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First Thrills: High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller Authors Hardcover – June 22, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Child, the creator of the Jack Reacher series (Gone Tomorrow, etc.), offers a mixed bag in this anthology of 25 original stories by members of ITW (International Thriller Writers), divided between fledgling authors and established names such as Gregg Hurwitz, Stephen Coonts, and Heather Graham. Daniel James Palmer and Michael Palmer's The Dead Club, in which a greedy doctor joins a betting club that gambles on when unidentified patients will expire, does the best job at making the genre work in short form. Child, by contrast, misses the mark with the less than gripping The Bodyguard, an account of how the narrator became an ex-bodyguard. Of the newcomers, Rip Gerber's Last Supper, about a grieving widower's plot for revenge, is well-paced and compelling, while Ryan Brown's supernaturally tinged Suspended isn't. Other contributors include Ken Bruen, John Lescroart, and Karin Slaughter. Steve Berry, ITW's current president, provides an afterword. (June)
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*Starred Review* This is hands down one of the best short story collections you're ever likely to read. The brainchild of the (relatively new) International Thrillers Writers organization, the book features never-before-published stories by such notables as Jeffery Deaver, Michael Palmer, Gregg Hurwitz, Stephen Coonts, John Lescroart, Karin Slaughter, and Lee Child (who also serves as the book's editor). Alongside them, you'll find top-notch short fiction from names that might be less familiar—J. T. Ellison, CJ Lyons, Sean Michael Bailey—but they are writers who certainly won't remain unfamiliar for long. The stories fit under the most inclusive of thriller umbrellas, but many contain elements of mysteries, science fiction, and horror as well. They feature an equally diverse cast of characters, too, ranging from con men and killers to aliens, ghosts, and zombies. In many short story collections, there are a few standouts. Here, nearly the entire lineup stands out. Lescroart's “The Gato Conundrum,” for example, is a fine spy thriller that moves through Italy, England, Russia, France, and the U.S., all in 20 pages. Heather Graham's “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” combines grisly horror with a historical setting. Theo Gangi's “Eddy May” is a seemingly straightforward story about a pair of con artists that turns out to be not straightforward at all; in an anthology full of plot twists, Gangi's definitely out twists them all. A masterful collection. --David Pitt
Top customer reviews
In the Introduction, Lee Child notes the difficulties for a new writer to get started. The days of pulp fiction and slick magazines are long gone. However, ezines have emerged. The problem is that ezines and small press literary magazines come and go from the scene. I did find one editor that liked my short stories and published two in ezines - but on the verge of publishing a third, she folded up shop and moved on to do other things. So it takes some hard work to keep track of emerging venues for publishing and to match up with an editor.
The International Thriller Writers has provided an opportunity for some emerging writers, both in this collection and earlier collections. They are worth sampling. Earlier collections pointed me to some very good novels that I read and reviewed on Amazon. I expect that this collection will do the same.
Some of the short stories were good, others not so. I know this is a matter of personal taste so it would be impossible to say that any of the stories were bad.
Most of the stories seemed to skim across the surface and were over before they really developed and held my attention. This I found unrewarding. Surprisingly I was not appreciative of some of the more 'famous' contributors to the eBook.
Unless you really prefer to read short stories I would avoid this title. If you really like the complexities and involvement of a plot to give you pleasure in your reading, then steer you attention towards fully fledged novels. This would not be for you.
If you like to switch your brain off sometimes and enjoy some easy reading, you may be satisfied with this. However, if you look for smart thrillers that can entertain you and make you think at the same time, look somewhere else.
Most recent customer reviews
I thought the idea of the ITW sounded pretty good, but I did not find much to justify...Read more