Confession #1 – I love mysteries.
Confession #2 – I love mystery short stories. Think about it, some of the best mysteries, Sherlock Holmes for example, are short stories.
A short story is more like a heady fling— intense, adventurous, emotionally charged, and, when I was young, embarrassingly quick. Okay, forget that last one. The best short stories, like those high-octane lovers, never fully leave you. They burn, linger, haunt. Some sneak up on you in a subtle way. Others are like a punch in the gut–sudden, spontaneous. They knock the wind out of you. (Harlan Coben in the Introduction)
Obviously, picking up The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 was a no-brainer for me. In a short story every word counts and the writers represented in this collection, from Joe R. Lansdale to Lawrence Block to Charles McCarry, are master story-tellers. The pages in this anthology are filled with heroes, villains, every sort of setting, every sort of crime, solutions, surprises, and great writing.
I will say that, with only a few exceptions like Rozan’s story, the selections are mostly on the darker side of mysteries. Cozy mystery fans will not find much here. And a lot I don’t actually consider mysteries, more crime stories, so don’t expect a batch of entirely traditional mysteries. That being said, I enjoyed the variety and have found several new to me authors I want to read more from.
I’ve written separate reviews for a few of the stories in the collection.
- “Ride-Along” by Brendan DuBois
- “Clean Slate” by Lawrence Block
- “Last Cottage” by Christopher Merkner
- “Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case” by S. J. Rozan
Here is a list of the other stories.
- “Audacious” by Brock Adams
- “Something Pretty, Something Beautiful” by Eric Barnes
- “Who Stole My Monkey?” by David Corbett and Luis Alberto Urrea
- “Sometimes a Hyena” by Loren D. Estleman
- “What His Hands Had Been Waiting For” by Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin
- “A Crime of Opportunity” by Ernest J. Finney
- “Flying Solo” by Ed Gorman
- “Destiny City” by James Grady
- “The Hitter” by Chris F. Holm
- “West of Nowhere” by Harry Hunsicker
- “Baby Killer” by Richard Lange
- “The Stars Are Falling” by Joe R. Lansdale
- “The End of the String” by Charles McCarry
- “Diamond Alley” by Dennis McFadden
- “Heart Like a Balloon” by Andrew Riconda
- “A Long Time Dead” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Overall it’s a great collection to dip in and out of when you’re looking for a good, but still short, read.
4 out of 5 stars
Category: Mystery & Detective – Short Stories
Published October 4, 2011 by Mariner Books
Book source: For review