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The Best American Mystery Stories 2006 (The Best American Series) Paperback – October 11, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Quality writing from some of the biggest names in the genre marks the 10th collection in this series, though Turow concedes in the introduction that the 21 stories are more crime tales than mysteries. Walter Mosley contributes the collection's standout, "Karma," a classic noir exercise that brings the sweat and despair of the characters to life. Jeffery Deaver's "Born Bad" and Jane Haddam's "Edelweiss" are also solid entries, with nifty plot twists reminiscent of the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the short stories of Roald Dahl. A number of stories share the same hook, though, which lessens the impact, and the editor's omission of even one fair-play whodunit will disappoint some readers. Series editor Otto Penzler provides his usual cogent, candid foreword. (Oct.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* "If you like all your characters living at the end of a story, this may not be the book for you," writes guest editor Turow in the introduction to the latest installment in this superb series, now in its tenth year. Indeed, homicide rests at the icy heart of these 21 taut tales, set in locales ranging from small-town Indiana and the Texas Hill Country to an ominous rock canyon on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Mystery fans will welcome the diversity of voices here, from veterans Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Elmore Leonard, and the late Ed McBain ("Improvisation," the last short story he wrote, begins with the tantalizing line, "Why don't we kill somebody?") to lesser-known but no-less--impressive talents Alan Heathcock, Jeff Somers, and Mike MacLean. Among the best: Edgar winner Wendy Hornsby's "Dust Up," in which a fierce female wildlife conservationist overcomes a trio of Mob thugs, and novelist Andrew Klavan's mordant "Her Lord and Master," which serves up equal doses of sadomasochism and suspense. According to series editor Otto Penzler, the number of entries, culled from periodicals, literary journals, and e-zines, has increased nearly tenfold over the years (Penzler considered a "quaint" 500 in 1997). Copious contributors' notes reveal the fiendishly clever minds behind this criminal dim sum. A showcase series finishes its first decade on a resoundingly high note. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition (October 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618517472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618517473
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on October 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the tenth book in this series and I have loved every one of them. Unlike many anthologies, where some stories are good and others are weak, this hefty book is a treat because every story is first-rate. It is clear that the series editor, Otto Penzler, and the guest editor, Scott Turow, like literary fiction, much of which is somewhat noir. Good examples are "Karma" by Walter Mosley, "So Help Me God" by Joyce Carol Oates" and "Improvisation" by Ed McBain, which begins with a great opening line: "`Why don't we kill somebody?'" she suggested." I'd never heard of some of these authors before, like Karen Bender, Wendy Hornsby and R.T. Smith, but their stories are just as beautifully written as those by such famous writers as James Lee Burke, Jeffrey Deaver, Elmore Leonard and Laura Lippman. I wanted to stretch out the book and make it last a while, but I found the stories so enjoyable that I finished it in three nights. If you like great writing in your mystery stories, you'll love this book. *****FIVE STARS
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson on September 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
This collection is made up of Scott Turrow's selections of stories taken from many other great collections such as Dangerous Women, The Cocaine Chronicles and other leading anthologies. Being the case this means if you are into various author anthologies you more than likely have come across a few of these stories before but it also means most of these stories in here are good. Like any various author anthology stories do vary in quality and style from author to author. I have to admit I didn't enjoy every story within but there are certainly more than your usual number of literacy hits inside. The great collections not only allow you the pleasure of reading authors you already like but also introduce you to new ones as well which this one does over and over again.

Unfortunately for me I'd already read the great collection Dangerous Women before this so about a third of the stories inside here I had already read. Also because that collection was a fairly niche product being an anthology with strong female villains and other characters, the result is the 2006 edition of The Best American Mystery Stories also is very heavy with this factor. I recommend you get both books. If you want to read my reviews of those stories both in this and in Dangerous Women click on that book's link, I'll concentrate on the best of the stories within this collection not in that one.

Dust Up by Wendy Hornsby is my pick of the stories by authors not many people would have heard of before. Pansy is a raptor watcher who is witnessing the birth of an endangered eagle. Hit men out of Vegas murder a human then murder the mother of the endangered chick which Pansy is watching.
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The stories in this collection, at least to my tastes, are very strong. A large benefit is this collection contained stories from many authors who were previously unknown to me. For those readers who enjoy short story suspense fiction then strong consideration should be given to reading this collection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Burket VINE VOICE on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Put the best stories from the 2006 and 2007 collections together and you'd have one awesome collection. From the 2006 side, there are several first-rate stories and others that are quite good. Five stories came from the "Dangerous Women" collection and these are not your average little old ladies or women with a straying husband. In fact, the story that involves an alleged cheating husband turns out to be much different.

Not only are the characters not the people-next-door types, Scott Turow chose a good crew of mostly low-lifes and people getting by or otherwise trying to stay off the radar. Solid pleasure derives from the scene settings and character development the authors do in short order.

Some of the stories were more literary that functional by my taste and thus were less appealing as mysteries or crimes stories. For example, Joyce Carol Oates' "So Help Me God" never really clicked, in contrast to Mosley's "Karma", which was one of the top entries.

Other favorites:

Born Bad (Deaver) - wonderful twist about mother and daughter, enough that I went back and re-read the clues and ambiguous phrases that left the outcome open.

Edelweiss (Haddam) - one of several "let's kill somebody" stories that I certainly didn't anticipate.

Texas Heat (Harrison) - finely crafted, with no wasted energy. Two real estate women meet a new client. Is he who he seems?

Dust Up (Hornsby) - ok, you write a story that combines a Las Vegas theme with nature loving. It would be tough to top this one.

Louly and Pretty Boy (Leonard) - such a pleasure to read, even though there really isn't a lot of action and not much mystery or crime. Doesn't matter.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By adead_poet@hotmail.com on September 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
C.J. Box, Jeffery Deaver, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, R.T. Smith, and Scott Wolven. Scott Turow doesn't write much short fiction, but man can he pick them. This might be the best volume yet. It took me a while to start buying them, but they've turned out to be the premiere of the Best American Series, many years it is better than BASS or BAE or BANRR. Definitely a good buy.
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