This is a collection of fourteen original short stories written by some of the best thriller writers in the business, including Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Charles McCarry, Olen Steinhauer and Stella Rimington. They span a range of timeframes and countries, from 1940s Switzerland to the current war in Iraq.
The standard is somewhat uneven. I thought a few of the stories were outstanding, some were just good and a few left me cold. I enjoyed the way that each one reflected the author's writing style and I look forward to exploring some of the authors whose work was previously unknown to me.
Stand-outs for me included Charles McCarry's account of an African dictator which was reminiscent of the film The Last King Of Scotland. The characters are so well developed that they really come alive. Joseph Finder writes a very accessible and clever story about a man who harbors suspicions about his next door neighbors. John Weisman writes about a CIA agent on the frontline in Iraq, working for a boss who values climbing the ladder ahead of retrieving hostages.
Lee Child's story was probably the biggest disappointment and I wondered if it was included for the value that his name adds to the collection rather than on its own merits.
Overall a mixed bag, but with some stand-outs that made it well worthwhile.
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