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Posts Tagged ‘Short stories’

legal briefs - stories by today's best legal thriller writersThis is a collection of legal stories by some very well-known legal writers, including John Grisham, Richard North Patterson and Lisa Scottoline. The collection has been put together by William Bernhardt, himself a known novelist in the genre and who has also contributed a story to this set. The stories have an undercurrent of crime, or rather, aspects of law-breaking which is where the lawyer angle comes in, but this is not a compendium of crime fiction. Instead, some of the stories bring out some of the more human elements of the much-maligned profession, drawing from the reader a range of emotions including that rare one for a lawyer – admiration.

I have always maintained that the short-story genre presents a huge challenge to a writer, to come up with a clever plot that grabs the attention early on and keeps the reader going till the end without him working out the ending until the last page. Most of the stories in this selection achieve that objective very well, making this collection an excellent read for the discerning reader of short stories.

Its hard to pick the best of the lot, but the ones that I really liked include Poetic Justice by Steve Martini, The Client by Richard North Patterson, The Jailhouse Lawyer by Phillip Margolin and Carrying Concealed by Lisa Scottoline. That’s not to say the rest are not nice, but rather that the plot & twist in these stories have been excellently conceived & written.

Very enjoyable selection.

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Evan Hunter who wrote this collection is perhaps better known by his pseudonym Ed McBain. I have enjoyed many of the books from the 87th Precinct series, so I am guilty of over-expectations from this collection of short stories. The first thing I realised was that hardly any of these stories have anything to do with crime, indeed in this collection of 12 stories, only one – or two – has – or have – a (tenuous) link with crime. This is a collection of, to put it simply, stories. Don’t expect a twist at the end or a problem to be solved or even a clean ending. Instead what we have here is a set of tales – simple and complex – written by a master of the art. Some are moving, some simply make you smile. Most of them touch a nerve somewhere. My personal favourites were Million Dollar Maybe, The Fallen Angel, The Innocent One, Alive Again and Pretty Eyes. Maybe that just betrays my prejudice towards clean endings or a closure of some sort in any tale. What is however evident in every one of these stories is the clarity of thought and the ability of a writer to convey the essence of any situation through mere words. Enjoy this book just for that experience.

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This is a collection of winners and runner-ups in the Best Short Story category of the Edgar awards, awarded annually by the Mystery Writers of America. The editor’s note at the start says that it is often the mere whim of a few individuals that separates an award winner from the runner-up and while everyone remembers the winner, the runner-up is quietly forgotten. This collection brings selections from both categories. It has such gems as Forsyth’s There Are No Snakes in Ireland (winner, 1983), Donald Westlake’s hilarious 1990 winner Too Many Crooks and Wendy Hornsby’s 1992 soulful winner Nine Sons. But the book also brings together some forgotten nominees such as P D James’ Moment of Power, Evan Hunter’s The Last Spin and Clark Howard’s Challenge The Widow-Maker. Many of the stories make an enjoyable read though there are a few tiresome ones too – I’ll let you decide for yourself which are the ones that stretch both the definition of an award nominee and your patience. Still, let the presence of a few bad eggs not deter lovers of the short mystery story genre, for this is one book that will be hard to put down.

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Review of Death on the Cape and Other Stories by Mary Higgins Clark

This is not a recent book but I am a huge fan of short stories of any genre, so when I came across this collection by a well known writer of suspense & crime fiction, it was hard to resist the same. The stories in this are largely of the crime-fiction variety, with the last three – including the title story – featuring a husband-wife pair of amateur crime-fighters. They cover a variety of settings and storylines, so the entertainment value out of this book is very good. I liked the title story – well written and a good plot. The lone psychological suspense story in the collection is a bit of a chiller – if you are fond of camping, perhaps it may give you the odd nightmare.

Enjoyable read.

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