The Best American Mystery Stories 2004

Overview

Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected - and ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $32.51   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$32.51
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(258)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$60.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(149)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected - and most popular - of its kind. Assembled by best-selling suspense author Nelson DeMille, The Best American Mystery Stories 2004 contains a spectacular array of stories by mystery veterans and talented newcomers. Follow a chain reaction that saves a woman's life, visit a house haunted by a husband's violent killing spree, enter the high-stakes world of Las Vegas gambling, watch the line between reality and dream blur, travel with a bored salesman driven to crime, and much more. Encompassing all aspects of the genre, this year's selections are sure to quicken pulses, send chills down the spine, and keep readers continually guessing.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

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. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Oct. 14) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This eighth installment showcases short mysteries from the likes of Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeff Abbott, and Scott Wolven. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618329687
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/14/2004
  • Series: Best American Mystery Stories Series
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Otto Penzler is a renowned mystery editor, publisher, columnist, and owner of New York's The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstores solely dedicated to mystery fiction. He has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.

Biography

Nelson DeMille has a dozen bestselling novels to his name and over 30 million books in print worldwide, but his beginnings were not so illustrious. Writing police detective novels in the mid-1970s, DeMille created the pseudonym Jack Cannon: "I used the pen name because I knew I wanted to write better novels under my own name someday," DeMille told fans in a 2000 chat.

Between 1966 and 1969, Nelson DeMille served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. When he came home, he finished his undergraduate studies (in history and political science), then set out to become a novelist. "I wanted to write the great American war novel at the time," DeMille said in an interview with January magazine. "I never really wrote the book, but it got me into the writing process." A friend in the publishing industry suggested he write a series of police detective novels, which he did under a pen name for several years.

Finally DeMille decided to give up his day job as an insurance fraud investigator and commit himself to writing full time -- and under his own name. The result was By the Rivers of Babylon (1978), a thriller about terrorism in the Middle East. It was chosen as a Book of the Month Club main selection and helped launch his career. "It was like being knighted," said DeMille, who now serves as a Book of the Month Club judge. "It was a huge break."

DeMille followed it with a stream of bestsellers, including the post-Vietnam courtroom drama Word of Honor (1985) and the Cold War spy-thriller The Charm School (1988) Critics praised DeMille for his sophisticated plotting, meticulous research and compulsively readable style. For many readers, what made DeMille stand out was his sardonic sense of humor, which would eventually produce the wisecracking ex-NYPD officer John Corey, hero of Plum Island (1997) and The Lion's Game (2000).

In 1990 DeMille published The Gold Coast, a Tom Wolfe-style comic satire that was his attempt to write "a book that would be taken seriously." The attempt succeeded, in terms of the critics' response: "In his way, Mr. DeMille is as keen a social satirist as Edith Wharton," wrote The New York Times book reviewer. But he returned to more familiar thrills-and-chills territory in The General's Daughter, which hit no. 1 on The New York Times' Bestseller list and was made into a movie starring John Travolta. Its hero, army investigator Paul Brenner, returned in Up Country (2002), a book inspired in part by DeMille's journey to his old battlegrounds in Vietnam.

DeMille's position in the literary hierarchy may be ambiguous, but his talent is first-rate; there's no questioning his mastery of his chosen form. As a reviewer for the Denver Post put it, "In the rarefied world of the intelligent thriller, authors just don't get any better than Nelson DeMille."

Good To Know

DeMille composes his books in longhand, using soft-lead pencils on legal pads. He says he does this because he can't type, but adds, "I like the process of pencil and paper as opposed to a machine. I think the writing is better when it's done in handwriting."

In addition to his novels, DeMille has written a play for children based on the classic fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin."

DeMille says on his web site that he reads mostly dead authors -- "so if I like their books, I don't feel tempted or obligated to write to them." He mentions writing to a living author, Tom Wolfe, when The Bonfire of the Vanities came out; but Wolfe never responded. "I wouldn't expect Hemingway or Steinbeck to write back -- they're dead. But Tom Wolfe owes me a letter," DeMille writes.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Jack Cannon; Kurt Ladner; Brad Matthews; Michael Weaver; Ellen Kay
    2. Hometown:
      Long Island, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 22, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in political science, Hofstra University, 1974
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

As editor and introducer of The Best American Mystery Stories 2004, I bid you welcome.

You needn’t read any further, but may now go directly to the stories.
Still here? Well, then, I won’t take much of your time.

In the beginning was Otto Penzler, a legend in the field of mystery publishing, and a very persuasive gentleman. When Mr.
Penzler asked me to be the editor of this anthology, I explained that I wasn’t qualified to take on the task. He agreed, but in turn explained to me that his first and second choices had dropped out at the last minute, and I apparently owed him a favor.

Like many of my generation, I grew up on mystery short stories, devouring anthologies and collections as well as mystery magazines.

My favorite mystery stories, and probably everyone’s favorites, were Edgar Allan Poe, and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
The short story is a deceptively simple format, and the mystery shorts seem even simpler, until you try to write one.

Two of the first things I ever had published were mystery stories: one titled “Life or Breath,” in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the other called “The Mystery at Thorn Mansion,” in the now-defunct Mystery Monthly.

I also have a file of rejection letters and enough unpublished short stories to kindle wet logs.

It became obvious to me that short stories are not easy to write just because they are short. Which takes me back to my high school days, when I was a sprinter on the track team. Anyone can run a hundred-yard dash, but the difference between doing it in 11 seconds or 10.2 seconds is the difference between last place and first place.

Obviously, when it came to writing, I wasn’t a sprinter, so I tried out for the long-distance team and became a novelist, which I found to be a lot easier.

The moral, if there is a moral, is that the short story, like the short race, needs to be close to perfect; there is no recovery from a bad start, no time to get a second wind, and no forgiveness for even one misstep.

And so, I am honored to have been chosen to pick the top twenty stories for this anthology, and to join a long and illustrious list of past editors whom I will mention here in the hope that future editors will mention me: Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Ed McBain, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, James Ellroy, and Michael Connelly.

Those authors are themselves the best of the best, but I’m sure that they, like me, have trouble judging the works of others.
I am currently one of four judges for the Book-of-the-Month Club, along with Annie Proulx, Bill Bryson, and Anna Quindlen, and I can tell you that most authors would rather not be judges of other authors—I’d rather be a wine judge, or (ecstasy!) a beauty pageant judge.

So, when Otto Penzler asked me to pick the best twenty mystery stories from more than fifty entries, I was not being coy or humble when I said I was not qualified; I am actually qualified, I just don’t like to read with the knowledge that I’ve got to winnow and toss.
Newsday once asked me—and Susan Isaacs and Roger Rosenblatt—to judge essays and fiction pieces sent in by hundreds of readers on the topic of Long Island history. We had to pick one nonfiction and one fiction piece, and I can tell you, these were among the worst pieces of writing any of us had ever read. Thankfully, there were two or three pieces in each category that were good, so picking the winners was not that difficult.
But here we have a different situation; without exception all fifty mystery stories that I read were very good to excellent, and the difference in quality was like the difference between the 11-second hundred-yard dash—very impressive—and the 10.2-second hundred- yard dash—exceptional.

I had great fun reading, but not so much fun picking. In fact, it was agonizing, and I suggested to Otto Penzler a bigger, fatter book of, say, fifty of the Best American Mystery Stories.

“Not possible,” he said. “It would look like your last bloated novel.”

So, I went back to the stories, this time using a single criterion: Did I really want to reread this story?

Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are probably the only things I’ve read six, eight, or ten times each. I can pick up a collection of Sherlock Holmes anytime, anyplace, open at random, and enjoy the story as much as or even more than when I first read it.
So, for better or worse, without too much further agonizing, I have picked what I hope you agree are the Best American Mystery Stories for the 2004 edition.

Enjoy.

AAnd try to pick the best five.

Nelson De Mille

Copyright © 2004 by Houghton Mifflin. Introduction copyright © 2004 by Nelson De Mille. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword • ix

Introduction by Nelson DeMille • xii

jeff abbott Bet on Red • 1

jeffrey robert bowman Stonewalls • 20

william j. carroll, jr.
Height Advantage • 34

benjamin cavell Evolution • 69

christopher coake All Through the House • 110

patrick michael finn Where Beautiful Ladies Dance for You • 151

rob kantner How Wendy Tudhope Was Saved from Sure and Certain Death • 172

jonathon king Snake Eyes • 195

stephen king Harvey’s Dream • 216

michael knight Smash and Grab • 226

richard lange Bank of America • 238

tom larsen Lids • 260

dick lochte Low Tide • 280

richard a. lupoff The Incident of the Impecunious Chevalier • 300

joyce carol oates Doll: A Romance of the Mississippi • 322

jack o’connell The Swag from Doc Hawthorne’s • 341

frederick waterman Best Man Wins • 362

timothy williams Something About Teddy • 374

scott wolven El Rey • 387

angela zeman Green Heat • 400

Contributors’ Notes • 421

Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2003 • 431

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)