The occasion is a review in the Guardian of Adrian McKinty's novel Fifty Grand. I've always been partial to reviews that establish context, that show the reviewer knows his or her subject, that could interest even a reader unfamiliar with the matter at hand.
I like that the Guardian begins by invoking McKinty's "Dead" trilogy and goes on to find traits common to that superb series and the new book. This tells me that the reviewer, John O'Connell, prepared well, embraced his subject and took his job seriously. A reviewer owes his readers no less.
Seana Graham's Things You May Have Missed blog takes up this subject in a post aptly titled What the Guardian knows that The New York Times doesn't. And Declan Burke's Crime Always Pays is apt to snap its jaws at lazy reviewers' hindquarters when they deserve it.
With newspapers devoting less and less space to books coverage, the coverage that remains had better be good. Because we're watching.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009