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First look: Euro Noir pocket guide

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euronoir540Following on from his pocket guide to Nordic Noir, crime fiction chronicler Barry Forshaw has written Euro Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to European Crime Fiction, Film & TV. Inside, you’ll find chapters discussing the development of crime fiction – tipping some great authors – in countries like Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Greece and in Eastern Europe. And yes, there is a chapter on Scandinavia as well.

The chapter on Italy, for instance, brings you not only the big names like Andrea Camilleri, but a whole range of authors past and present such as Sciascia, Carofiglio, Faletti, De Giovanni and Giuttiari. Italian crime fiction’s origins and the Gallo (Yellow) pulp crime tradition are covered, along with a look at how in recent decades the crackdown on the mafia has been grist for the mill for Italian authors.

The German speaking countries – Germany, Austria and Switzerland – are covered in a single chapter, which seems to make sense to an English speaking readership who will be searching for translations. Similarly, France and Belgium sit together. The Netherlands gets its own chapter. Along with coverage of the key authors, each chapter concludes with a summary of some decent films and TV series from each region. Salamander, the recent Flemish production which looked at high-level corruption in Belgium, sits in the French chapter alongside Spiral.

The section on Scandinavia looks excellent – at first glance at least. It throws up several of the lesser-known authors from a scene that has given certain writers rock star status over the last decade. Forshaw crowns Jo Nesbo the king here – who’s to argue?

The appendices include a nice touch. There’s a nod to Petrona – aka Maxine Clarke – one of the UK’s most influential crime fiction bloggers who sadly passed away in December 2012. There’s also a feature in the appendices written by Norwegian Jorn Lier Horst, the recent Glass Key winner who may one day grab Nesbo’s crown.

Selling for £8.99 in paperback, it launches on 29 May. The Kindle version is already on sale at £4.59.

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