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The Best American Mystery Stories 2014

The Best American Mystery Stories 2014

by Laura Lippman (Editor), Otto Penzler (Editor)

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“With so many great authors contributing to this fiction collection . . . it doesn’t take detecting skills to discover the gem. And every story dazzles . . . These stories, in prose both elegant and compelling, get to the heart of why people do what they do.” — USA Today

The Best American Mystery Stories 2014 will be


“With so many great authors contributing to this fiction collection . . . it doesn’t take detecting skills to discover the gem. And every story dazzles . . . These stories, in prose both elegant and compelling, get to the heart of why people do what they do.” — USA Today

The Best American Mystery Stories 2014 will be selected by “writing powerhouse” (USA Today) Laura Lippman. With her popular Tess Monaghan series and her New York Times best-selling standalone novels, Lippman has greatly expanded the boundaries of modern mystery fiction and psychological suspense.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The 20 entries in series editor Otto Penzler’s 18th annual collection of crime stories impress with their quality, diversity, and almost complete absence of private detectives or policemen as main character. The many gems include “Almost Like Christmas,” a recently discovered, heart-wrenching story by the late Joseph Heller, as well as selections from such well-known mystery writers as James Lee Burke (“Getting Across Jordan”) and Megan Abbott (“My Heart Is Either Broken”). There are also strong offerings from mainstream authors, such as Russell Banks’s “Former Marine,” which is about an elderly bank robber and his sons, and Annie Proulx’s “Rough Deeds,” which reaches back to colonial times. Charlaine Harris displays her sly wit in “Small Kingdoms,” in which a high school principal defends her turf, and Matthew Neill Null’s “Gauley Season” takes readers wild river rafting in West Virginia, where not all dangers come from the water. Guest editor Lippman has chosen wisely. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber. (Oct.)
Library Journal
★ 10/10/2014
The 2014 edition of this annual anthology features Lippman (After I'm Gone) at the editorial helm, tapping a range of authors from the well established to the not-yet-known, and the results are haunting. Many stories feature intriguing female characters, including kidnapped girls (Patricia Engel's “Aida” and Roxane Gay's “I Will Follow You”), a questionable mother (Megan Abbott's “My Heart Is Either Broken”), and a distraught sister (Laura Van Den Berg's “Antarctica”). Others explore mysteries as varied as the relationship between man and wife (Ed Kurtz's “A Good Marriage”) and the story behind a pet's grave (Jim Allyn's “Princess Anne”). But standout stories from Annie Proulx (“Rough Deeds”) and Charlaine Harris (“Small Kingdoms”) are some of the best of the bunch—especially the latter, wherein a high school principal explores how her past work experiences, carefully applied, can benefit the school community.
Verdict This collection of mystery stories is by turns chilling and thought provoking and a good choice for readers who enjoy books by Lippman or Jeffery Deaver and who appreciate reading both new authors and proven writers in the genre.—Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins

(c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
The 20 top picks this year span the globe in setting and cross the spectrum in tone. When you think of criminal malfeasance, you may flash to mean streets and big cities. But crimes sometimes pop up where you least expect them. An overgrown garden outside South Bend, Indiana, hides buried treasure in Jim Allyn's "Princess Anne." A rural river holds a deadly secret in Matthew Neill Null's "Gauley Season." A virgin Maine timber forest becomes the scene of a careless crime with deadly consequences in Annie Proulx's "Rough Deeds." Evil can be all too well-planned, as in Michelle Butler Hallett's "Bush-Hammer Finish," set in Newfoundland. But David H. Ingram's "The Covering Storm" shows that all the planning in the world can't outpace luck in 19th-century Galveston. The suburbs provide fertile ground for mayhem in Patricia Engel's "Aida," Charlaine Harris' "Small Kingdoms" and Ed Kurtz's "A Good Marriage." Crime also thrives in the wide-open spaces, as in James Lee Burke's almost pastoral "Going Across Jordan." It even pokes up in the world's least populated place, as Laura Van Den Berg demonstrates in "Antarctica." And in "My Heart Is Either Broken" and "Festered Wounds," Megan Abbott and Nancy Pauline Simpson show that many crimes take place in the smallest of spaces—the human heart. Lippman and series editor Penzler set a sumptuous and surprisingly varied table for those who like their thrills short, sweet and creepy.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Best American Mystery Stories Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(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 bookstore solely dedicated to mystery fiction. He has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.

Laura Lippman is the author of eleven novels featuring Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan, eight stand-alone novels, including After I'm Gone coming out in February, and a short story collection. Her six most recent books have all been New York Times bestsellers. Lippman has won numerous literary prizes for her work, including the Edgar®, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity Awards.

Brief Biography

Baltimore, Maryland
Date of Birth:
January 31, 1959
Place of Birth:
Atlanta, Georgia
B.S., Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, 1981

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