MysteryPeople Pick of December: Books to Die For: The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels
edited by John Connolly & Declan Burke
I’ve been raving about Books To Die For since it first came out. John Connolly and Declan Burke contacted over one hundred of the world’s top crime fiction writers and had them write an essay about the book they would most passionately advocate for. The result is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels.
It can be read as a critical history of the genre. The first essay is on Poe’s The Dupin Tales and ends in Mark Gimenez writing about The Perk, which Anne Perry published in 2008. You see the mystery genre grow and branch off into sub genres and where it meshes with literary fiction, such as Smilla’s Sense Of Snow and Clockers. Megan Abbott’s piece on In A Lonely Place speaks volumes about the post World War Two era.
I’ve used Books to Die For as a source for discovering new books. Lee Child’s exhilarating take on the action thriller The Damned And The Destroyed has me hunting that title down. I’ve become a fan of ghetto noir master Doanld Goines after reading Daddy Cool on Ken Bruen’s recommendation. I was happy to see George Pelecanos give Newton Thornburg’s Cutter & Bone it’s due.
The book gives as much insight into the authors writing the essays as it does their subjects. Elmore Leonard discusses the debt he owes to George V. Higgins and The Friends Of Eddie Coyle in helping him find his crime fiction voice. When William Kent Kruger talks about Tony Hillerman’s approach to writing, it mirrors how I feel about Kruger’s own approach.
This is a great gift for any mystery fan. No matter any way it’s read, on what level it’s read, it’s a must read. In itself, it’s become a book worth advocating for.