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First Thrills: High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller Authors Hardcover – June 22, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

*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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326485
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,705,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As with many readers of genre fiction of my age, I cut my teeth on thrillers and mysteries with short stories, beginning with Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and The Thinking Machine, and then working my way into the Hardy Boys before making a quantum jump to Mike Hammer and Shell Scott. Short stories in general are beginning to make a comeback, even if the venues for such material remain somewhat scarce.

The International Thriller Writers Organization has been doing something about that, publishing collections of original short thriller and crime fiction on a regular basis. The latest of these, FIRST THRILLS, is a masterpiece, comprised of 25 stories that each possesses some quality for recommendation. Nicely balanced between well-known authors and those who will be soon, it is a smorgasbord for readers who require an introduction to the thriller genre but are unsure where to begin. Those who are familiar with some of the contributors will enjoy encountering them in a somewhat different context --- short fiction --- as well as discovering new authors to place on their "must read" lists.

If there is one pervasive element that runs through FIRST THRILLS, it is the apparent inclination of at least some of the authors to take steps outside of their respective comfort zones. John Lescroart's "The Gato Conundrum" is an example. Lescroart, best known for his legal thrillers featuring Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky, here taps into his inner Robert Ludlum with a haunting tale of espionage that is complete in less than 20 pages. Lee Child's "The Bodyguard" is not a Jack Reacher story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading this book you know instantly why authors like Child and Deaver are so successful. They arrest the readers attention with each sentence and every word. You want to know which way the story will go... what will happen to the protagonist? Their stories are never foreseeable and that's their secret. You'll have the impression, Child or Deaver live for writing books. And both stories are equal to their stories about Jack Reacher and Lincoln Rhyme. A very good reading.

So their stories are like a benchmark to the other short stories of newcomers. For example Gregg Hurwitz (The Thief), Rip Gerber (Last Supper) and Alex Kava/Deb Carlin (After Dark) have certainly the potential for writing bestsellers. Their books are like the ones from Child and Deaver. Thrilling.

But this book contains also stories which are ... boring. That's not the place for giving a whole summary. If you like thrillers, this is your book to read. You'll get an impression, which author is able to bind your attention. So this book is a very good decision-making aid for buying new books of relatively unknown writers. That and some very good stories are the reason for 5 stars.

(Please, all you readers, forgive my english. It's just the second review I wrote in english. I promise, I'll improve my english.)
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By A Customer on June 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This twenty-five suspense thriller collection is an interesting way for readers to meet new writers while established authors have an opportunity to thank the audience and the publishing companies by providing entries to First Thrills. "The Dead Club" by Daniel James Palmer and Michael Palmer is the best bet as wagering on death mirrors real life gambling pools. Other strong entries include "The Thief" by Greg Hurwitz and Ken Bruen's "Wednesday's Child". None of the entries from the veterans or the rookies are bad, but few are excellent. Still fans will enjoy dining with Rip Gerber, Sean Michael Bailey and other newcomers and vets like Stephen Coonts, John Lescroart, Karin Slaughter and Heather Graham as each provides readers with plenty of chills and thrills.

Harriet Klausner
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This is an extremely disappointing book.save for two or three of the stories the rest were certainly not thrillers by any stretch of imagination and I do not see why must I read about the process of a bowel movement(assisted by the protagonist and described in minutest detail) in a collection of so called thrillers.I also bought the following books in the series on the good reputation of the editors, and found multiple repetitious content as well as below standard writing. Lee child's name should not be associated with this material.
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Maybe I am not used to reading short stories. Perhaps I prefer to have an author slowly flesh out the plot and let that gain momentum for me to derive pleasure from a story. In saying that, this leads me to having been disappointed with what I usually gain pleasure from. Well crafted stories.

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.
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