American Crimesby Martin H. Greenberg (Editor)
There are a few things that are distinctly and unmistakably American, such as the Wild West cowboy and jazz. But almost more American than either of those iconic creations is the field of crime fiction, which this country has popularized more than almost any other. As a nation, we seem to have a nearly insatiable appetite for stories of murder, larceny and duplicity, whether from the point of view of the cops or the robbers or somebody caught in that ambivalently grey zone between.
Although crime fiction is obviously a genre, with familiar archetypal characters and recognizable plot conventions, that doesn't mean that every story is cut from the same mold. American crime fiction is as varied as the land itself, and to showcase this variety, we've included stories that hail from the length and breadth of the country, showing that each region of American is just as unique as the crimes committed therein.
Among the 27 stories selected for this anthology are the following:
- "Lucky Penny" by Linda Barnes. In 1985, Barnes was nominated for the American Mystery Award for this Boston-set story about a sarcastic female cabbie and ex-cop who gets robbedby a guy who then immediately throws all the money away.
- "Keller on Horseback" by Lawrence Block. A man flies a thousand miles into the Old West territory of Wyoming to kill somebody he's never met.
- "Oil and Water" by J.A. Jance. In Washington state, a pair of detectives (one home-grown, the other a Chicago transplant) but heads with their differing styles while investigating the murder of a wealthy man's wife.
- "Small Homicide" by Ed McBain. An eight-month-old baby is found dead in a church pew in this story from McBain's iconic New York 77th Precinct series.
- "Craps" by Joyce Carol Oates. A story with a twist about a woman goes with her friend to Las Vegas on a lark and ends up the good-luck talisman for a Texas millionaire addicted to the craps tables.
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