I’m not, of course. I’m long way off par with those writers, and many others in the compilation, and all false modesty aside, I’m not entitled to delude myself that I am either.
That said, it’s a massive shot in the arm. Not a shot of confidence, but the far more dangerous speedball-style blend of hope and conviction. Because the story wasn’t written as a conventional crime story, and remains, to me at least, something of an oddity - and right now, I have a novel out on spec that wasn’t written as a conventional crime novel, and is something of an oddity. And not only that, but I’m currently in the early stages of rewriting a novel that wasn’t written as a crime novel, which looks as if it too will become - my best intentions of lashing it into genre straitjacket notwithstanding - something a little off-kilter.
And while it’s a massive leap of faith to believe that the publication of one story will necessarily lead to the publication of a novel, or novels, the inclusion of my story in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 8 offers just enough hope to give me the courage of my convictions.
They do say, of course, that it’s the hope that kills you in the end …
Anyway, I’m off back to the writing. In the meantime, here’s the full rundown on THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 8 - and congrats, by the way, to fellow Irish Brits Gerard Brennan and The Artist Formerly Known as Colin Bateman on their inclusion:
The must-have annual anthology for every crime fiction fan – the year’s top new British short stories selected by leading crime critic Maxim Jakubowski. This great annual covers the full range of mystery fiction, from noir and hardboiled crime to ingenious puzzles and amateur sleuthing. Packed with top names such as: Ian Rankin (including a new Rebus), Alexander McCall Smith, David Hewson, Christopher Brookmyre, Simon Kernick, A.L. Kennedy, Louise Walsh, Kate Atkinson, Colin Bateman, Stuart McBride and Andrew Taylor. The full list of contributors is as follows: Sheila Quigley, Nigel Bird, Jay Stringer, Paul D. Brazill, Adrian Magson, Colin Bateman, Gerard Brennan, Matthew J. Elliott, Andrew Taylor, Lin Anderson, Christopher Brookmyre, Ray Banks, Declan Burke, Liza Cody, Simon Kernick, Stuart MacBride, Allan Guthrie, Ian Rankin (two stories, including a new Rebus), Nick Quantrill, Edward Marston, Nicholas Royle, Zoe Sharp, Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Peter Lovesey, A.L. Kennedy, Roz Southey, Phil Lovesey, David Hewson, Amy Myers, Marilyn Todd, Peter Turnbull, Keith McCarthy, Alexander McCall Smith, Stephen Booth, Denise Mina, Mick Herron, Kate Atkinson and Louise Welsh.