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The Best American Mystery Stories 2004 Paperback – Oct 14 2004

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From Publishers Weekly

The eighth in Otto Penzler's popular series offers some fine writing, but mystery fans should be aware that the bulk of the entries amount to crime fiction. Out of the 20 stories from veteran bestsellers such as Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates, as well as promising newcomers, only one—William J. Carroll Jr.'s "Height Advantage"—is a whodunit. The standout is Christopher Coake's "All Through the House," a chilling, multilayered account of a family massacre whose shifting perspectives, flashbacks and flash-forwards create a moving, painful and haunting effect that lingers long after the last page. Sherlockians will be amused and intrigued by Richard Lupoff's clever pastiche of Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, "The Incident of the Impecunious Chevalier," which features a young Holmes calling on his literary ancestor to track down a certain legendary jeweled black bird. Jeffrey Robert Bowman's "Stonewalls," with its alternative explanation of the cause of Gen. Stonewall Jackson's death from friendly fire, will appeal to Civil War buffs with its gritty and compelling perspective on the barbarities of war. Fans of suspenseful and psychologically rich tales of con men and low-level crooks will enjoy this volume; devotees of Agatha Christie and other authors in the classic mystery tradition should seek satisfaction elsewhere.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Here's the eighth entry in the popular best-of series (this time the celebrity editor is DeMille, author of such bestsellers as The General's Daughter and The Lion's Gate). It includes such notables as Stephen King, Dick Lochte, and Joyce Carol Oates, who seems to be a perennial cast member. There are also several new voices, younger writers who have only begun to leave their mark on the genre. The stories cover a variety of styles and themes, but what they have in common is a writer knowing what he or she wants to say and saying it well. The book is like a sampler of modern crime fiction, spotlighting the best the genre has to offer. The veteran writers show us they still have new tricks in their bags, while the (as yet) unknowns clearly mark themselves as people to watch. This series remains a must for all mystery collections. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
Five Stars July 6 2014
By choo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
wonderful stories
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great Short Stories Aug. 29 2005
By William H. Freeman - Published on
Verified Purchase
Fascinating stories, varied and well written. Many surprise endings and unusual story lines. You'll enjoy it.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not really mysterious March 10 2006
By Naomi Dozono - Published on
Format: Paperback
Half of these stories were not even traditional mysteries at all: one was set in the civil war, one was more like a mainstream short story. And these were the better ones! One was a ripoff of Poe's Casque of Amontillado, while the lead story, bet on red, was cliched. Leave it to a fool like Nelson DeMille to pick some really bad stories. The only really good one was Steven Kings' semi-supernatural spine tingler, and that was more for the creepy language and timing he possesses, than for any original story ideas. Save your money.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
ummm - where is the mystery? July 3 2006
By N. Yee - Published on
Format: Paperback
You may think that you're buying a book of mystery stories, but no, the real mystery is why most of these stories in this volume aren't mysteries at all. If they had labeled this "Crime Fiction With No Mystery", then that would be more honest. Most of the stories in this volume have no real hidden element that keeps you guessing. Sure, there may be some good social commentary or character development here and there, but if I really wanted that stuff I wouldn't have picked up a book labeled "Mystery Stories".