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The Best American Mystery Stories 2001 Paperback – Oct 10 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (Oct. 10 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618124918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618124916
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,864,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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By A. Ross on May 21 2003
Format: Paperback
I should note from the start that I only listened to the nine stories on the CD audio edition, so my comments only reflect roughly half of the book's contents. I have to say that they were a bit of a disappointment overall. One would expect a collection of mystery stories to have some, well, mystery... Instead, the stories are heavy on atmosphere, emphasizing it over plot, and sometimes there is only the slimmest connection to crime at all. Roxana Robinson's "Face Lift" for example, is a curious inclusion by any measure. I'm not any kind of genre purist, nor am I big fan of whodunits, or traditional mysteries-but it seems like the editors were going more for stories with cachet (either a name literary author such as Russell Banks or Joyce Carol Oates, or a name source publication like Esquire), rather than actually finding mysteries that are great reads. I'm also not one who likes to puzzle out the endings to mysteries ahead of time, but I had the endings spotted halfway through the three most "traditional" mysteries of the nine on the CD (which were also my three favorites as it happened). The only story to make me somewhat interested in reading something else by the author was Peter Robinson's "Missing in Action", which had an interesting WWII setting and a light touch. Still, one out of nine isn't a great success rate, and if the other eleven stories are of the same ilk, I'd have to recommend skipping this year's collection.
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By A Customer on Feb. 25 2003
Format: Paperback
Penzler and Block sold out to the literary establishment on this one. Or maybe it was Michele Slung. Anyway, it seems like they chose any story--no matter how pointless and uninteresting--with a crime in it that appeared in a 'literary magazine'. Trying to brown-nose some credibility perhaps? Anyway, don't read this if you're looking for a good mystery of crime story. Try Gorman's 'World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories'. This one's a waste.
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Format: CD-ROM
"The Best Mystery Stories of 2001" is a strange collection. Because it was edited by the great Lawrence Block, I expected it to contain a fair number of good hardboiled stories. Alas, that is the one subgenre that gets the short shrift in this collection. I noted that many of these stories first appeared in literary magazines, which may have something to do with why so many of them are written with flowery prose and are a tad shy on gritty street realism. There is also a decided absence of big name mystery authors, with long time great Bill Pronzini being one of the few icons in the collection. As soon as Pronzini's story, a first rate "Nameless" dectective tale, begins, the level of excitement rose for me. Jerimiah Healy is also in this collection, but his Cuddy short story is fairly pedestrian. Big name T. Jefferson Parker delivers "Easy Street," which is among the best in the collection. The others were a mixed bag for me, and I found some of them, like Roxanna Robinson's "The Face Lift," to barely qualify as mystery stories.
Overall, this collection left me wondering. If these really are the "best" mystery short stories being produced today, then the genre could definately use a good jump start.
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Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have noted, the stories in this book, for the most part, are not traditional mysteries.
They are, however, very well written.
It is not necessarily a fun or entertaining read--for the most part, the stories explore the darker side of human nature and American culture--but a worthwhile book that shows that the short story is alive and well.
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