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4.1 31
by David Baldacci, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Gardner

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An instant New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller and “a thriller reader’s ultimate fantasy” (Booklist), this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide!

In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s


An instant New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller and “a thriller reader’s ultimate fantasy” (Booklist), this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide!

In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers pair their series characters in an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW).

The stories in FaceOff feature:
-Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch in “Red Eye,” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly
-John Rebus vs. Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time,” by Ian Rankin and Peter James
-Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast in “Gaslighted,” by R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child
-Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha,” by M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner
-Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper in “Surfing the Panther,” by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein
-Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport in “Rhymes With Prey,” by Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford
-Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack in “Infernal Night,” by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
-Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber in “Pit Stop,” by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay
-Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona in “Silent Hunt,” by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker
-Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce in “The Devil’s Bones,” by Steve Berry and James Rollins
-Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration,” by Lee Child and Joseph Finder

So sit back and prepare for a rollicking ride as your favorite characters go head-to-head with some worthy opponents in FaceOff—it’s a thrill-a-minute read.

Editorial Reviews

The Chicago Tribune
FaceOff is like a literary Mortal Kombat.”
Reader’s Digest
“Pow! That’s the sound of thriller fans’ heads exploding when they hear the bold premise of this anthology. . . . This collection is 11 fever dreams come true.”
“A thriller reader’s ultimate fantasy. How cool would it be if a pair of celebrated crime-fiction protagonists, the creations of different authors, teamed up together on a case, in a story jointly penned by the two writers? Even if it was just 1 pair, it would be pretty darn cool, but 11 pairs? Way cool. . . . Great fun for thriller fans.”
4.5 Star Review RT Book Reviews
"A marvelous anthology. This innovative concept entertains as each author works in concert with another to deliver a story worth every word on the page."
The Associated Press
“In FaceOff, nearly two dozen authors take their most popular characters and have them interact in 11 stories. . . . Familiarity with the authors and their creations is a huge plus in reading this collection, but not knowing a particular character or writer should not be a deterrent. . . . Some great collaborations and stories.”
Hartford Books Examiner
FaceOff is a unique offering in that it teams up some of the genre’s most esteemed authors in stories that allow their beloved protagonists to combine forces. . . . An impressive accomplishment that celebrates the genre in both style and substance. Enthusiasts will dig it for what it is—an abundance of chills and thrills delivered by an inspired lineup of literary heavyweights—while casual readers just might be tempted to pick it up for the sheer novelty of it all. Regardless of motivation, they will find themselves turning pages late into the night. This just may be the optimal summer read.”
The Newark Star-Ledger
“When I settle in with an anthology, it's that same wonderful feeling of being presented with a box of chocolates. You can start at one corner and methodically gorge yourself, or study the chart and pick out the caramels. With an anthology, you can start at page 1 and read through, or peruse the table of contents for favorite writers. If the anthology is good enough, it won't matter. And FaceOff is. In fact, it is brilliant. . . . The teaming up is what makes this anthology so special. It's a fair bet that fans will first turn to their favorite authors, but after devouring those stories, try the others. It is like a wonderful box of chocolates — without the guilt.”
Kirkus Reviews
Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, Ian Rankin's John Rebus and Lee Child's Jack Reacher are among the popular sleuths who mix it up in this story anthology from the International Thriller Writers trade group.Editor Baldacci stages 11 collaborations between leading mystery writers. Some of the character pairings are logical: It's easy enough for Rebus to travel from Edinburgh to London to collaborate with Peter James' Roy Grace on an odd cold case—an ailing survivor of the 1960s gang wars between the Mods and Rockers wants to be tried for a murder he says he committed back then. But a humorous meeting between the eternally wandering Reacher and Joseph Finder's Boston investigatorNick Heller is sheer happenstance. They end up in a Beantown bar seated on opposite sides of a nervous Joe whose life has been threatened byAlbanian mobsters. Being that many of these authors have rather similar styles, blending them is less of a challenge than one might think. Ultimately, the appeal of the stories depends on the liveliness of the writing. Among the winners is a pairing of Jeffery Deaver's forensic specialist Lincoln Rhyme (and partner Amelia Sachs) and John Sandford's profiler Lucas Davenport (and Lily Rothenburg) on a case involving a sadistic sex criminal. Another standout brings together lesser-known figures: Raymond Khoury's FBI man Sean Reilly and Linwood Barclay's building contractor Glen Garber (used only once before). The other duos are R.L. Stine (bringing a fictional wild card to the party with Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy) and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child; M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner; Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein; Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson; John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker; and Steve Berry and James Rollins.Promoting "face-offs" pitting oneauthor against another makes no sense since the goal here is cohesion. That said, this anthology handles its concept well.
Library Journal
★ 05/15/2014
Since 2006, the International Thriller Writers (ITW) organization has published multiple anthologies (Thriller, edited by James Patterson; Love Is Murder, edited by Sandra Brown) and audiobooks to become self-supporting. This one-of-a-kind collection consists of 11 stories featuring 22 authors—all ITW members—who pair off to present their iconic characters together in the same tale, whether a mystery, a courtroom drama, or an edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced thriller, with rip-roaring success. Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Joseph Finder's Nick Heller tag-team an interception with disaster while watching baseball on TV in a bar. Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie joins Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch on a cold case in Boston. In the story written by R.L. Stine, with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Slappy the ventriloquist dummy is pitted against Aloysius Pendergast in a disturbing psychological thriller. Steve Martini writes with Linda Fairstein to unite Paul Madriani and Alexandra Cooper in a drama about a stolen statue. VERDICT This concept for an anthology is unique, and readers familiar with the characters will jump right into these stories. For new readers, Baldacci includes an introduction to each story that quickly defines the main players. Highly recommended for all!—Susan Carr, Edwardsville P.L., IL

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Face Off

  • In 2004 two accomplished thriller writers harbored a dream. Their names: Gayle Lynds and David Morrell. To that point both Gayle and David had enjoyed long and successful careers. But something was missing. The ‘who-done-its’ had Mystery Writers of America. Those who specialize in fear, the Horror Writers Association. And the Romance Writers Association had long numbered thousands of members.

    Every genre seemed to have a trade group.

    Except thriller writers.

    So Gayle and David decided to start one.

    It began in Toronto on October 9, 2004, and from that small beginning sprang International Thriller Writers. Today over 2,500 men and women, from forty-nine countries around the world, hold membership. Eighty percent are working thriller writers. The rest are industry specialists, agents, editors, and fans. Every July the genre gathers in New York City for Thrillerfest. It’s quite literally summer camp for thriller writers and thriller enthusiasts. The Thriller, awarded every year in a variety of categories, is now the prize thriller writers covet, since it was both created and bestowed by their peers.

    From its beginning ITW strived to innovate. Doing what everyone else had done was never in its business plan. So, in 2007, when board member (and superb British thriller writer) David Hewson suggested that the organization not charge dues the idea was immediately embraced. If a writer is published by an ITW-recognized house (of which there are hundreds), then membership is free.

    So how would the organization sustain itself? Pay its bills?

    The answer came in another innovative way.

    The organization would create its own books that would be sold to publishing houses, the revenue from which would generate operating capital.

    Risky? You bet. Gutsy? Definitely.

    But an idea right up ITW’s alley.

    ITW’s first publication, Thriller (2006), was the first anthology of thriller short stories ever compiled (remember that precept about never doing what others had done). Thirty-three ITW members donated stories. James Patterson (an ITW member) agreed to serve as editor, and the result became one of the most popular anthologies of all time—selling over 500,000 copies worldwide. The revenue from that groundbreaking book not only provided ITW with initial operating money, it also endowed the organization. Thriller 2 (2009) and Love Is Murder (2012) followed. Keeping with this innovative theme ITW published the first audio book ever written only for the ear: The Chopin Manuscript, which became a resounding success. Edited by the incomparable Jeffery Deaver (an ITW member), Chopin was named the 2008 Audio Book of the Year. That was followed by another audio success, The Copper Bracelet. A move into the world of nonfiction came with Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, which continues to garner widespread critical acclaim. Another ITW board member, the legendary R. L. Stine (creator of Goosebumps), led the organization into the world of young adult fiction with Fear. Annually, ITW shepherds a class of writers through their challenging inaugural year in what is known as the Debut Author Program. First Thrills, edited by ITW founding member Lee Child, became an anthology of stories from the 2011 class.

    What an impressive résumé.

    All created by author-editors who volunteer their time and writers who donate their stories. Nearly every single penny earned from ITW’s publications has gone to the organization.

    And that will be the case with this book.

    I joined ITW early on. I agreed with Gayle and David. It was time for an organization of thriller writers. I’ve been waiting for a project where I could become more involved with the group, so when I was approached about editing FaceOff I immediately said yes.

    The entire concept intrigued me.

    Take iconic writers with iconic characters and face them off against each other. Normally, this could never happen. Each writer is under contract to his or her own respective publishing house. Teaming with another writer, from another house, and combining characters would contractually be impossible. Which house would publish the story? No way to make that call. And no way either house would allow the story to be published by a third company. Only with ITW’s model—that the stories are donated and the money goes to the organization—would this work.

    So this volume is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

    All of the contributors are ITW members. All eagerly agreed to participate. When I was told that ITW founding member Steve Berry, who worked with James Patterson on Thriller, would offer assistance as managing editor, I was thrilled. He’s the glue that held this project together. Thanks, Steve, for all you did.

    And thanks to all of the contributors.

    Where else will you be able to see Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme meet John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport? Or Patrick Kenzie entering the world of Harry Bosch? Fans of Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone and James Rollins’s Gray Pierce have clamored for years to see those characters together. Then there’s Lee Child’s Jack Reacher meeting up with Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller in a bar in Boston—and doing what Reacher does best. Plus Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani becoming entangled with Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper. And the ever-odd Aloysius Pendergast coming face-to-face with the scary world of R. L. Stine.

    These are just a few examples of what lies in the pages ahead. All of the stories come with an introduction that describes the writers, their characters, and a bit about the story’s gestation. At the end of the book are contributor biographies—a way to learn more about each of these amazing talents.

    You’re in for a real treat.

    So let the face-offs begin.

    David Baldacci

    June 2014

  • Meet the Author

    Introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci and stories by Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Gardner, Dennis Lehane, Steve Berry, Jeffery Deaver, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, James Rollins, Joseph Finder, Steve Martini, Heather Graham, Ian Rankin, Linda Fairstein, M.J. Rose, R.L. Stine, Raymond Khoury, Linwood Barclay, John Lescroart, T. Jefferson Parker, F. Paul Wilson, and Peter James.

    Brief Biography

    Northern Virginia
    Date of Birth:
    August 5, 1960
    Place of Birth:
    Richmond, VIrginia
    B.A. in Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1982; J.D., University of Virginia, 1986

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    FaceOff 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I must confess, I had been looking forward to this publication for many months and perhaps that may lend a little to my reluctance to give this 5 stars. Not a major fan of short stories, this was a bit of an adjustment for me. I read almost all the authors included and follow their character series almost 100%. I found myself feeling shorted at the end of almost every story. I don't think there was ever a point I felt the traits of the individual characters came through the storyline. Their interaction was simply that. It was not characteristic of the writer's character personality in their stand-alone plots. Having said all this, it was still easy reading and enjoyable to turn page after page. I don't think you are going to run out and purchase an ebook from one of the authors you haven't read prior based on the character usage but it helps broaden your knowledge base of fictional characters roaming or literary world!
    KathywithaK27 More than 1 year ago
    Ever wondered how your favorite literary characters would fair in a Celebrity Death Match with each other? I feel like this collection of short stories was exactly that. Twenty Three of the best thriller writers set out to create unique experiences with characters that all of their fans will know. Faceoff was something I never saw coming and I am terribly happy that I agreed to read this title because I came away with some delightful reads and a few shocks along the way. From Michael Connelly's detective hero Harry Bosch coming to my own backyard Boston to run into Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie to the King of all horror madness R.L. Stine creating a crazy story with Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, these aren't stereotypical stories thrown together because they just read the same. Each story was unique and interesting, while still giving you that jolt of energy and surprise that most thriller junkies have come to expect from these masters of trade. It's very clear that these are masters of their trade form page one to the end. That being said, I have to tell you that as someone who normally doesn't read a lot of this genre, I wasn't lost and confused. In fact most of these regular characters I really knew nothing about coming into this book and it never intimidated me. I could tell there were nuances about characters that I missing but I feel like a fan of an author would get it and like that incorporation, while another reader that has never read something by that same author isn't going to be scared off because they don't have prior knowledge of a character. That was the biggest part I was scared of when picking this book up and it was time wasted worrying because I didn't put it down for two days. This is exactly what I expect to find in a book with such a long list of credentials backing it up!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I was not familiar with some of the authors, but now I want to read all of them. The ones I am familiar with==it is fun to see that you know where each one contributed. Great fun to read.
    StephWard More than 1 year ago
    4.5 Stars 'FaceOff' is an completely unique anthology that puts favorite literary heroes from today's bestselling thrillers against one another in a collection of eleven short stories. I found it to be a really fun and easy read - mostly due to the fact that it's a collection of short stories and because of the fantastic writing and fast pace of all the stories. I felt like it was a reader's version of video games that pit superheroes or villains against one another to see who would win. Only this time we're putting top notch main characters from big series against each other! It was thoroughly original - I haven't come across anything like this before in my reading experiences. I'm a huge fan of thrillers and suspense novels, so I was familiar with the majority of the authors and the characters featured, which only added to my enjoyment of the book, because I could cheer on my favorite heroes in each story. Even if you aren't normally a reader of the genre, these stories are packed full of action and suspense - and I feel they appeal to fans of several genres. The quality of the writing was evident in each story. I was pulled into each one right away, which normally doesn't happen for me with short stories. The pace was always fast with a natural flow and fantastic attention to detail - all the things that make these authors and their books so popular. I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed this book; it definitely exceeded any expectations I may have had. Highly recommended for fans of all genres, especially those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and thrillers. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Just plain fun. Will try a few new authors after reading their short story.
    tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
    A faceoff in hockey occurs when two opposing players face each other in a circle or at center ice and attempt to direct the puck to a teammate when the ref tosses it between them. In other circumstances, a faceoff implies one or more forces facing each other, usually in opposition. So at the very least this, the third book to be published on behalf of the International Thrillers Writers, comprising some of the best-known authors of the thriller-mystery genre, whose proceeds fund the organization, is a misnomer. It is edited by David Baldacci, who wrote an introduction to each of the 11 short stories included in the volume. The idea was to pair each author’s iconic protagonist with that of another, cooperating in the plot to solve a crime or mystery. It would not be fair to mention some of the authors and not others, since they are of equal stature. Some of the stories are interesting, others less so. In facing off, neither the authors nor the protagonist do. They work together, sometimes even beyond the law or ethics. Among the many problems developing stories under the concept includes working out where the two lead characters will operate, since most were domiciled in separate locations, sometimes on opposite sides of the country. Needless to say, the writing and creativity are the result of the top writers in the field. It’s just too bad their hands were tied behind their backs by the premise. One would think with the best minds in the business, a better idea could have been developed.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I don't usually like short stories, but these are the best.
    Anonymous 12 months ago
    Some were good, some were boring. Different sort of read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Good authors got together for sloppy easy-reading...put together by email on a lunchbreak...Good idea bad Book..each piece.too short to catch your interest...
    Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
    What would happen if Dorothy and the Scarecrow visited Narnia? How about James Bond assisting the Impossible Missions Force, or perhaps rubbing shoulders with Mossad legend Gabriel Allon? Such crossovers can occasionally be worked out, but are typically impossible due to having to get the various writers together, and worse, getting their PUBLISHERS to cooperate with each other. Enter the International Thriller Writers. As a fund-raiser for the organization, they DID manage to get authors to collaborate on putting their characters together in a short story. SO … Raymond Khoury's Sean Reilly can meet Linwood Barclay's Glen Garber. Lee Child and Joseph Finder can tell of the time Jack Reacher met Nick Heller. Lucas Davenport's and Lincoln Rhyme's joint investigation can finally be told by their creators, John Sandford and Jeffrey Deaver. Ian Rankin's John Rebus and Peter James' Roy Grace can both find themselves on the same case (my favorite story in the book, I admit). And – in the one of the most bizarre pairing I could imagine, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child can pit Pendergast against R.L. Stine's Slappy, the Ventriloquist Dummy. I found that some stories worked well, while others were a stretch. (Most readers may feel the same thing, but have different stories in their own plus and minus columns.) However, it's an admirable effort to even TRY to accomplish what the authors and their organization were able to put together, and it's worth a read. You will have the opportunity to read a new, untold adventure of some of your favorite characters, and perhaps be exposed to some you were unfamiliar with, as well. RATING: 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Hi every one ho are you to day my name is lilly and forgive my fins is one of the best dooks i jave a ever read in my life. I highly recomend it to every one who liks romance and thrill seaking adventure Hop you injoy this book
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really liked this format. Several of my favorite authors took part in this book and it gave me a chance to preview some authors I hadn't yet tried. Now I know of some more authors that I would be willing to try out.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I didn't realize it was horror, too bad. I had a heck of a time getting it to load. now I know why. I don't read anything involves harm to children, or perpetuates the same.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I understand that annually, the Thrill Writers' organization produces a book of short stories that is sold to the public to raise funds to support organization activities. I believe there is a competitive aspect to this process, by which member-authors are paired to co-write stories under certain topic guidelines. Ultimately, organization members rate the submissions and determine annual winners. To be blunt, while I appreciated the participating writers' skill, imagination, and partnership, the assigned co-writer pairings and topic guidelines were far-fetched and ridiculous. The end result, 'Faceoff', was weak. I feel that some of my favorite authors who participated in this effort, took my purchase money and used me. While Faceoff may be a good organizational fund-raising activity, it certainly was not worth my time or money. I will not be buying next Year's offering.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago