I was in Waterstone’s Piccadilly on Tuesday and Barry Forshaw’s Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide caught my eye. I’d been meaning to buy a copy since it came out towards the end of last year. It’s the kind of book I love: short reviews of hundreds of books, accounts of different trends in crime fiction, and biographies of the most important figures in the genre. There are also entries on related films and books. And then there’s the game of looking to see if your favourite writers have been included (what? no Rex Stout? no Fredric Brown?). There’s the pleasure of being reminded of books you’ve enjoyed and of discovering new authors to add to the already tottering reading pile.
Barry is the doyen of crime fiction reviewing and appears to have read absolutely everything by absolutely everyone. All the same, when I turned to the back and riffled through the index, it was with no expectation of finding my own name there. After all, I’m hardly a big hitter. So the thrill was all the greater when I saw that Deep Water, the first of my Katie Flanagan novels, is one of the books that Barry reviews.
It makes it even more of a pleasure to recommend this splendid book, which offers hours of happy browsing and is surely essential reading for the crime fiction aficionado. Great cover, too.