Thursday, July 16, 2009

The best crime novelist everyone has heard of

I'm not one to begrudge Martin Levin a bit of hyperbole, but to call Rennie Airth "the best detective fiction novelist you've never heard of" is quite misleading.
If Airth hasn't achieved the numbers of say Ian Rankin or P.D James, it's got more to do with not crossing over to a television series than anything else.
River of Darkness was shortlisted for an Edgar Award, won international crime awards and Airth is extraordinarily well respected among crime fiction booksellers and readers.
Some of the cool kids are onto him in a pretty big way.
Levin is largely correct otherwise. River of Darkness is as good as he says, and the new book, Dead of Winter is close to it.
When River of Darkness appeared in 1999, I was still mucking about in the rare book trade a bit and my slick business partner didn't shut up for weeks about how good the book was. We bought a few signed first editions (very small print run) and it was like knowing who was going to win the World Series in May.
I'd like to think Chris would be in full throat over Levin's odd assertion of Airth being unknown ten years later.


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