“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best Things In Life Are Free … BOOKS (TO DIE FOR)

’Tis the season to be jolly, and give presents, and even if I do tend to struggle with the ‘jolly’ bit on occasion, the BOOKS TO DIE FOR (Hodder & Stoughton) team will hopefully make up for that today. For lo! I have a (multiple) signed first edition of BOOKS TO DIE FOR to give away, which will warm the metaphorical cockles of any crime fiction fan’s heart. First, the blurb elves:
With so many mystery novels to choose from and so many new titles appearing each year, where should the reader start? What are the classics of the genre? Which are the hidden gems? In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to champion the greatest mystery novels ever written. In a series of personal essays that often reveal as much about themselves and their work work as they do about the books that they love, more than 120 authors from twenty countries have created a guide that will be indispensable for generations of readers and writers. From Christie to Child and Poe to PD James, from Sherlock Holmes to Hannibal Lecter and Philip Marlowe to Peter Wimsey, BOOKS TO DIE FOR brings together the cream of the mystery world for a feast of reading pleasure, a treasure trove for those new to the genre and those who believe that there is nothing new left to discover. This is the one essential book for every reader who has ever finished a mystery novel and thought . . . I want more!
  So there you have it. To be in with a chance of winning this unique prize, just answer the following question:
What one crime / mystery novel do you think every crime / mystery fan should read?
  Answers via the comment box below, please, leaving a contact email address (using ‘at’ rather than @ to confuse the spam munchkins), by noon on December 31st. Oh, and if you fancy a second bite at the proverbial cherry, we’re also giving away a signed BTDF over here. Et bon chance, mes amis

28 comments:

Marleen said...

Every single person should read The Poet my Michael Connelly. It is probably the best thriller/mystery I've ever read. (meentje63atgmail.com)

Joe Dunne said...

My book to die for is The Black Angel" by John Connolly. It's the perfect blend of horror, thriller and supernatural detective genre fiction (joedotdunneatgmail.com)

JJ Toner said...

The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan. Everyone should read this book. I thought it was a wonderful novel, perfect in every way.

danielboshea said...

Lots of great stuff from back in the day that people haven't read. Ross Thomas was one of the first crime writers I read and hooked me on the genre. How about his last, Ah! Treachery!

Slack Bladder said...

I'm gonna go for True Confessions by John Gregory Dunne. It's got everything: LA in the '40s, corrupt developers, abuse of powers and position by the Catholic Church, two brothers at odds with each, and all centred around a Black Dahlia-like murder investigation. It's also imbued with a sense of melancholy that's rarely found these days. And the film ain't bad either.

Rick Ollerman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Ollerman said...

Peter Rabe's "The Box." No one wrote like Rabe and his understated style, dense with subtext, takes you deeply into this story of a man found in a crate in the cargo hold of a ship. After his rescue, he has nothing but he immediately sets out to take over the black market of the port city in which he was found. Fascinating stuff.
rick at ollerman dot com

Amanda Phelps said...

Black Flowers by Steve Mosby - wow - so good I read it twice! amanda1331atbtinternet.com

Ray Garraty said...

I'd choose The Hunter by Richard Stark. Best revenge novel I've read in years.

garraty87 at gmail.com

Midnighter said...

I'd recommend anything, absolutely anything, by John Connolly. He's an absolute master of the genre.

Thomas Pluck said...

8 Million Ways to Die, by Lawrence Block. tpluck at gmail.com

mikelaneonline.com said...

So...where should I start? I mean, this book is obviously #1 since you don't know where you should start without it. That's on odd question isn't it? Where do you start? Well, you start with Books to Die For...duh.
mlane.30 AT gmail.com

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...

A COOL BREEZE ON THE UNDERGROUND by Don Winslow. A wonderful book that is a fantastic reading experience even though it was published many years ago.

noatak810ATgmail.com

Christina Aiton said...

I know this will sound a bit strange but if you want to go back to the beginnings of the genre, read Charles Dickens' Bleak House - he introduced multiple narrators,a detective, a greedy and suspicious lawyer, and of course, a beautiful woman with a secret. And not to mention, several suspicious deaths.

Joe Griffin said...

I'd say The Black Dahlia by James Elroy, not only because it's a (typically) complex, evocative, thrilling and morally murky crime novel from one of the masters, but also because the film is so awful you're forced to take the long route - reading instead of watching!

Meljprincess said...

Happy Holidays, John! First let me say you have a great sense of humor and I always look forward to your newsletter.
Second, everyone should read anything by Diane Mott Davidson or Shirley Rousseau Murphy.
Third, my mom and I would enjoy BTDF. I'd read it and send to her. She's 80. We both love mysteries. Especially stories wrriten by authors across the pond. :-)

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Bernard O'Rourke said...

It's not strictly a crime novel, but Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell is a cracking mystery with plenty of noir-ish touches. It may seem like it is meant to be more of a introspective character study than a crime novel but its clear that it owes a lot to the genre while managing to take the tropes in an unexpected direction.

michael said...

I was having a problem as every time I select one I would think of several others. Then I realized how big a genre mystery/crime is.

But to find the others, where does one start? I'd recommend Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest" to start and add a long list of authors to sample after.

GeekGirl said...

Scoop by the crime writers club.
brain.wathan at ntlworld.com

Benjie said...

I always keep going back to Blood Marks by Bill Crider. Somehow this mild mannered professor has gotten into the mind of the maniacal murderer.

D.A. Trappert said...

It's an impossible question. For the sheer beauty of his writing style, let's go with Chandler and The Big Sleep since it has a closing passage that is right up there with The Great Gatsby.

col2910 said...

Payback - Mike Nicol

Janet O'Kane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet O'Kane said...

It's cheating, I know (although I see they're now available as a single volume) but I'd like everyone to read Andrew Taylor's Roth Trilogy: The Four Last Things, The Judgement of Strangers, and The Office of the Dead. Each works on its own but read together they're unforgettable and really chilling. Forget the inadequate TV adaptation, try the real thing.

Brandi Byrd said...

Tana French's In the Woods. I recommend this to everyone! ^.^

wildebyrdATgmail.com

nooders said...

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly - the first in his Carlie "Bird" Parker series - what an amazing read that was/is

Richard L. Pangburn said...

Yes, EVERY DEAD THING by John Connolly. To really get the nuances, though, you need to have read a wealth of earlier crime fiction, especially Ed McBain. But it still is a great novel on its own.

As much as I would like an autographed copy, I guess I'll be content with my treasured unautographed copy and pass on the prize, perhaps giving someone else a chance at this.