The Best American Mystery Stories 2009

( 6 )

Overview

Best-selling novelist Jeffery Deaver edits this latest collection of the genre's finest from the past year. Featuring "gritty tales told with panache," this is a "must-read for anybody who cares about crime stories" (Booklist).

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Overview

Best-selling novelist Jeffery Deaver edits this latest collection of the genre's finest from the past year. Featuring "gritty tales told with panache," this is a "must-read for anybody who cares about crime stories" (Booklist).

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like previous anthologies in this “best of” series, the impressive 13th volume favors crime stories over whodunits. As series editor Otto Penzler notes in his foreword, “it has become increasingly difficult to find... a new murder method, or an original way to hide a vital clue” (though some may wonder why Deaver passed over Hal White’s impossible crime puzzler, “Murder at the Fall Festival,” listed in the appendix of “Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2008”). Readers interested in psychology will be more than satisfied by such tales as Joyce Carol Oates’s “Dear Husband,” a heartrending first-person account of a mother who slaughtered her children, and Tom Bissell’s “My Interview with the Avenger,” about a vigilante superhero. As always, part of the pleasure derives from exposure to writers who have yet to gain the acclaim they deserve, such as Randy Rohn (“The Man Who Fell in Love with the Stump of a Tree”) and Jonathan Tel (“Bola de la Fortuna”). (Oct.)\
Kirkus Reviews
Series editor Penzler's preference for trolling literary journals instead of relying on the usual mystery magazines and anthologies pays big dividends. Not a single one of the 20 reprints here is a dud. Standouts among the stories produced by mystery veterans are James Lee Burke's parable of a prison-camp inmate who refuses to box ("Big Midnight Special"); Chuck Hogan's account of the hamburger that will be a condemned convict's last meal ("Two Thousand Volrs"); and Kristine Kathrine Rusch's historical fantasy of a killer whose methodical execution of FBI agents reaches all the way to the top ("G-Men"). But there's excellent, if more formulaic work by Clark Howard, Rob Kantner, Robert McClure and Michael Connelly. "Free Radicals," Alice Munro's unexpected riff on a classic Agatha Christie story, tops the literary side, which provides a good deal more variety: Tom Bissell's portrait of a modern superhero ("My Interview with the Avenger"); Ron Carlson's tale of a Guatemalan baseball phenom whose fate is fatally linked to his scout's ("Beanball"); M.M.M. Hayes's depiction of a crusty old gentleman's unusual strategies for coping with change and death ("Meantime, Quentin Ghlee"); Randy Rohn's droll, creepy account of "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Stump of a Tree"; Jonathan Tel's story about a trucker whose life is upended by an accusation of rape and murder ("Bola de la Fortuna"); and series favorite Joyce Carol Oates' "Dear Husband," the feverish confession of a dying family-killer. N.J. Ayres, Alafair Burke, David Corbett, Nic Pizzolatto, Gary Craig Powell and Vu Tran round out the diverse list. A choice mix of solid work from mystery specialists and one-shots from authors who'd neverwant to be identified with the genre.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547237503
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/8/2009
  • Series: Best American Mystery Stories Series
  • Pages: 381
  • Sales rank: 704,170
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffery  Deaver

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

Born just outside Chicago in 1950 to an advertising copywriter father and stay-at-home mom, Jeffery Deaver was a writer from the start, penning his first book (a brief tome just two chapters in length) at age 11. He went on to edit his high school literary magazine and serve on the staff of the school newspaper, chasing the dream of becoming a crack reporter.

Upon earning his B.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri, Deaver realized that he lacked the necessary background to become a legal correspondent for the high-profile publications he aspired to, such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, so he enrolled at Fordham Law School. Being a legal eagle soon grew on Deaver, and rather than continue on as a reporter, he took a job as a corporate lawyer at a top Wall Street firm. Deaver's detour from the writing life wasn't to last, however; ironically, it was his substantial commute to the law office that touched off his third -- and current -- career. He'd fill the long hours on the train scribbling his own renditions of the kind of fiction he enjoyed reading most: suspense.

Voodoo, a supernatural thriller, and Always a Thief, an art-theft caper, were Deaver's first published novels. Produced by the now-defunct Paperjacks paperback original house, the books are no longer in print, but they remain hot items on the collector circuit. His first major outing was the Rune series, which followed the adventures of an aspiring female filmmaker in the power trilogy Manhattan Is My Beat (1988), Death of a Blue Movie Star (1990), and Hard News (1991).

Deaver's next series, this one featuring the adventures of ace movie location scout John Pellam, featured the thrillers Shallow Graves (1992), Bloody River Blues (1993), and Hell's Kitchen (2001). Written under the pen name William Jefferies, the series stands out in Deaver's body of work, primarily because it touched off his talent for focusing more on his vivid characters than on their perilous situations.

In fact, it is his series featuring the intrepid and beloved team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs that showcases Deaver at the top of his game. Confronting enormous odds (and always under somewhat gruesome circumstances), the embittered detective and his feisty partner and love interest made their debut in 1991's grisly caper The Bone Collector, and hooked fans for four more books: The Coffin Dancer (1998), The Empty Chair (2000), The Stone Monkey (2002), and The Vanishing Man(2003). Of the series, Kirkus Reviews observed, "Deaver marries forensic work that would do Patricia Cornwell proud to turbocharged plots that put Benzedrine to shame."

On the creation of Rhyme, who happens to be a paraplegic, Deaver explained to Shots magazine, "I wanted to create a Sherlock Holmes-ian kind of character that uses his mind rather than his body. He solves crimes by thinking about the crimes, rather than someone who can shoot straight, run faster, or walk into the bar and trick people into giving away the clues."

As for his reputation for conjuring up some of the most unsavory scenes in pop crime fiction, Deaver admits on his web site, "In general, I think, less is more, and that if a reader stops reading because a book is too icky then I've failed in my obligation to the readers."

Good To Know

Deaver revises his manuscripts "at least 20 or 30 times" before his publishers get to even see a version.

Two of his books have been made into major feature films. The first was A Maiden's Grave (the film adaptation was called Dead Silence), which starred James Garner and Marlee Matlin. The Bone Collector came next, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.

In addition to being a bestselling novelist, Deaver has also been a folksinger, songwriter, music researcher, and professional poet.

Deaver's younger sister, Julie Reece Deaver, is a fellow author who writes novels for young adults.

In our interview with Deaver, he reveals, "My inspiration for writing is the reader. I want to give readers whatever will excite and please them. It's absolutely vital in this business for authors to know their audience and to write with them in mind."

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Jefferies, Jeffery Wilds Deaver
    2. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 6, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    this is not your mothers mystery book

    i was looking for a good mystery book, you know a puzzle to solve with a dectective but what this mistitled book is about is not that. this is a collection of short stories none of which should be called mysteries. rather these are individual stories many about weirdos and their individual problems. this is probably the most disappointing book i have bought as a mystery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    Interestng mix of stories

    While I found it difficult to wade through a couple of the stories in this collection, overall, I found it an enjoyable read. It is especially pleasant to see shorter pieces from some of my favorite authors. Usually, a reader of lengthy novels, I found this collection refreshing, but had to remind myself that the genre is different, as I yearned for more development and connection with characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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