Barry Forshaw has already given us the best guides to the noir literature of Britain, the Nordic countries and (separately) the rest of Europe. American Noir, with its sheer volume of authors – even though it is limited to those still alive – has been his toughest assignment. He has risen to the challenge with flair and intelligence. Forshaw doesn’t just summarise the plots and add a quick opinion. He interprets, analyses and points to aspects of particular interest; he does it all pithily and with humour.

American Noir by Barry Forshaw.

Pocket Essentials, 191pp; £9.99

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