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The Best American Mystery Stories 2008 Hardcover – October 8, 2008


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Spectrum by Alan Jacobson
FBI profiler Karen Vail's current case takes readers back to the beginning, with flashbacks to her rookie days as an NYPD patrol officer. "Spectrum" is a great way for new readers of the series to jump into the action. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618812660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618812660
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The top-notch 12th entry in this best of series offers superb writing from authors both well and little known. The nature of the 20 selections again lends support to those who think the series should be more accurately titled The Best American Crime Stories. As Pelecanos notes in the introduction, none of these stories are puzzles, locked-room mysteries, or private detective tales. Some of the best have only an incidental connection to crime, as in the chance encounter with a robber in a hospital that triggers the decline of an elderly couple in a small New England town in Elizabeth Strout's A Different Road. Likewise, Joyce Carol Oates's The Blind Man's Sighted Daughters focuses on the sacrifices made by an adult daughter caring for her aged father. Alice Munro's chilling Child's Play is another standout, with its casual but depressing depiction of the brutality children are capable of. Few will dispute Pelecanos's contention that several stories in the anthology would qualify for The Best American Short Stories from the same publisher. (Oct.)
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Review

Starred Review. The top-notch 12th entry in this best of series offers superb writing from authors both well and little known. The nature of the 20 selections again lends support to those who think the series should be more accurately titled The Best American Crime Stories. As Pelecanos notes in the introduction, none of these stories are puzzles, locked-room mysteries, or private detective tales. Some of the best have only an incidental connection to crime, as in the chance encounter with a robber in a hospital that triggers the decline of an elderly couple in a small New England town in Elizabeth Strout's A Different Road. Likewise, Joyce Carol Oates's The Blind Man's Sighted Daughters focuses on the sacrifices made by an adult daughter caring for her aged father. Alice Munro's chilling Child's Play is another standout, with its casual but depressing depiction of the brutality children are capable of. Few will dispute Pelecanos's contention that several stories in the anthology would qualify for The Best American Short Stories from the same publisher. (Publishers Weekly ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Fine literary writing - compiled under one cover so you don't have to read every magazine out there. James Lee Burke. Michael Connelly. Intriguing stories. Excellent writing. Worth the read.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A, CHRISTIE on January 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was a big disappointment to me. I thought it would be great intriguing mystery stories. Instead it is short stories that are not really mystery stories. Just disturbing short stories. If you are a literary hi-brow person, you may appreciate these stories. But if you are just a traditional mystery story lover, this book will disappoint.
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Format: Paperback
This is the 2008 version of this annual compilation of the best mystery stories of the year. The series editor is Otto Penzler and each year has an individual editor. The editor for 2008 is George Pelecanos. This series has been running since 1997.

In the 2008 edition, both well-known names in mystery and suspense as well as those less familiar to the reader are featured. Authors include James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Robert Ferrigno, Chuck Hogan, Rupert Holmes, Holly Goddard Jones, Peter Lasalle, Kyle Minor, Alice Munro, Thisbe Nissen,
Joyce Carol Oates, Nathan Oates, Jas. R. Petrin, Scott Phillips, Stephen Rhodes, S.J. Rozan, Hugh Sheehy, Elizabeth Strout, Melissa Vanbeck and Scott Wolven.

Every mystery reader can find a story represented here in the genre they like best. Victorian mysteries, hard-core detectives, puzzlers, offbeat mysteries; all are here. Elizabeth Strout's story will be recognized by those who later read her bestseller, Olive Kittridge, as it is a vignette from that book.

My personal favorite was an offbeat mystery called Given Her History by Melissa Vanbeck. It is an offbeat story of a girl touched by death and taken in by a quirky woman who treats her much better than her family ever did. This book is recommended for lovers of short stories and mystery readers.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Gray on June 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rarely do I give up on a book part through, but what a stinker. There are no mystery stories, just tales of people with messed up lives, messed up relatives, and messed up friends who all meet a bad end. And, boy, do they deserve a bad end. Pelecanos, the editor, should get out of the mystery writing game (his past few novels were poor) and get on "the tragedies of people who deserve it" milieu.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Anthony Owens on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
As the foreword to the collection mentions, there are no locked-room mysteries in this book. What it doesn't mention is that it doesn't contain any other kinds of mysteries either. This book is like a box of fancy chocolates that turns out to be full of trail mix with a few M&Ms thrown in.
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