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The Best American Mystery Stories 1998 Hardcover – October 30, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Dave Shaw's well-told "Twelve Days out of Traction" takes us into a petty criminal's mind with amusing results. His narrator runs an insurance scam where he stages falls and his fake lawyer friends write threatening letters that earn his little consortium good money. But it's painful work--as the title indicates--and sometimes he can get surprisingly upstaged. Lawrence Block's intriguing "Keller on the Spot" offers a different twist. Keller's a contract killer sent to Dallas to murder a millionaire, but he ironically ends up becoming involved in the man's life in ways he could never have expected.
David Ballard's tricky "Child Support" imagines the devilish depths to which battling spouses can sink when their marriage collapses. Helen Tucker's rather predictable "The Power of Suggestion" also explores the modern marriage battleground, drawing equally disturbing conclusions about marital happiness and what it drives people to. But Merrill Joan Gerber paints a much brighter picture of family life, one so rich and fulfilling that it inspires more than envy in "This is a Voice from Your Past.Read more ›
This anthology has an interesting mix. I agree with some of the comments above about the bigger name authors having the weaker stories (except for Lawrence Block's "Keller" story, which won the Edgar Award last year -- he is incapable of writing a bad story). It's a good anthology to study if you write fiction, because it showcases what's hot now, where it's being published, and why: strong characterization, novel ideas, and lots of emotion. It also features two stories that were first sales (Ballard's is one of them), which is encouraging, if only to show that, yes, new writers are out there and can make it into a year's best anthology.
I'm glad I stumbled across this anthology. I'll be looking forward to the next one.
In the first story, the author takes a simple child custody story as told by the point of view of the father. He then gets into an extraordinary circumstance that jeopardizes his relationship with his son. What makes this story interesting is that it is narrated by the ex-husband, leaving the reader with the preconceptions left by the storyteller. One must remember a lesson given to us by Agatha Christie in some of her books. It is never to take the narrator's story as face value. It is not till one reaches the end that one gets the rest of the story.
SECRETS was another delightful surprise. It is a revenge story several years in the making. Its main theme is the power of motherhood and the extremes that they will go in protecting their children.
Another interesting aspect of this book is a story by Stuart Kaminsky called FIND MIRIAM. It is an abbreviated version of his novel VENGEANCE. I assume he wrote the short story before he decided to make it a novel. It takes a genius to implement that same story in a novel and I think Kaminsky pulls it off.
While stories in a collection can be of mixed quality, I generally liked all the stories and, as usual in anthologies, found some authors I was not previously acquainted with. Anthologies are usually a good way to find references to authors who can be checked on for other work - I often find novels that way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this collection of short story suspense fiction. Overall I found the stories interesting and well-written. Highly recommended for fans of short story suspense fiction.Published 15 months ago by Movie Fan
Cover to cover, this is one of the best of the annual Mystery Stories series. Many of the stories were innovative and well-written. Read morePublished on May 5, 2011 by LVT06
This is a great collection of mystery, suspense and crime stories. They have chosen many talented authors such as Lawrence Block, Janice Law, Scott Bartel, Merril Joan Gerber, and... Read morePublished on August 31, 2009 by Ruth Thompson
Book arrived on time and in the condition as stated. Will order from them again.Published on February 2, 2009 by N. Morrison
Although I can't say that I enjoyed every story, I can say that I enjoyed nearly all the stories, which is about as good as you can get with short story anthologies. Read morePublished on July 18, 2001 by Frederick S. Goethel
as soon as i finished the book, i got online and ordered the 1999 edition.i never was much of a fiction reader, but i'm hooked nowPublished on August 28, 1999 by tim coleman
"Best Mysteries" stands out as an excellent collection of short stories mostly because of its inclusion of fresh and creative new authors. Read morePublished on April 5, 1999 by firstname.lastname@example.org; Marcus Jimison
I just finished reading the book and I agree with the previous reviews I have read. Some of the stories, particularly those by Clark are not worthy of your time. Read morePublished on February 19, 1999