Critically acclaimed crime novelist Anthony Quinn will be launching his historical thriller The Blood Dimmed Tide during a weekend of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Nobel Laureate WB Yeats’ birthday.
The launch takes place in the Yeats Memorial Building in Sligo at 8pm on Friday June 12 as part of packed festival schedule of exhibitions and literary events.
The novel, which is set in Sligo and described by reviewers as ‘an Irish Shadow of the Wind’, features WB Yeats on the trail of a murderer and falling prey to supernatural forces.
The Tyrone based author and journalist is currently keeping stellar literary company after being nominated for one of the most prestigious international crime fiction awards.
The nominations for the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which were announced in May, sees giants of the genre such as Ian Rankin, Lee Child and John Harvey pitted against a clutch of new voices including Quinn, who has been picked for his debut Disappeared.
The book was also selected by the Times, the Daily Mail and Strand Magazine as one of the best books of the year.
On its US publication, it was shortlisted by the book critics of the Washington Post, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and other US newspapers for a Strand Literary Award, and was listed by Kirkus Reviews as one of the top ten thrillers of the year.
By coincidence, The Blood Dimmed Tide is being launched in the same year as Yeats’ 150th birthday anniversary.
Quinn said he was delighted to have The Blood Dimmed Tide compared to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind.
“I’m a big fan of Zafon’s book - it merged the gothic with the mystery, romantic and literary genres in such an entertaining way.
“I wanted to do the same with the life of WB Yeats and Ireland at the outbreak of the War of Independence. Yeats led such a mesmerising life, combining so many talents, mixing the supernatural and the literary with politics and history.
“I hope the book does justice to his life and that era of Irish history.”
He added that it was impossible to do justice to WB Yeats in just one book.
“In my mind’s eye, Yeats is less a physical presence and more a whirlwind of intellectual energy, always seeking answers, always probing the evidence before him, always odd and unpredictable in his behaviour - which makes him the perfect central character for a mystery story, especially one that involves the spiritual world.
“He was very much a sleuth of the supernatural, as well as a literary and political phenomenon.
“Writing the book was a wee bit of a holiday for me, from the darkness of the Celcius Daly books,” Quinn says.
“It might seem bizarre material for a crime novel - the doomed search of a Nobel Laureate poet for evidence of the supernatural - but I’ve been a fan of WB Yeats and his poetry for years, so much so that I was able to recite several of his longer poems in order to woo my wife Clare on the evening we first met.
“The beaches where he composed some of his most famous works are places that I visit frequently. Over the years, I’ve often wondered what went through his mind as he trod the shoreline at Lissadell and Rosses Point. So I didn’t have to travel too far mentally to arrive at the idea of a supernatural mystery thriller with Yeats at its heart, and the silver strands of Sligo as its stage.
“Yeats was very good company in the 14 months it took to research and write The Blood Dimmed Tide. I hope that he will prove equally irresistible to readers!”