An anthology of stories from the Killer Year authors, plus contributions from Ken Bruen, Allison Brennan, Duane Swierczynski, MJ Rose and Laura Lippman. Available from St. Martin’s Press. The Chicago Tribune said, “Bill Cameron’s ‘Slice of Pie’ is an irony-filled gem.”
Edited by Lee Child with an Afterword by Laura Lippman
“Why writers who deal with the dark side of human nature are among the most collegial is a mystery in itself. What is not in doubt, though, is the quality of this collection resulting from that collegiality, with 13 of its 16 stories by writers who published their first novels in 2007 and were mentored by established authors under the auspices of the International Thriller Writers organization. Some of these stories—which, as editor Child notes, are ‘far, far harder to write than novels’—push the edge of the genre and snag the memory, among them Marcus Sakey’s exploration of love and the difference between wanting and needing in ‘Gravity and Need.’ Sean Chercover’s Chicago P.I. Ray Dudgeon keeps a case from going south, Gregg Olsen gives a final twist to his tale of a true crime writer, and Jason Pinter shows how things can go inexorably wrong in an instant. The mentors’ introductions to these stories, plus brief biographies at the end, should entice readers to longer works by these promising new authors. Even amid a recent rash of anthologies in the genre, this one is well worth a look.”
“Three of Child’s contributors—Ken Bruen, Allison Brennan and Duane Swierczynski—are seasoned pros, but the collection’s gems come from the 13 members of the younger set. Derek Nikitas’s ‘Runaway,’ for instance, is a superbly ambiguous chiller about an adolescent girl who may or may not be a real runaway, or for that matter real. In Toni McGee Causey’s artfully composed ‘A Failure to Communicate’ introduces the indomitable and irresistible Bobbie Faye Sumrall, a steel magnolia whose steel will cause three lowlifes to rue the day they took her hostage. ‘Perfect Gentleman’ by Brett Battles and ‘Bottom Deal’ by Robert Gregory Browne are both lean and taut, expertly crafted in the good old hard-boiled tradition. In Marc Lecard’s sly ‘Teardown,’ a hapless loser arrives in the wrong place at what turns out to be exactly the right time. Gregg Olsen’s autobiographical ‘Crime of My Life’ features a surprise ending that actually surprises. The quality is less consistent among the other entries, but, remarkably for a collection this ample, there’s no sign of a clinker.
“An anthology so worthwhile that it comes within an eyelash of deserving the hyperbole Child heaps on it in his introduction.”
“For this impressive crime anthology, bestseller Child (One Shot) has gathered 13 stories by newcomers and three by veterans. Such established writers as David Morrell, James Rollins, Gayle Lynds, Ken Bruen and Allison Brennan introduce tales by such rising stars as Marcus Sakey, Brett Battles, Robert Gregory Browne, Sean Chercover and Gregg Olsen. Some selections, like Olsen’s ‘The Crime of My Life,’ hit like a hard swung sap. Battles’s ‘Perfect Gentleman’ is more like a knife that slides in easily, then twists in the gut. Browne’s ‘Bottom Deal’ features a PI that would be at home in a lineup with Spade and Marlowe. Sakey’s ‘Gravity and Need’ lets the reader bleed out slowly, while Chercover’s ‘One Serving of Bad Luck’ earns a rueful smile. Not every entry is a winner, but the disturbingly good new talent showcased in this volume bodes well for the future of the genre.”