Face Off Paperback – January 1, 2014
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Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed this unique opportunity, but not as much as reading full-length stories by my favorite authors. I think my ingrained expectations of settings and characters diminished my pleasure. But, if you're open to a collaborative, short story concept, you may enjoy this book very much.
However, most of these stories felt a little bit forced. I think a lot of that can be attributed to it being difficult for the authors to fashion a cohesive story featuring two major characters in only 30ish pages, but a couple of these were just out and out disappointments to me. Particularly the final story that combined a couple of my favorites in Jack Reacher and Nick Heller.
I didn't dislike this book by any means. That being said, half of these authors/characters were new to me, and there was nothing in this introduction that makes me want to explore them further.
In general, these were excellent thrillers by excellent writers. The editing was well done. Within the constraints of short stories, the pacing and character development were good, and the plots and endings were interesting and pretty satisfactory. Many times I found myself grinning as I enjoyed the clever story lines and interactions between the characters.
I bought it for my Kindle, and I am looking forward to reading it multiple times.
"Red Eye," by Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane, sends Harry Bosch to Boston to investigate a lead in a cold case. He teams up with Patrick Kenzie who is working as a PI trying to find someone's recently missing daughter. They have a good lead, and neither is concerned about a little illegal entry.
"In the Nick of Time," by Ian Rankin and Peter James, sends John Rebus down to Brighton where he teams up with Roy Grace to investigate a crime from years earlier. A man was stabbed in a gang fight. Events turn out a lot different than expected for everyone concerned.
"Gaslighted," by R. L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child steps back in time, and is an eerie story about a man who does not know whether he is dealing with reality or a dream.
"The Laughing Buddha," by M. J. Rose and Lisa Gardner starts with a murder in the past and deals with things magical. It concerns the question of people having past lives, and their efforts to remember previous lives. Starting in the past when a man is murdered for the secrets he may have found, it fast forwards to the future when another man is murdered because he may have possession. Events don't turn out as people expected.
"Surfing the Panther," by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein concerns missing antiquities and forgery of the same. Some collectors are willing to buy stolen artwork for their own very private collections. But how do they know if they are buying the real thing, if the real thing is never recovered. A skillful forger could easily sell multiple copies, and who would dare talk. But a sale to the wrong person could have deadly results.
"Rhymes with Prey," by Jeffrey Deaver and John Sandford brings us a case where Lucas Davenport travels to New York City to meet with Lincoln Rhyme in a case involving a serial killer. This is another case where the killer has a secret chamber. There are other things going on, and events do not turn out quite as expected.
"Infernal Night," by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson sends Repairman Jack to New Orleans to assist in recovering an artifact. But Michael Quinn is also involved. There are strange things about that artifact. Be careful what you wish for.
"Pit Stop," by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay finds Glen Garber and his daughter taking a travel break at a highway service area when he becomes distracted and then sees his vehicle (with daughter still inside) heading out onto the highway. The chase is on as he joins Sean Reilly who had been trailing the man who stole Barber's vehicle. There are some unexpected consequences.
"Silent Hunt" by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker finds Wyatt Hunt heading to La Paz for some saltwater fly fishing when he meets up with Joe Trona, also going fishing. Nothing is ever simple. Some bad guys show up looking for some reported gold. Ah, but Hunt and Trona come up with a plan to deal with the situation. There is more than one way to skin a cat, or to deal with criminals.
"The Devil's Bones," by Steve Berry and James Rollins finds Commander Gray Pierce on a riverboat on the Amazon River trying to obtain a vial of a potent nerve poison in the possession of a scientist more interested in money than in patriotism or public good. Cotton Malone happens to be on the same riverboat on the same mission. They team up when things go very wrong, and the end result is not quite what they might have expected.
"Good and Valuable Consideration," by Lee Child and Joseph Finder places Jack Reacher and Nick Heller in the same bar in Boston for the same reason - to watch a baseball game. But baseball games tend to move slowly, and they take note of other people in the bar, and team up to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. Reacher discovered something long ago - if bad guys lose something of value, whom are they going to report it to? Good and Valuable Consideration: Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller
The editor provides short introductions to the stories and biographies of the authors.
Top reviews from other countries
It is an intriguing concept which works well. And I was introduced to a couple of authors I have not heard of before leaving me wanting to read more. Some stories work better than others (a matter of personal taste of course) but they are all good.
If you like crime thrillers and short stories you should like this volume. I certainly did. Highly recommended.