handed transformations of reality to fiction.

Gripping up to the end, the book—which takes its title from the old spiritual about everything being connected—will send readers who were new to Quinn back to his other books in the series.

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Dry Bones is a savvy, suspenseful tale of World War II espionage and Cold War skullduggery in which Fintan Dunne cements his place in the PI pantheon alongside Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. Dunne can be misled and mishandled, but he can’t be deterred. Every bit as unpredictable as Quinn’s first two installments, this riveting conclusion to the trilogy leaves no doubt that Dunne is an ace of Spades who knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.” – William Kennedy

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BOOKLIST

Issue: October 15, 2013

Dry Bones.

Quinn, Peter (Author)

Nov 2013. 352 p. Overlook/Duckworth, hardcover, $25.95. (9781468307368).

WWII is nearing its end in Europe, but General “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the Office of StrategicServices, picks Fintan Dunne and Dick Van Hull to parachute into occupied Czechoslovakia to extract OSS officers dropped there to organize the Czech resistance. Immediately, Dunne and Van Hull are on the run, from Nazis, Czech Fascists, Russian troops, and hordes of refugees. They barely get out alive, but they discover an appalling secret that could cost them their lives.

Quinn’s plots defy easy summary, but his characters fascinate, and his sense of place and time is compelling. Dunne has seen too much war and salutes lost comrades with altar-boy Latin prayers. Van Hull’s recitations of poetry provide apt punctuation for everything the men experience.

Quinn’s Czechoslovakia is a maelstrom; his evocation of ruined German cities almost palpable. Donovan’s skill at navigating Washington’s internecine wars, his abrupt jettisoning at war’s end, and the dismissal of war-crimes charges for hundreds of culpable Nazis deemed useful in the coming Cold War are vividly drawn. Readers who want to really taste history will welcome

Dry Bones. – Thomas Gaughan

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“From first sentence to last, Peter Quinn keeps the reader gripped. I love the simplicity of the writing: it is both subtle and intelligent. Peter Quinn is such a marvelous storyteller that sometimes it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. But you know you are in a world that is singular and compelling. Fintan Dunne is a splendid creation, a character you will remember long after you have finished this superb novel.” – Gabriel Byrne

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