From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Astonishingly, as mystery maestro Penzler points out in his cogent introduction, there has never been, until now, a collection of original stories devoted to spy fiction. Penzler has assembled 14 of the biggest names in the thriller genre—such as Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Stephen Hunter, Gayle Lynds, and David Morrell—who all rise to the challenge of writing a short story set in the complex world of international espionage. This unique anthology's best entry, Charles McCarry's The End of the String, which depicts an intelligence officer's role in a planned coup aimed at a despotic African president-for-life, will evoke comparisons with John le Carré and Graham Greene. The superlative writing is matched by the variety, which ranges from tales with clever twists to straightforward ones, some contemporary, others with historical settings. (June)
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*Starred Review* Spy fiction and short stories are usually mutually exclusive. As editor Penzler points out in his introduction, spy fiction is usually lengthy, as the authors weave byzantine plots bolstered with double crosses, red herrings, and dozens of characters. Tough to fit all that into a few thousand words. He also points out this is the first anthology of original short spy fiction. The 14 authors include Lee Child, James Grady, Stephen Hunter, Andrew Klavan, and Stella Rimington, who was the director-general of Britain’s MI5. Child’s story centers on the particulars of assembling a special-ops team. David Morrell weighs in with the moral and professional dilemma of Andrew, a professional CIA interrogator who ultimately succumbs to . . . well, that’s the surprise. Stephen Hunter contributes a WWII tale in which love and a Mata Hari–like character play key roles. Charles McCarry introduces readers to a mysterious man on the Guinea coast in the fifties who assists an American agent and may have questionable motives. Espionage fans will absolutely love this collection of uniformly fine stories—a series of 500-page spy novels expertly distilled to their involving, suspenseful essence. --Wes Lukowsky