BOOKS TO DIE FOR edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke

Books to Die For is a non-fiction catalogue of short essays, all written by mystery and thriller authors, recommending a crime novel that they feel deserves celebrating. There are well over a hundred of these, arranged in chronological order starting at 1841 and ending at 2008.

I really enjoyed reading through these. As well as hearing about an author’s favourite novel (or even one they feel is undeservedly overlooked), it also gives a fascinating insight into the authors themselves. There are some obvious choices, but there’s also several obscure novels listed, which added to the interest and highlights the sheer complexity and breadth of the crime genre. It’s also nice to spot the way certain titles or authors have influenced future generations of writers. As with any kind of book like this, I came away with a vastly depleted bank balance as every few pages I found myself scanning through my favourite booksellers and ordering titles that particularly stood out. The enthusiasm and insight given by the entries really comes across in the reading. Even if you’re knowledgeable about the genre, you’ll enjoy hearing the recommendations. This one comes highly recommended. The editors have done a great job in collecting together a wide scope of titles from a very diverse array of crime authors.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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