Highly recommended for all fiction collections.... ... pound-for-pound the best reading value of the season... So how's the mix? It's as if it were made by a good friend who knows just what you like--and even remembers that you like to be surprised once in a while 
*starred review
*Transgressions. Forge: Tor. May 2005. c.784p. ed. by
Ed McBain. ISBN 0-7653-0851-7. $27.95. M

Transgressions are not normally viewed as
opportunities, but this eponymous collection of novellas
by Stephen King, Lawrence Block, Walter Mosley, Anne
Perry, and more offer a superb opportunity for readers
of mystery, crime, and suspense fiction. Compiled by
perennial best-selling author McBain, these ten tales,
three to four times longer than a typical short story,
provide just enough vital depth to entrap readers, as
well as the requisite brevity to fit them into one
collection. From the disaffected teenager in Joyce Carol
Oates's "The Corn Maiden" to the haunted 9/11 survivor
in King's "The Things They Left Behind" to the reluctant
grave robber in Sharyn McCrumb's "The Resurrection
Man," this assortment of stories and characters does
not disappoint. Although the ten novellas analyze a
variety of topics and situations, they all exhibit the level
of quality expected from such a stellar collection of
writing talent. Highly recommended for all fiction
collections.-Ken Bolton, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY

Publishers Weekly
(March 21, 2005; 0-7653-0851-7)

*Starred review

As editor McBain admits in his introduction, it was a bit
of a challenge to persuade 10 superstar authors (well,
only nine, since he's also a contributor) to each write an
original novella, with its awkward length between
10,000 and 40,000 words, for this excellent crime and
suspense anthology, but he's come up with an
impressive roster. One can't help wondering how a
writer like Donald E. Westlake, who writes so much
under several names, can fit in a jolly new story,
"Walking Around Money," about his humorous burglar
hero Dortmunder . And how does Anne Perry, who now
writes three separate series and is probably planning
another, move to a completely different period with
"Hostages," a touching portrait of a woman caught up in
the current Irish troubles who tries to keep her sanity by
doing household chores? Walter Mosley, on the other
hand, seems to be looking for new ways to get his
points across: his "Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at
Large: Walking the Line" might be the fuse to light a fire.
McBain's own "Merely Hate" lends fresh insight into his
87th Precinct series. The remaining novellas, from the
ubiquitous Joyce Carol Oates and the welcome return
of Lawrence Block's hit man Keller to the diverse
pleasures of Sharyn McCrumb and Stephen King,
make this hefty volume pound-for-pound the best
reading value of the season. Agent, Jane Gelfman at
Gelfman-Schneider Literary. $200,000 marketing
budget. (May 10) Copyright 2005 Reed Business

(March 1, 2005; 0-7653-0851-7)

Reading an anthology is a bit like listening to a musical
sampler (what record collectors once lovingly called a
mix tape); it's always tempting to have your favorite
bands cued up one after another, but sometimes you're
not in the mood to change moods every few minutes.
These 10 brand-new novellas offer longer grooves than
short stories, but it's still a valid concern: Can fans of
Anne Perry also shake it to Ed McBain? Maybe it's the
relief of not having to carry a book by themselves, or
maybe it's the fun of trying a rarely used format, but
these big-name authors write like the pressure is off. In
Walking around Money, Donald Westlake sidles his
thief, Dortmunder, through a deadpan-hilarious tale that
should also serve as a Zen how-to for budding writers;
in The Corn Maiden, Joyce Carol Oates offers an
impressionistic tabloid thriller about a mean girl who
abducts a slow classmate for ritual sacrifice; in
Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large, Walter Mosley
profiles an irresistible, offbeat hero through a
journalism student who answers a want ad for a scribe
; in Keller's Adjustment, Lawrence Block's reliable
assassin finds himself having existential thoughts
about golf communities after 9/11. So how's the mix?
It's as if it were made by a good friend who knows just
what you like--and even remembers that you like to be
surprised once in a while. --Keir Graff Copyright 2005


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