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The Best American Mystery Stories 2007 Paperback – October 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618812652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618812653
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The 11th volume in this consistently high-quality series features such household names as Joyce Carol Oates and Lawrence Block, but for the most part it's the lesser lights who shine brightest with superb short crime stories that evoke human passions and bring characters to life with a few well-chosen phrases or images. As series editor Otto Penzler again cautions in his foreword, few of the stories revolve on whodunit, the why having become more important in contemporary crime fiction. One of the best of the 20 selections is Chris Adrian's Stab, a chilling tale of childish cruelty, as witnessed by an autistic child. Block himself weighs in with the masterful Keller's Double Dribble, a story of double crosses, white-collar crime and basketball. Another standout is Brent Spencer's The True History, a gripping account of brutality and revenge set during the Texas War of Independence. Cozy and Agatha Christie fans won't find much to suit their particular tastes, but lovers of good writing should be delighted. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A standout collection." (Kirkus Reviews ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on October 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
if you love cozies, then don't buy this book. get a cup of hot milk and an miss marple and leave now. fleeee! because this is a dark book. but it's a FABULOUS collection if you love dark noir, crime writing by the best of the best, including:

STAB by Chris Adrian! This is my personal favorite -- the smartest most evocative piece I have ever seen from a child's pov. His story, john dufresne's and scott wolven's are disturbing and fresh crime stories from the dark side of humanity and shouldn't be missed! sophistocated readers will also take satisfaction in the entire collection, especially stories by the usual suspects: joyce carol oates, ridley pearson, laura lippman at her darkest. Fresh, original, dark writing here. Transportive stuff -- so transportive that the suspense might just keep you up at night, either that or the excellent caliber of writing!
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Format: Paperback
Short stories classified as mysteries are totally different than they were back in the 40's. These are not whodunnits, PI adventures, or cop stories. But they are insightful stories mostly from the point of view of criminals. I found each of these well worth reading, but they are inclined to be literary and not thrillers or traditional suspense. Few depend on twist endings. The very best one in the book, in my opinion, was William Gay's "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" The Jeepster is indeed the most unforgettable character you'll find in this collection.Other excellant stories include:Kent Myers "Rodney Valen's Second Life" which starts as a rather tongue-in-cheek narrative which slowly turns weird and insightful into the mind of a 2nd generation poacher.Louise Erdrich's "Gleason", an O'Henry type story of a rich philandering husband who, with his paramour's brother, arranges for his wife's kidnapping so that he can give her sufficient money to support his child by her.Brent Spencer's historical "The True History" set in Texas during the battle with Santa Anna's troops.Lawrence Block's "Keller's Double Dribble", one of a series of stories of a likeable hit man.Peter Blanner's "Going, Going, Gone" which while possibly not truly belonging in this collection is a wrenching story which will especially touch father's and portrays a father's, or indeed parent's, worst nightmare.I could go on and give reasons for liking each of the other stories, but will leave it to those who choose to read this anthology to discover their own favorites.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Burket VINE VOICE on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
A few too many of the stories had little appeal, so no five stars here. The collection stretches the definition of a "mystery", as most are basically crime stories and none is a traditional detective story where there is an early setup to the crime, followed by the action leading to a resolution through someone's analysis. In some, the whole story is a setup to a crime near the end, and in others there is no resolution, other than we know who did what through basic narrative. We have no detectives or private eyes here, and few cops.

Be prepared for some relative crudeness in language and crime and not much lightweight content where the story is really about the mystery. Not here.

Here are my favorites:

Keller's Double Dribble: masterful story of a hit man, with a creative twist.

T-Bird: poker-playing babe hatches a scam.

One True Love: prostitute / soccer mom deals with an untimely threat.

Stab: unusual mass murder up the food chain as told by the survivor of a pair of separated twins.

Solomon's Alley: sometimes the inner voice demands action.

Pinwheel and Meadowlands: two completely different stories that include horse racing. One is from the perspective of a cool dude who is part of some illegal activity and the other is from a nervous woman clueless about what will happen.

Queeny: quick, crisp story about danger while jogging.

Lucy Had a List: nothing will stop Lucy from achieving her goal to be a professional golfer.

That's nine of the 20. Some of the remainder fall into a pretty decent second tier, and a couple I didn't like seemed rather pointless or uninteresting, never clicking into gear. Some that didn't make my list were probably very well written, and I could understand their selection. "The True History" about the conflict between Texas and Mexico in the 1800s comes to mind. I simply didn't care for it. Sorry.
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24 of 74 people found the following review helpful By rbnn on October 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This disappointing anthology confuses "mystery" with turgidly written sordidness. If you are looking for ratiocination, deduction - or even civility - look elsewhere. Few of the stories in this collection were readable, as most of them comprised emotive, profanity-laced, hyperbolic ineptly written dialect and bombast. The characters tended to be borderline retarded, and the prose was overwrought. Previous anthologies in this series usually had a couple of well-written and thought-provoking stories, but not this one. None of the stories here raises a puzzle to be solved by the reader, for example.

My favorite was T-Bird by John Bond, which did an excellent job portraying the life of a professional poker player and which deftly tied together the poker and the action. This was a reasonably interesting and well-written story, but its company kind of dragged it down.

Here are my individual reviews of each story:

Stab, by Chris Adrian. I gave up after the first few rather disgusting pages.

Solomon's Alley, by Robert Andrews. I lasted half-a-page, until those gratuitous profanites that mark the inept writer.

Keller's Double Dribble, by Lawrence Block. I lasted until the second page of this one, when a clumsy conversation between a customer and a waiter in an Indian restaurant ("You wish to sweat" "I wish to suffer" etc.) ruined it for me.

T-Bird, by John Bond. Powerful and well-written, particularly if you are interested in poker. A terrific evocation of the characters in a poker room.

A Season of Regret, James Lee Burke. I skimmed this one. Seemed unremarkable.

The Timing of Unfelt Smiles, by John DuFresne. Didn't make it past the disgusting first half-page.
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