Synopses & Reviews
The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the countrys finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volumes series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 includes
Lawrence Block, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman,
Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, Ed Gorman, Richard Lange, S. J. Rozan,
Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, and others
"The excellent 15th edition of this 'best of' series, edited by mystery maven Otto Penzler, contains 20 winning short stories, many by relative unknowns. Among the standouts are Brendan Dubois's 'Ride-Along,' in which a veteran cop and a freelance reporter get involved in a robbery, and Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin's 'What His Hands Had Been Waiting For,' in which the struggle for survival in the Mississippi Delta during the terrible 1927 flood takes a strange turn. In Ed Gorman's memorable 'Flying Solo,' two old men dying of cancer make the most of their last days. As in previous volumes, it's hard to find lighter fare, but S.J. Rozan's clever 'Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case' is a beautifully crafted and satisfying tale of amateur detection. Other contributors include such pros as Lawrence Block, Loren D. Estleman, and Mickey Spillane and Max Collins." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Series editor Penzlers preference for trolling literary journals instead of relying on the usual mystery magazines and anthologies pays big dividends.
Not a single one of the 20 reprints here is a dud. Standouts among the stories produced by mystery veterans are James Lee Burkes parable of a prison-camp inmate who refuses to box ("Big Midnight Special"); Chuck Hogans account of the hamburger that will be a condemned convicts last meal ("Two Thousand Volrs"); and Kristine Kathrine Ruschs historical fantasy of a killer whose methodical execution of FBI agents reaches all the way to the top ("G-Men"). But theres excellent, if more formulaic work by Clark Howard, Rob Kantner, Robert McClure and Michael Connelly. "Free Radicals," Alice Munros unexpected riff on a classic Agatha Christie story, tops the literary side, which provides a good deal more variety: Tom Bissells portrait of a modern superhero ("My Interview with the Avenger"); Ron Carlsons tale of a Guatemalan baseball phenom whose fate is fatally linked to his scouts ("Beanball"); M.M.M. Hayess depiction of a crusty old gentlemans unusual strategies for coping with change and death ("Meantime, Quentin Ghlee"); Randy Rohns droll, creepy account of "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Stump of a Tree"; Jonathan Tels story about a trucker whose life is upended by an accusation of rape and murder ("Bola de la Fortuna"); and series favorite Joyce Carol Oates "Dear Husband," the feverish confession of a dying family-killer. N.J. Ayres, Alafair Burke, David Corbett, Nic Pizzolatto, Gary Craig Powell and Vu Tran round out the diverse list.
A choice mix of solid work from mystery specialists and one-shots from authors whod never want to be identified with the genre.
"This collection is sure to please mystery fans as well as those who enjoy short stories"--Library Journal
"The 20 short stories in the 14th edition of this “best of” series offer a wider variety than some of its predecessors...While this volume contains relatively few household names, the quality certainly doesnt suffer as a result."--Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
"Penzlers foreword...in favor of an eclectic mix of tales that exhibit crime in all its varieties in every corner of the world—and then some."--Kirkus Reviews
The excellent 15th edition of this "best of" series, edited by myster maven Otto Penzler, contains 20 winning short stories, many by relative unknowns. Among the standouts are Brendan DuBoiss "Ride-Along," in which a veteran cop and a freelance reporter get involved in a robbery, and Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklins "What His Hands Had Been Waiting For," in which the struggle for survival in the Mississippi Delta during the terrible 1927 flood takes a strange turn. In Ed Gormans memorable "Flying Solo," two old men dying of cancer make the most of their last days. As in previous volumes, its hard to find lighter fare, but S.J. Rozans clever "Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case" is a beautifully crafted and satisfying tale of amateur detection. Other contributors include such pros as Lawrence Block, Loren D. Estleman, and Mickey Spillane and Max Collins. --STARRED Publishers Weekly "Ranging from homespun to lush and tropical, this years crop of 20 stories offers a variety of tastes and textures. But exotic doesnt always mean compelling. Charles McCarrys "The End of the String," set in Africa, lumbers like an elephant toward a conclusion as momentous as a mouse. "Diamond Alley," Dennis McFaddens quiet tale of small-town teens confronting the murder of a popular classmate, packs a far greater punch. Family stories are equally powerful. In Christopher Merkners chilling "Last Cottage," a young couple tries to outlast a neighbor determined to oust them from their waterfront home. Across cultures, mothers protect. In Richard Langes "Baby Killer," Blanca struggles with an acting-out granddaughter. And although embarrassed by her profession, a Chinese mother helps her detective daughter in S.J. Rozans "Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case." An absentee fathers return challenges a wife whos moved on in Joe R. Lansdales "The Stars Are Falling." But Chris F. Holm shows in "The Hitter" that sometimes the greatest threat is to the dads themselves. Families dont always grow through birth or marriage, as Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin reveal in "What His Hands Had Been Waiting For." And of course, some families are just plain toxic, as Lawrence Blocks "Clean Slate" and Loren D. Estlemans "Sometimes a Hyena" aptly demonstrate. But nasty behavior isnt just a family affair. Eric Barnes shows teenagers wreaking havoc for no particular reason in his slow-moving "Something Pretty, Something Beautiful." And in "A Long Time Dead," Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins show that evil can turn up where its least expected. It has its highs and lows, but the best of Cobens Best is really first-rate." —Kirkus
STARRED The Best American Mystery Stories 2009
Edited by Jeffery Deaver. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner, $14 paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-547-23750-3
Like previous anthologies in this Ã¢â‚¬Å“best ofÃ¢â‚¬â? series, the impressive 13th volume favors crime stories over whodunits. As series editor Otto Penzler notes in his foreword, Ã¢â‚¬Å“it has become increasingly difficult to find... a new murder method, or an original way to hide a vital clueÃ¢â‚¬â? (though some may wonder why Deaver passed over Hal WhiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s impossible crime puzzler, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Murder at the Fall Festival,Ã¢â‚¬â? listed in the appendix of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2008Ã¢â‚¬â?). Readers interested in psychology will be more than satisfied by such tales as Joyce Carol OatesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dear Husband,Ã¢â‚¬â? a heartrending first-person account of a mother who slaughtered her children, and Tom BissellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“My Interview with the Avenger,Ã¢â‚¬â? about a vigilante superhero. As always, part of the pleasure derives from exposure to writers who have yet to gain the acclaim they deserve, such as Randy Rohn (Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Man Who Fell in Love with the Stump of a TreeÃ¢â‚¬â?) and Jonathan Tel (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bola de la FortunaÃ¢â‚¬â?). (Oct.)
Best-selling novelist Harlan Coben, a master of suspense and creator of the critically-acclaimed Myron Bolitar series, edits this latest collection of the must-reads in mysteries from the past year.
A must-read for anyone who cares about crime stories.”Booklist
The award-winning author and Emmy-nominated television writer George Pelecanos serves as editor of the twelfth installment of this genre-expanding anthology, featuring twenty of the past years most enthralling, suspenseful, and slyly illuminating mystery stories.
A cut-and-dried case for a wily crime-scene reconstructionist is turned on its head in Michael Connellys Mulholland Dive.” A terrible secret shared between two childhood friends resurfaces decades later as one of them lies on her deathbed in Alice Munros masterful Childs Play.” James Lee Burke tells the haunting tale of a Hurricane Katrina evacuee who unexpectedly finds comfort from an unimaginable loss in Mist.” And in Holly Goddard Joness Proof of God,” a young mans car is repeatedly vandalized as proof that someone knows about the truths hed never willingly reveal.
As Pelecanos notes in his introduction, the twenty original and unique voices” in this collection pay homage to the genres forebears by taking crime fiction into a thrilling new direction. But make no mistake,” he says, we are all standing on the shoulders of writers who came before us and left an indelible mark on literature through craftsmanship, care, and the desire to leave something of worth behind.”
A collection of the best mystery writing published in 2009 culled from a variety of sources.
The best-selling author Carl Hiaasen takes the reins for the eleventh edition of this series, featuring twenty of the past years most distinguished tales of mystery, crime, and suspense.
Laura Lippman introduces us to a suburban soccer mom who moonlights as a call girl and who has a fateful encounter with a former client at her sons soccer game. Ridley Pearson traces a famous author of horror tales who becomes trapped in a real one after his wife vanishes while jogging. Joyce Carol Oates travels to a New Jersey racetrack where the animals that break down are of the two-legged type. Lawrence Block tells the story of Keller, a hitman for hire who happens to live in Greenwich Village, loves spicy food, and collects stamps as a hobby. And Scott Wolven plunges us into the world of an ex-con who takes a job at a private and very illegal Nevada racetrack where each day millions are won and lost. Mostly lost.
As Carl Hiaasen notes in his introduction, The stories in this collection would do honor to any anthology of short literature. More than transcending the genre of crime, they blow away its nebulous boundaries.” The Best American Mystery Stories 2007 is a powerful collection certain to delight mystery aficionados and all lovers of great fiction.
Best-selling novelist Lee Child edits this latest collection of the genres finest from the past year. Featuring gritty tales told with panache,” this is a must-read for anybody who cares about crime stories” (Booklist).
About the Author
Harlan Coben's last three consecutive novels Caught, Long Lost, and Hold Tight all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. He is a winner of the Edgar Award, the Shamus Award, and the Anthony Award.OTTO PENZLER is a renowned mystery editor, publisher, columnist, and owner of New York's The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstores solely dedicated to mystery fiction. He has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.
Table of Contents
Foreword ix Introduction by Carl Hiaasen xiii
Chris Adrian Stab 1
Robert Andrews Solomons Alley 22
Peter Blauner Going, Going, Gone 33
Lawrence Block Kellers Double Dribble 41
John Bond T-Bird 69
James Lee Burke A Season of Regret 88
John Dufresne The Timing of Unfelt Smiles 106
Louise Erdrich Gleason 121
Jim Fusilli Chellinis Solution 135
William Gay Where Will You Go When Your SkinCannot Contain You? 148
Robert Knightly Take the Mans Pay 162
Laura Lippman One True Love 173
David Means The Spot 189
Kent Meyers Rodney Valens Second Life 200
Joyce Carol Oates Meadowlands 218
Jason Ockert Jakob Loomis 241
Ridley Pearson Queeny 257
John Sandford Lucy Had a List 264
Brent Spencer The True History 287
Scott Wolven Pinwheel 304
Contributors Notes 313 Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2006 324