Books To Die For is a terrific new collection of essays on crime fiction edited by Declan Burke and John Connolly. It features some of the greatest names in contemporary crime and mystery writing who were asked to pick one of their favourite crime novels and write an essay about it. Burke and Connolly have really got the cream of crop here: Dennis Lehane, Jo Nesbo, Michael Connolly, James Ellroy etc. etc. who have all turned in really quite lovely pieces about a particular book which was significant to them in their development as a writer. What's great about this collection is the diversity of voices represented and the comprehensive list of titles (some of which, frankly, I had never heard of but which are now definitely on my TBR pile).
I contributed to this book in two ways: First, I wrote an essay for the collection on Patricia Highsmith's debut noir, Strangers On A Train, and second and more importantly I was there at the birth of this concept in a post pub kebab shop in a rainy South Belfast last August with Dec and Andrew Pepper (the author of the delicious Pyke Bow Street Runner Series). Andrew had written a few entries for 1001 Books To Read Before You Die and Declan said that someone should do one for mystery novels with top novelists doing the essays not just professional critics. In between bites of heart attackingly good kebab both Andrew and I said that that was a great idea and concurred that Declan was the man for the job. Which, obviously, he was. I hear that this John Connolly fellow is a promising up and commer too.
Dec will be launching the book in Belfast in a couple of weeks as well as reading from his own brand new novel, the wonderful Slaughter's Hound. Here's the official announcement thingy:
Thursday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast launch of THE WRATH OF ANGELS, BOOKS TO DIE FOR, and SLAUGHTER’S HOUND by Declan Burke
The Ulster Museum
Botanic Gardens, Belfast
Tickets Available from No Alibis Bookstore—free event!
44 (0) 28 9031 9601
The Ulster Museum, eh? Pretty fancy. I remember the days when Dec and I used to read together at No Alibis and the only people who would show up were a couple of confused Spanish tourists looking for directions and a strange man with a cat on leash muttering about David Icke. Anyhoo, pick up BTDF and Slaughter's Hound and if you're in Belfast on the 30th go see Mr B!