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The Best American Mystery Stories 1997 [Hardcover]

Robert B. Parker , Otto Penzler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 3 1997 Best American Mystery Stories
For many years, some of the most vital, creative, and exciting fiction published in America has been in the field of mystery, crime, and suspense. Now Robert B. Parker and Otto Penzler - both Edgar winners - have assembled the best that 1997 had to offer: twenty terrific, titillating tales from such masters of the genre as Elmore Leonard, Elizabeth George, James Crumley, Jonathan Kellerman, and Andrew Klavan, from newcomers like Brad Watson, and from well-known literary writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Malone.

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From Publishers Weekly

In compiling the third volume in this annual series, which is edited by Otto Penzler, McBain (the 87th Precinct procedurals) has included tales that fall outside strict genre definitions. The collection is richer for that wide range. "Survival," Joseph Hansen's deftly characterized 13th Hack Bohannon story, follows the stable-owner/PI into a racist compound in the Oregon woods. Held there on the eve of a major offensive, Bohannon interacts credibly with his captors: there's not one false note in the story. In David K. Harford's "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail," Military Police Investigator Carl Hatchett finds out why there were no bullet holes in the shirt of an American soldier who was apparently killed in a firefight with the VC. Reminiscent of her novel Them, Joyce Carol Oates's "Secret Silent" delineates a wrenching 24-hour period in which a young woman separates from both the pull and the burden of her upstate New York family's limited expectations. Lawrence Block, Stephen King, Philip K. Margolin and John Updike are among the 17 other contributors to this compendium of highly accomplished stories drawn from a variety of sources, mystery-specific and not. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The publisher kicks off this new addition to its "best of" anthologies with 20 mysteries picked by Spenser author Parker.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Audio Cassette
I love almost every story McBain has chosen.
But I do regret not finding in this anthology a Hunter/Marsten/Collins/Cannon story from the Master,himself.
(He reads on the audio,though....)
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
I was disappointed with most of the stories in this anthology. The first half of the book had me interested, but midway through the stories, my passion for them waned.
My favorite story in the group was the first one (BLIND LEMON by Doug Allyn). It was a moving story in which two strangers reunite ten years later after getting their friend killed. Due to guilt as well as fear, they both go their separate ways trying to escape the tragedy. They see each other at a bar where one of them is performing. The story was very poignant and heartfelt. I wish Mr. Allyn success with his other works.
My main disappointment was with Jonathan Kellerman's THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. It was a good story and it could have been a surprise to the reader. Unfortunately, it is in a book about mysteries. If things seem a little too ordinary three quarters of the book, then there must be a twist somewhere in the end. I think this story would have worked better in an anthology of love or family stories, as well as in a magazine guided towards women.
It is good to read short stories every once in a while to discover new and promising authors. As I previously stated, nothing really stands out in this particular anthology, however, I recommend the 1998 as well as the 1999 Best Mystery stories. You will find some pleasant surprises in them.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking stories Dec 23 2001
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this collection of the best mystery stories published in 1999. There are some familiar authors in this book such as Phillip Margolin, Lawrence Block, and Jeffery Deaver. These authors stand out for themselves so I will not comment on them but make note on the overlooked authors.
My two favorite stories are SACRIFICE by L. L. Thrasher and OUT THERE IN THE DARKNESS by Ed Gorman. The first one involves a mother's extreme measures to protect her daughter's innocence. It is L. L. Thrasher's first short story and an excellent one at that. The story is heartbreaking but it makes you think twice of how precious innocence is to a child. Ignorance is bliss but the truth here is very dangerous.
OUT THERE IN THE DARKNESS involves a group of poker buddies who stop a burglar from robbing their house. They decide not to call the police but to handle things themselves and try to get information from the criminal. Everything then backfires and the four friends are now fighting to stay alive. One of the themes here is the danger of becoming a vigilante and the consequences one must pay.
Overall, most of the stories in this collection are good and I recommend it as an aperitif before trying out a novel by one of the authors. I would like to make also an honorary mention with SAFE by Gary A. Braunbeck. It will make you think twice about cleaning houses.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pay Attention as You Read these Reviews Dec 16 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Be cautious as you read the reviews here. Some of them are for the 1999 collection (guest editor Ed McBain) and some are for the 1998 collection (guest editor Sue Grafton). There is also a 1997 collection (guest editor Robert B. Parker). I've read both the '97 and '98 collections and found them excellent (I think everything I've ever read that Otto Penzler had a hand in is excellent). I have no reason to believe the '99 collection isn't also a great read (I'm ordering it today), but in reading the reviews, be aware that some refer to the McBain collection while others review the Grafton collection.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay Attention as You Read these Reviews Dec 16 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Be cautious as you read the reviews here. Some of them are for the 1999 collection (guest editor Ed McBain) and some are for the 1998 collection (guest editor Sue Grafton). There is also a 1997 collection (guest editor Robert B. Parker). I've read both the '97 and '98 collections and found them excellent (I think everything I've ever read that Otto Penzler had a hand in is excellent). I have no reason to believe the '99 collection isn't also a great read (I'm ordering it today), but in reading the reviews, be aware that some refer to the McBain collection while others review the Grafton collection.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent anthology Oct. 9 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This yearly collection of short stories in a rather short time (only the third annual anthology) has lived up to its title of being the best. The current collection includes a modern day who's who of American authors that run the gamut of the mystery genre and beyond. Each story works as an exciting entity all its own, but adds to the overall freshness of the collection.
Fans of short stories will love this anthology that includes works by Block, Deaver, Estleman, Gorman, Oates, Updike, etc. among the nineteen tales. 1999 THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES is a winning short story collection because the editors widen the genre barriers while including nineteen strong tales. There is not one loser among the contributions.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Anthology Feb. 3 2001
By Dr. Christopher Coleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an exceptional anthology; almost all 20 stories are true gems. One is only a semi-precious stone, and that because it suffers in its juxtaposition with another story with a similar plot. The final story in the anthology, John Updike's Bech Noir, is just cut-glass--I can understand it appealing to mystery writers, as it deals with a writer who kills his critics, but it seemed to lower the quality of the book somewhat. Among the very best stories are "Safe", Gary A. Braunbeck's absolutely harrowing semi-autobiographical tale of those left behind by a serial killer; Thomas H. Cook's retelling of a very familiar story, "Fatherhood"; and David K. Harford's Vietnam murder mystery "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail". My favorite was Tom Franklin's "Poachers", a novella in the best tradition of southern fiction about three orphaned brothers without a chance. [If you like Franklin's work, I'd also recommend Lewis Nordan's novel "The Sharpshooter Blues".] What struck me most about this entire anthology was the depth of the authors' artistry. Not only can they tell a mean mystery, but they also create vivid, compelling characters who seem very lifelike. This is difficult enough in a novel, but in a short story it is the sign of an excellent writer indeed. I enjoyed this anthology so much that I made sure to get the subsequent year's, which I'm reading now. The only regret I had about this book was that editor Ed McBain did not contribute more--there is no McBain story, only a clever introduction. I highly recommend this book and I will definitely be looking for Tom Franklin's work again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking stories Dec 23 2001
By Angel L. Soto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this collection of the best mystery stories published in 1999. There are some familiar authors in this book such as Phillip Margolin, Lawrence Block, and Jeffery Deaver. These authors stand out for themselves so I will not comment on them but make note on the overlooked authors.
My two favorite stories are SACRIFICE by L. L. Thrasher and OUT THERE IN THE DARKNESS by Ed Gorman. The first one involves a mother's extreme measures to protect her daughter's innocence. It is L. L. Thrasher's first short story and an excellent one at that. The story is heartbreaking but it makes you think twice of how precious innocence is to a child. Ignorance is bliss but the truth here is very dangerous.
OUT THERE IN THE DARKNESS involves a group of poker buddies who stop a burglar from robbing their house. They decide not to call the police but to handle things themselves and try to get information from the criminal. Everything then backfires and the four friends are now fighting to stay alive. One of the themes here is the danger of becoming a vigilante and the consequences one must pay.
Overall, most of the stories in this collection are good and I recommend it as an aperitif before trying out a novel by one of the authors. I would like to make also an honorary mention with SAFE by Gary A. Braunbeck. It will make you think twice about cleaning houses.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Try the other books in the Mystery Stories series Dec 29 2001
By Angel L. Soto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was disappointed with most of the stories in this anthology. The first half of the book had me interested, but midway through the stories, my passion for them waned.
My favorite story in the group was the first one (BLIND LEMON by Doug Allyn). It was a moving story in which two strangers reunite ten years later after getting their friend killed. Due to guilt as well as fear, they both go their separate ways trying to escape the tragedy. They see each other at a bar where one of them is performing. The story was very poignant and heartfelt. I wish Mr. Allyn success with his other works.
My main disappointment was with Jonathan Kellerman's THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. It was a good story and it could have been a surprise to the reader. Unfortunately, it is in a book about mysteries. If things seem a little too ordinary three quarters of the book, then there must be a twist somewhere in the end. I think this story would have worked better in an anthology of love or family stories, as well as in a magazine guided towards women.
It is good to read short stories every once in a while to discover new and promising authors. As I previously stated, nothing really stands out in this particular anthology, however, I recommend the 1998 as well as the 1999 Best Mystery stories. You will find some pleasant surprises in them.
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