Synopses & Reviews
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.”
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
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.
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.)
A collection of the best mystery writing published in 2011 culled from a variety of sources.
Best-selling novelist Robert Crais, a master of crime fiction and creator of the critically acclaimed Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels, edits this years must-read mystery stories with a keen eye for thrills and nail-biting suspense.
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 2012 includes
Peter S. Beagle, Kathleen Ford, Mary Gaitskill, Lou Manfredo, Thomas McGuane,
Gina Paoli, T. Jefferson Parker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch,
Charles Todd, Daniel Woodrell, and others
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
A collection of the best mystery writing published in American periodicals in 2008.
Best-selling novelist Jeffery Deaver edits this latest collection of the genre's 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 the founder of the Mysterious Bookshop and Mysterious Press.