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Sinister Shorts by [O'Shaughnessy, Perri]
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Sisters Pam and Mary O'Shaughnessy use the pen name Perri O'Shaughnessy for their Nina Reilly legal thrillers as well as for this uneven debut collection of 19 short suspense stories, only one of which involves Nina Reilly and is the only "fifty-fifty collaboration" between the pair. "The Long Walk" fittingly leads, since it was published before their first novel, Motion to Suppress (1995). There are two homages: a Gertrude Stein parody, "Gertrude Stein Solves a Mystery," which is less than successful, and "His Master's Hand," which nicely mimics the style of Dostoyevski's Notes from Underground. "Dead Money" crams a novel's worth of twists and deductions into a short story. In "Tiny Angels," an FBI agent nabs a kidnapper thanks to his wife's casual but perceptive observations. Paul van Wagoner, an investigator in the Nina Reilly novels, does brilliant work in "Success Without College." Series fans may enjoy the challenge presented in the sisters' introduction, trying to figure out which sister wrote which story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

California sisters Mary and Pamela O'Shaughnessy, who write under the pseudonym Perri, have parlayed their respective talents as editor-writer and attorney into a popular series of legal thrillers starring Nina Reilly, who makes a brief appearance in one of the 19 stories in this stellar collection, which runs the gamut from psychological thriller to traditional detective yarn. The sisters explain in an introduction that, unlike their novels, which are fifty-fifty collaborations, all of the stories in this collection except one ("Juggernaut") are individual endeavors; who did what is also delineated in the introduction. Among the most memorable are "Gertrude Stein Solves a Mystery," a laid-back, stylized "mostly-true recounting" of a strange incident in Stein's life, and "The Furnace Man," tinged with the sort of shivery horror that Alfred Hitchcock exploited so well on television. Unreliable narrators, historical incidents, and horror grown out of ordinary life can be found aplenty in this entertaining collection, sure to please Perri's fans as well as devotees of the likes of the venerable Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 712 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385337981
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (Jan. 31 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #459,876 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars 23 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific crime based anthology Feb. 1 2006
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Starting with the challenge by the O'Shaughnessy sisters in their introduction to guess who wrote which tale, this terrific crime based anthology consists of eight new stories as well as eleven others previously published elsewhere but not together. The tales are fun to read especially the delightful Nina Reilly's sleuth story Paul van Wagoner stars in "Success without College" and Gertrude Stein heads two others. Each tale is fun to follow especially when the audience learns of the crime. In addition the award winning The Long Walk is also part of the compilation. Fans of the O'Shaughnessy siblings will appreciate their salute to the criminal mind while new readers will seek their Reilly legal thrillers, but everyone will take their fifty-fifty shot at guessing authorship.

Harriet Klausner
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An uneven anthology Feb. 12 2006
By Brian Baker - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed the Nina Reilly novels from the first entry, so when I saw this anthology of short stories by the O'Shaugnessy sisters I just had to get it.

The challenges for a writer of the short story are, I imagine, daunting: conveying story, character, setting and plot in a limited amount of space. That's why, when done well, they're so satisfying. Think of "The Gift" by O. Henry -- what a classic!

The stories in this book accomplish this with mixed success, in my opinion. The first three zinged right along, and were real grabbers, but things really ground to a halt with "Gertrude Stein Solves a Mystery". Obviously written to emulate Stein's style, it was stilted, predictable, and pretty boring.

From that point on, it was pretty much a grab bag: some were pretty good, some okay, some were a waste of time.

It was a treat to see a couple of O'Shaugnessy's regulars show up: Nina Reilly and Paul van Waggoner. The stories that featured those characters were two of the best in this collection.

I don't think you'll regret getting this book, just be prepared to wade through some grist to get to the grain.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Enjoyable Short Stories Feb. 6 2006
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Okay, I'll admit it right off the bat. When I saw the title of Perri O'Shaughnessy's new book I thought, "Aha, Nina Reilly has a case involving tennis pros!" But, no. SINISTER SHORTS is actually a collection of "short" stories written by sisters Pam and Mary O'Shaughnessy, who between them have penned eleven legal thrillers that always leave readers eagerly wanting more. Fans will not be disappointed with this diversion from their norm.

While SINISTER SHORTS is not the series we're familiar with, it does contain all of the elements that go into making that series so popular. And, in addition to the usual fast-paced, no-nonsense writing, there are components that reveal a darker side of the usually sanguine duo that will resonate with readers who enjoy a bit of the macabre with their mystery. The introduction challenges readers to try to figure out which sister wrote which story. But no matter. These nineteen stories are so engrossing you will soon forget the writers and become immersed in the characters and action. Which is as it should be.

Over the years I had forgotten how satisfying reading short stories can be: an entire plot, with well-defined characters, a theme, suspense, irony, humor and resolution, all wrapped up in ten exciting pages. In SINISTER SHORTS there is the almost poetic "Sandstorm," which unexpectedly reveals how easy it is to follow a disturbed stream of consciousness. "The Couple Behind the Curtain" offers a frank exchange between husband and wife that is both haunting and shocking. To keep you guessing, there's the paranoid lady of "Lemons" --- and we find out she has a lot to be paranoid about. Look at the time, it's way past my bedtime but, oh, just one more!!!

The plot twists will keep you from becoming too confident of your detecting skills. Sometimes what goes around comes around, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the good guys win and sometimes the guys who don't know they're good guys win. It's all great fun and sure to satisfy.

--- Reviewed by Maggie Harding
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight May 11 2006
By PG. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this collection immensely. These stories drew me in immediately and kept me guessing (consistently incorrectly!) at every twist and turn. Perri O'Shaughnessy does a great job of packing loads of intrigue into the short story form; even the characters are well developed. Each of these stories is its own little gem.

If this book is any indication of the possibilities of the short story mystery, I'm ready for more!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Supreme Satisfaction with Sinister Shorts May 14 2006
By L. Steiner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Sinister Shorts. The stories were varied such that each one had special interest not following a set pattern. The stories were often thought provoking yet not obscure as some modern short stories can be. I felt the time was well spent in the reading and left me with a good feeling about the stories and the characters.

Four and a half stars for me.