“One of the top ten storytellers in the world.” Los Angeles Times on JEFFREY ARCHER
“There isn't a better story-teller alive.” Larry King on JEFFREY ARCHER
“Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.” The Boston Globe on JEFFREY ARCHER
“Cunning plots, silken style…. Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader.” The New York Times on JEFFREY ARCHER
“Archer is a master entertainer.” Time on JEFFREY ARCHER
“A storyteller in the class of Alexandre Dumas…unsurpassed skill.” Washington Post on JEFFREY ARCHER
“Outrageous and top-notch terror.” Vogue on SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT?
“The only difference between this book and The Day of the Jackal is that Archer is a better writer.” Chicago Tribune on SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT?
“Authentic, literate, and scary.” Cosmopolitan on SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT?
“The countdown is the thing; the pace, the pursuit, the what-next, the how-is-it-going-to-come-out…” Boston Globe on SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT?
“Holds the reader in a vicelike grip.” Penthouse on SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT?
“A compelling read.” Newsday on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“Dynamite…plot twists and a slam-bang finale.” The Washington Post on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.” The Boston Globe on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“Thoroughly enjoyable.” Publishers Weekly on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“Compulsively readable.” Library Journal on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“Gripping.” The Vancouver Sun on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“An exercise in wish fulfillment. The good may suffer, but the bad will get theirs in the end. The fun is watching it unfold.” St. Petersburg Times (Florida) on A PRISONER OF BIRTH
“Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.” The Boston Globe on CAT O'NINE TALES
“The economy and precision of Archer's prose never fails to delight. The criminal doesn't always get away with his crime and justice doesn't always prevail, but the reader wins with each and every story.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) on CAT O'NINE TALES
“A worthy successor to The Da Vinci Code.” Liz Smith, New York Post on FALSE IMPRESSION
“Archer is back in top form with [this] latest thriller.” Library Journal (starred review) on FALSE IMPRESSION
“Thoroughly imagined...entertaining...thrilling.” Denver Post on FALSE IMPRESSION
“Murder and a high-stakes art-world theft are cleverly blended [in this] exciting...global thrill-ride.” Vancouver Sun on FALSE IMPRESSION
Archer's bibliography contains 18 novels, three plays, and, with this newest title, six short story collections. During his recent travels, Archer, inevitably aware that short stories have their root in oral storytelling, gathered these colorful anecdotes, then spun them into whimsical tales. His refined characterization, penchant for British history, and trademark inclusion of cunning twists typify these 15 tales, three of which he situates outside the British Isles. However, although readers have been drawn to his works for over 30 years, reviewers panned his most recent novel, Paths of Glory, for its excessive fictionalization of history. Likewise, critics of his previous stories anticipated a future Cheever or Fitzgerald; this collection may diminish their optimism. Here, awaiting the upcoming twist upon which hangs each tale also requires absorption of excessive plot developments. Archer is now in his 70s and has written for over 34 years; his noted style seems tedious and worn.Verdict For appreciative short story readers as well as for comprehensive, contemporary short story collections.—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
A collection of O. Henry–esque stories from British author Archer (Sons of Fortune, 2003, etc.).
The prolific author of novels, plays and screenplays returns to the story format with this book of whimsical, sometimes ironic pieces. Some work, some don't, but even the least of these is entertaining. The title, taken from a line penned by Shakespeare, sets up the premise of the book, which opens with the tale of a young man betrothed to a beautiful woman who is clearly above his station. After he successfully proposes, she in turn proposes an endeavor that tests their relationship, as well as his mettle. This story, like the others, is designed to give the reader a bit of an O. Henry moment and hinges on the idea that nothing is as it seems. "Better the Devil You Know" is a particularly satisfying tale in which an evil, ailing corporate mogul is given a second chance at life, while an innocent pays the price. In the end, though, true to Archer's theme, someone gets an unexpected and unpalatable comeuppance. There is nothing in this collection that will stick with readers once the covers close. It's not great art, but it is great, slightly old-fashioned entertainment, marked by simplicity and unpretentiousness—that's good enough to turn someone who doesn't normally read short stories into a fan of the genre.
This is the ideal book to pop into a bag or keep in the car and carry to pass the time, since the stories are short, easy to read and simple.