Anthologies of short stories by different authors are usually a collection of a few gems, a few all right stories and a few fillers. Death Do Us Part is a collection where all but two are great reads, they are not all masterpieces granted, but there are more than the usual number of those as well. I was interested in this book just to read Coben's story Entrapped as I had not read it before when it was first published in 1997, and its pretty hard to come across Mary Higgins Clark's Mystery Magazine let alone that edition to read it anyway. Coben is not the only great author here, so many others have written great tales and the other authors are all freshly published as well. Like all great short story collections, Death Do Us Part gives the reader a chance to sample authors they've heard of but never read before as well as introduces to them lesser known authors to add to their lists of future reads to track down. There's also a brief and very helpful summary of each author at the end of the collection, so those looking know where to begin.
In reviewing what the stories within are about I'll start first with my favourite ones (undoubtedly your list would start differently). My list starts with the editor and Coben's story Entrapped. A wife reports her husband missing to police only to discover he is at home. Only the person at home does not look or sound like her husband but he is the same guy the police show her that is in the photograph she gave them. Is she going insane? Could he really be her husband after all?
Wifey a story by normally child and young adult author R. L. Stine proves to the world that he can write sensational stories for any market. Wifey is the nickname Jake a neighbour of Frank the owner has given Frank's dog Ruby since they behave like a married couple and are never apart. Jake hates dogs, but is ecstatic that his neighbour entrusted him to inherit the beast as it showed to the world what Frank thought of their friendship. Ruby though makes Lassie look like Forrest Gump and will stop at nothing to avenge her master's murder.
Till Death Do Us Part, Tim Maleeny. The title story of this collection is the great tale about the sixtieth anniversary of a feud between an old couple who do not believe in divorce. They are both extremely intelligent and every year play the "fair play", dinner game of trying to poison the other through each others dishes.
Lee Child's Safe Enough has a guy from the city taking up work on houses in the country where notices a beautiful women. He stalks her and discovers she has a violent husband When the husband disappears he is the only one who can prove the wife was not around the murder scene when it happened but obviously he can't supply this news to the police to prove her innocence as they will want to know why he was stalking her.
The Home Front by Charles Ardai is set in America while World War II rages on in Europe. Too old to go to war Ray Harper is a government agent who catches petrol retailers selling rationed fuel on the black market. One such arrest is Rick Kelly who is killed in Harper's car as Harper was giving Kelly a lecture about how his actions are helping Hitler and why isn't he over there anyway etc instead of watching the road. Sacked by the government and with injuries Harper is down on his luck and one the streets. Luckily he comes across a kind woman who offers him food and board if he helps her run her garage.
The Last Flight by Bredan DuBois has a man booking a joy flight in the type of plane he flew in the war over the ocean to scatter his wife's ashes and obtain closure.
A Few Small Repairs by Jeff Abbott has a hospital ridden father who is dying a slow painful death asking a son he had disowned to help him end his life.
Blarney by Steve Hockensmith is the tale of a few drinks at the pub by a group of writers after a conference where they run into one of the only non boring speakers. This old Irishman offers to teach them what it is to be a writer if they buy him a pint.
The Masseuse by Tim Wohlforth is the story of a man whose dream comes true when his masseuse offers to cook and pleasure him in exchange for food and board and a bit of spending money while she studies for a new career.
Homecoming by the mother and son team pseudonym Charles Todd, has a wife of a guy fighting in Europe during World War I discovering an intruder in her house, however even though she knows he's there can never seem to find him so wonders if stress is making her go insane.
Part Light, Part Memory is an African slave girl's story of her thirst for vengeance when her father was hung for looking at the American master's wife.
Queeny by Ridley Pearson is the tale of a guy whose wife attracts the attention of a man while running in the park which she tells him about. The wife soon disappears.
One True Love by Laura Lippman is the story of a high class prostitute who is recognised and blackmailed by a parent her son runs into while playing sport.
The Cold, Hard Truth by Rick McMahon is the tale of a rural police office recounting the story of how he first met death row prisoner Jesse Brashear and the cold hard truth that good people can do bad things.
Cyberdatedotcom (note Amazon ridiculously keeps replacing the actual title with [...] so that's as close as I can put) by Tom Savage is the chat room transcript from a dating website where two under aged kids take a liking to each other.
Pushed or Was Fell by Jay Brandon has Walt a loner, meeting a girl, quickly marrying and setting out on cruise ship honeymoon then realising he doesn't love with devastating consequences.
One Shot by P.J. Parrish has Stuart returning to visit his old home which is now for sale and reliving the traumatic changing event of his life.
Heat Lightning, William Krueger although readable is one of the lesser quality contributions to this collection. A story of a guy who is having an affair while his wife lies in a coma in the bedroom upstairs.
Chellini's Solution was the only story I don't really think is worth reading, it's about an Italian guy whose enemies gloat as they tell him his wife is cheating on him and of course the actions he takes afterwards.
This is a great collection of short stories and one you'll want to keep forever. Not as good as this but still a good recent collection of similar stories to these I've read is Dangerous Women, edited by Otto Penzler.