Thriller(CD)Lib(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
Editor Patterson and the 32 writers who signed up for this breakthrough collection are all donating their royalties to the new International Thriller Writers, which had its first convention in June 2006 in Arizona. They plan, no doubt, to be rewarded for their work with extra fame and future fortune. But hopefully the eight excellent readers who bring the audio version to a generally high quality of life got paid for their efforts, because they are otherwise unrewarded and virtually anonymous. Aside from a listing of their names on the CD box, there's no mention anywhere of who reads what. Despite the lack of publicity, these actors do a fine job, adding an extra ingredient to the best stories in the collection—pieces by Gayle Lynds; her sadly late husband, Dennis Lynds; J.A. Konrath; Raelynn Hillhouse; David Morrell; M. Diane Vogt; and M.J. Rose are especially strong—and even bringing some of the lesser stories up a rung on the excitement ladder. Thriller addicts who'd rather listen than read will find solid value for time and money spent, and wannabe crime fiction writers will learn a lot from Patterson's lively introductions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
"The best of the best storytellers in the business. Thriller has no equal." - Clive Cussler "Thriller will be a classic. This first-ever collection of thriller stories, from the best in the business, has it all. The quality blew me away." - Greg Iles" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Second, there are variations here on what defines a "thriller." Don't be prejudiced by your own definition of the term -- read these with an open mind to possibilities.
Third, if your life is as hectic as mine, it is great to be able to dip in for 20 or 30 minutes and enjoying a complete quality story; there are many of them in this collection.
Finally, many reviewers here write about how the collection was weak except for... and then they name the few stories they think were best. Peruse the reviews and you will see they are not all the same few stories... all in all, most of the stories were enjoyed by someone here! Which is to say that the lower ratings are because of TASTE, not QUALITY. Enjoy the breadth, indulge in your favorites, and don't be deterred by the selective ratings of the reviewers here.
A quality anthology -- can't wait for Vol 2!!
When I think of the thriller genre, I generally think of works like David Morrell's FIRST BLOOD, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's THE RELIC, or literally anything Robert Ludlum ever wrote. The genre does not immediately or easily lend itself to shorter fiction. Yet each and every offering here illustrates what makes a thriller a thriller. The stories themselves simultaneously serve as an introduction to new readers while providing additional exploits to the canons of familiar characters.
Lee Child's "James Penney's New Identity" is an excellent example of this. Heretofore published with only very limited distribution, it includes a brief but pivotal appearance by Child's Jack Reacher. Readers unfamiliar with Reacher will find their appetites whetted for more, while fans of the enigmatic wanderer will enjoy the novelty of a story in which their protagonist is relegated to a supporting role. J. A. Konrath, on the other hand, uses "Epitaph" as a vehicle for Phin Troutt, a secondary character in his fine Jack Daniels series, not only shifting primary characters but also mood in this dark tale of double-barreled revenge.
Preston and Child, writing their first short story together (amazingly enough), have contributed "Gone Fishing." It serves as a solo tale for Vincent D'Agosta, usually seen in the company of Special Agent Pendergast. D'Agosta does quite nicely on his own in this chilling story that begins, simply enough, with the investigation of the theft of a rare artifact and ends...well, you'll have to read it to find out.
Obviously, it's difficult to pick a winner in a collection stuffed to the rafters with them. Stalwart authors such as David Morrell, Gayle Lynds and Eric Van Lustbader are featured; a long out-of-print, posthumous contribution from dearly-missed Dennis Lynds is included, as is "Man Catch," an unsettling tale of jealousy, betrayal and revenge from Christopher Rice. There are diverse, exciting stories from Chris Mooney, Alex Kava, Grant Blackwood and Brad Thor --- the work of these and other authors makes picking a favorite almost an impossibility.
If I had to pick one, however, it would be "The Portal" by John Lescroart and M.J. Rose. Lescroart and Rose normally fly solo, a state of affairs that makes the product of this collaboration --- a seamless, tightly drawn tale where things go from bad to awful --- all the more noteworthy. Rose's Dr. Morgan Snow is here, but only briefly --- and to greatly understated effect --- in a story that begins in New York and ends, catastrophically, in Lescroart's San Francisco.
By the way, if this list of authors is not enough reason to read this book, consider this. Each story is prefaced by an introduction from James Patterson that talks about both the story and the writer's work.
Now, consider this: I have not named even half of the noteworthy authors who appear in THRILLER. If you have a favorite thriller writer, prepare yourself for the thrill of reading one of their heretofore unpublished stories and the opportunity to put 31 new favorite authors on your reading list. And if you've never encountered the genre before, set aside a day or two and feed your mind at a rich and bountiful literary buffet. Highest possible recommendation.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Unsurprisingly, the result is something of a mixed bag. Not all novelists are masters of the short story form, and many of these writers seem uncomfortable within its confines. Some of the stories skimp on characterization, and some on plot; some work well as stand-alones, but others rely too much on the readers' knowledge of characters and organizations from the writers' novels. That said, there are some gems inside.
Patterson leads with one of the strongest stories: `James Penney's New Identity', by Lee Child. Penney, a Vietnam vet, suffers from post-traumatic syndrome, and has been retrenched after seventeen years in the same job because of a poor attendance record. Going slightly crazy, he sets fire to his house before fleeing in his prized Firebird, but the fire spreads. Soon he's wanted for arson - and then, he encounters military cop Jack Reacher. It's a neat little tale, and all you need to know about Reacher for it to work is his idea of honour.
J. A. Konrath's `Epitaph' is less surprising, but it's a well-written and punchy story involving Phin Trout, one of the colourful sidekicks of Whiskey Sour's heroine "Jack" Daniels. In James Rollins's amusing and fast-paced `Kowalski's in Love', Sigma Force's heroic but less-than-brilliant Joe Kowalski has to fight his way past booby traps and rabid baboons to loot a mad scientist's island laboratory before the Brazilian government fire-bombs the place. In F. Paul Wilson's `Interlude at Duane's', unarmed career criminal Repairman Jack has to hunt for improvised weapons in a drug-store held up by a heavily armed team of enthusiastic amateurs; the action is frantic, and the results gruesome, but the tone is light-heartedly anarchic.
More serious is James Siegel's `Empathy', a grim and claustrophobic stand-alone about a masseuse who suspects that a client is a paedophile, but lacks proof. David Morrell's `The Abelard Sanction' features a tense armed stand-off between enemy spies in a sanctuary; it starts with several pages of background, but Morrell manages to make this as interesting as his conflicted characters. Dennis Lynds's `Success of a Mission' and Grant Blackwood's `Sacrifical Lion' are well-constructed accounts of dangerous undercover missions - one in the Middle East, the other in Stalin's Russia.
Two of the stories make use of the September 11 attacks and their aftermath. David Dun's `Spirit Walker' pits Tilok tracker Kier Wintripp against the Anthrax letter bomber, and in Steve Berry's `The Devils' Due' - one of the gems in the collection - Osama Bin Laden arranges a meeting with Cotton Malone and offers to surrender.
For fans of historical conspiracies, there is Katherine Neville's `The Tuesday Club', in which Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson look for secret messages in `Frere Jacques'. David Liss pits 18th century thief-taker Benjamin Weaver against a cunning highwayman, and Ted Bell spins a yarn of Napoleonic-era sailors and pirates in `The Powder Monkey'.
Christopher Reich's `Assassins' and Robert Liparulo's `Kill Zone' are little more than character studies, but Liparullo does a particularly good job of showing us the viewpoint of police sniper Byron Stone.
Alex Kava's `Goodnight, Sweet Mother' and John Lescroart and M. J. Rose's `The Portal' are both enjoyably twisted, but Heather Graham's `The Face in the Window' is rather predictable. Michael and Daniel Palmer's `Disfigured' is an intriguing tale of a deranged kidnap plot, but needed to be at least twice as long.
James Grippando's `Operation Northwoods' feels more like a teaser for his next novel - as do Gayle Lynds's `The Hunt for Dmitri', Brad Thor's `The Athens Solution', and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's `Gone Fishing', despite their promising beginnings.
Chris Mooney's `Falling', Denise Hamilton's `At The Drop of A Hat', Christopher Rice's `Man Catch', and M. Diane Vogt's `Surviving Toronto' all feel more like compressed novels, with too many scenes and characters reduced to ciphers and most of the tension left out. Raelynn Hillhouse handles the short story length better in `Diplomatic Constraints', an exciting prologue to `Outsourced', but I still felt I was missing something.
This book is rather like a smorgasbord for thriller readers. Even if you don't like everything on offer, chances are you'll find something you'll want to try again.
The settings are varied - France, England, New York, old west and anywhere the writers' imaginations take them. The time periods vary - anywhere from the 1700's to present day. I confess I started a few of the stories and had to skip to the next one. But most are quick reads with a twist at the end. I hope to see another book from the group.
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