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The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021

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Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new The Best American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor. Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively, writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. It was difficult--painful Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new The Best American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor. Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively, writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. It was difficult--painful even--to narrow this year's Best American Mystery and Suspense to only twenty stories. Spanning from a mediocre spa in Florida, to New York's gritty East Village, to death row in Alabama, this collection reveals boundless suspense in small, quiet moments, offering startling twists in the least likely of places. From a powerful response to hateful bullying, to a fight for health care, to a gripping desperation to vote, these stories are equal parts shocking, devastating, and enthralling, revealing the tension pulsing through our everyday lives and affirming that mystery and suspense writing is better than ever before.


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Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new The Best American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor. Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively, writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. It was difficult--painful Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new The Best American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor. Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively, writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. It was difficult--painful even--to narrow this year's Best American Mystery and Suspense to only twenty stories. Spanning from a mediocre spa in Florida, to New York's gritty East Village, to death row in Alabama, this collection reveals boundless suspense in small, quiet moments, offering startling twists in the least likely of places. From a powerful response to hateful bullying, to a fight for health care, to a gripping desperation to vote, these stories are equal parts shocking, devastating, and enthralling, revealing the tension pulsing through our everyday lives and affirming that mystery and suspense writing is better than ever before.

30 review for The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: Taken from Let Her Be by Lisa Unger - We move away, the bell ringing as we exit. Emily is far ahead of me, out in the night. She doesn't hear him say before the door closes: "They say the brother did it. There was always something off about that boy." I pretend I didn't hear it, don't let it upset me the way it used to. There were endless rumours then - a beautiful young girl dies by accident, and no one wants to accept that. No one wants to accept the randomness of it all. Believe me, I EXCERPT: Taken from Let Her Be by Lisa Unger - We move away, the bell ringing as we exit. Emily is far ahead of me, out in the night. She doesn't hear him say before the door closes: "They say the brother did it. There was always something off about that boy." I pretend I didn't hear it, don't let it upset me the way it used to. There were endless rumours then - a beautiful young girl dies by accident, and no one wants to accept that. No one wants to accept the randomness of it all. Believe me, I get it. ABOUT 'THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE 2021': Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new TheBest American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor. Beginning with the 2021 volume, the annual short story anthology The Best American Mystery Stories will become The Best American Mystery and Suspense. New series editor Steph Cha and best-selling guest editor Alafair Burke select the best short mystery and suspense fiction of the year. “Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively,” writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. “It was difficult—painful even—to narrow this year’s Best American Mystery and Suspense to only twenty stories.” Spanning from a mediocre spa in Florida, to New York’s gritty East Village, to death row in Alabama, this collection reveals boundless suspense in small, quiet moments, offering startling twists in the least likely of places. From a powerful response to hateful bullying, to a fight for health care, to a gripping desperation to vote, these stories are equal parts shocking, devastating, and enthralling, revealing the tension pulsing through our everyday lives and affirming that mystery and suspense writing is better than ever before. MY THOUGHTS: There's a very mixed bag of stories in this year's collection. There is a small handful of excellent stories: Neighbours by Nikki Dolsan; Green Eyed Monster by Charis Jones; Slow Burner by Laura Lippman; and Let Her Be by Lisa Unger. But the majority of the stories sat in the 2.5 - 3.5 range for me. My biggest gripe about most of the stories were that they weren't suspenseful, nor were they a mystery. The ones I have rated highly were either intriguing, or had my heart pounding as I frantically flipped virtual pages. There were a couple of stories that I thought were totally pointless, and one that seemed to me like a chapter extracted from a book. It seemed that there ought to have been something before it, and definitely something after it. But most were simply average. Here's a list of the contents and my ratings: 1. Return to India by Jenny Bhatt ⭐⭐ 2. Swaj by Christopher Bolton ⭐⭐⭐.5 3. Neighbours by Nikki Dolson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4. Mala Suerte by E. Gabriel Flores ⭐⭐⭐ 5. Where I Belong by Alison Gaylin ⭐⭐⭐.5 6. With Footnotes and References by Gar Anthony Haywood ⭐⭐⭐.5 7. The Good Thief by Ravi Howard ⭐⭐⭐ 8. Everything is Going to be Okay by Gabino Iglesias ⭐⭐⭐ 9. Green Eyed Monster by Charis Jones ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 10. Potato Sandwich Days by Preston Lang ⭐⭐ 11. Frederick Douglass Elementary by Aya de León ⭐⭐.5 12. Infinity Sky by Kristen Lepionka ⭐⭐.5 13. Slow Burner Laura Lippman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 14. Mr Forble by Joanna Pearson ⭐⭐ 15. The Killer by Delia Pitts ⭐⭐.5 16. Wings Beating by Eliot Schrefer ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 17. 90 Miles by Alex Segura ⭐⭐ 18. Land of Promise by Brian Silverman ⭐⭐.5 19. One Bullet, One Vote by Faye Snowden ⭐⭐⭐.5 20. Let Her Be by Lisa Unger ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Overall rating - ⭐⭐⭐.25 #TheBestAmericanMysteryandSuspense2021 #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #domesticdrama #familydrama #mystery #historicalfiction #murdermystery #privateinvestigator #shortstories #psychologicalthriller #romanticsuspense THE AUTHORS: STEPH CHA is the author of the Juniper Song mystery series and Your House Will Pay, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller and has been nominated for a Young Lions Fiction Award, a Macavity Award, a Lefty Award, a Barry Award, and a Dagger Award, as well as long-listed for the Aspen Prize. She’s an editor and critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she edited the noir section for almost five years. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family. Alafair Burke is the New York Times, Edgar-nominated author of fourteen crime novels, including The Ex, The Wife, The Better Sister, and the forthcoming Find Me. She is also the co-author of several novels with Mary Higgins Clark. A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    So honored that my story, “LET HER BE,” was chosen for The Best American Mystery and Suspense, edited by the amazing Steph Cha and Alafair Burke. This collection is filled with stories by stellar writers and I hope you enjoy them!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Alafair Burke is the Guest Editor of the Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021, an anthology of short stories. There are numerous crime authors, many of whom were first time reads, but the notes on the contributors is helpful and provides some insights. The twenty stories provide a variety of topics including bullying, voting and health care. Their settings vary from a spa in Florida, East Village New York and Alabama death row. In judging the “best” stories to include, Alafair uses eight crit Alafair Burke is the Guest Editor of the Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021, an anthology of short stories. There are numerous crime authors, many of whom were first time reads, but the notes on the contributors is helpful and provides some insights. The twenty stories provide a variety of topics including bullying, voting and health care. Their settings vary from a spa in Florida, East Village New York and Alabama death row. In judging the “best” stories to include, Alafair uses eight criteria for mystery/suspense writers as stated in her Introduction. Finally, there is a list of 2020 distinguished mystery and suspense books for further reading. The collection offers an insight into America today through the various tales and so an enjoyable variety of short stories with an overall three-and-a-half-star rating. With thanks to Mariner Books and the author, for an uncorrected proof copy for review purposes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suz Jay

    “People had a way of making a ghost out of your walking, talking body when you lived past their expectations.” —excerpt from “One Bullet. One Vote.” By Faye Snowden* I really enjoyed the variety of the stories. The contributors notes provide a cool insight into each tale and the list of other distinguished stories help me add to my to-be-read list. Steph Cha’s forward and Alafair Burke’s introduction nicely sets the tone for the anthology. I am super excited for the direction of this series with “People had a way of making a ghost out of your walking, talking body when you lived past their expectations.” —excerpt from “One Bullet. One Vote.” By Faye Snowden* I really enjoyed the variety of the stories. The contributors notes provide a cool insight into each tale and the list of other distinguished stories help me add to my to-be-read list. Steph Cha’s forward and Alafair Burke’s introduction nicely sets the tone for the anthology. I am super excited for the direction of this series with Steph Cha as Series Editor. The standout stories for me are as follows: “Neighbors” by Nikki Dolson involves a newbie neighborhood couple whose nefarious actions have long-lasting effects on their community. The story does a great job of showing how the newcomers affect the neighborhood dynamic. In “Mala Suerte” by E. Gabriel Flores, Carmelita knows a thing or thirty about the perils of bad luck. Her refusal to let a minor setback takes her on a road trip, but achieving her happy ever after relies on the ever fickle luck factor. I enjoyed hearing her history with luck with nods to Pandora and Eve and the various story twists. “Everything Is Going to Be Okay” by Gabino Iglesias, which is get during the early days of lockdown, follows a fisherman who figures out a way to score the money needed to get his dear wife treated for COVID-19. The story nicely captures the chaos of lockdown and the toll medical expenses take on those without healthcare insurance. “Green-Eyed Monster” examines the reasons a biologist decides to murder his super successful, control freak, physicist wife. The husband’s reasoning and the way he looks at his wife with the eye of a biologist make the story a devilish delight. Preston Lang’s contribution, “Potato Sandwich Days,” focuses on fast food limited time specialties and how some customers go crazy for them. The story displays the dynamics between customer and employee as well as how a bout of bad luck can destroy those who are barely getting by. The descriptions of the potato sandwich were awesome. Kristen Lepionka’s “Infinity Sky” involves a violent crime that occurs at a hotel after a wedding. The various players include a washed up rock star, her boyfriend, a bellhop, a self-help guru, and a businessman. I liked how the alternating points of viewed parsed out clues. Laura Lippman’s “Slow Burner” references the relationship between Hera and Zeus in Greek mythology as a wife finds a burner phone her husband uses to correspond with a woman he wishes to bed. The story is a slow burner itself with an ending that’s worth the wait. In “90 Miles” by Alex Segura, a family tries to escape Cuba for a new life in Miami, but rough waters are only the start of their troubles. The desperate hope is heartbreaking. Faye Snowden’s “One Bullet. One Vote.” packs one heck of a punch. Willie Mae is determined to pave the way for Black voters in Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana in the 1960’s. She smart and fierce, but the dirtbag sheriff vows to make her pay in blood. Lisa Unger’s protagonist Will in “Let Her Be” longs for his ex-girlfriend who’s fled from her old life. He starts of wonder if her social media is all an act and she is in jeopardy. Will’s voice is engaging, and while the story is rather long, it’s quite a page turner. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and NetGalley for providing an Advance Reader Copy. *Please note that my review is based on uncorrected text.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burke

    "The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021", edited by Steph Cha and Alafair Burke, is an exceptional group of short stories. Sometimes collections can be a hard read, having to shift gears just after getting used to the voice and tempo of the previous tale. Here there are many highlights and not a bad detour can be taken. One or two may have seemed like partials, the beginning of a fuller story, but the quality was universally high. A few of my very favorites: "Everything is Going to Be Okay" "The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021", edited by Steph Cha and Alafair Burke, is an exceptional group of short stories. Sometimes collections can be a hard read, having to shift gears just after getting used to the voice and tempo of the previous tale. Here there are many highlights and not a bad detour can be taken. One or two may have seemed like partials, the beginning of a fuller story, but the quality was universally high. A few of my very favorites: "Everything is Going to Be Okay" by Gabino Iglesias poses an age-old dilemma: is there anything you would not do to save the life of one you loved? In this case it is in the age of COVID-19 and a murder to afford medical treatment. "90 Miles" by Alex Segura shows the life and death risk a desperate immigrant father takes to save his family. "Slow Burner" by Laura Lippman is a clever plot to give a cheating husband his comeuppance. "One Bullet, One Vote" by Faye Snowden takes us back to 1964 and breathes life into the struggle people had to make way back in the days when some would deny people the right to vote just based on the color of their skin. (Yes... way back when it was conceivable that people were capable of such a thing) 5 stars as a collection. Even with my backlog of books I will be rereading these stories soon. Thank you to Steph Cha, Alafair Burke, Mariner Books, and NetGalley for providing the Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. #TheBestAmericanMysteryandSuspense2021 #NetGalley "The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021" is to be published on October 12, 2021 and this review will be posted on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookBub, Facebook and Twitter on that day.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara Spock

    The Best American Mystery and Suspense is a striking anthology of short stories, not developed around a theme, but pulled from the pages of literary magazines and other anthologies to reflect the best of the year. Steph Cha along with guest editor, Alafair Burke, certainly hit the mark with their first effort in the series. The stories selected show America at a critical time, when discussions of race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and COVID are at the forefront of the mind, and the writers re The Best American Mystery and Suspense is a striking anthology of short stories, not developed around a theme, but pulled from the pages of literary magazines and other anthologies to reflect the best of the year. Steph Cha along with guest editor, Alafair Burke, certainly hit the mark with their first effort in the series. The stories selected show America at a critical time, when discussions of race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and COVID are at the forefront of the mind, and the writers represented in these pages are able to deftly address these issues. Gabino Iglesias’ “Everything is Going to Be Okay” hits close to the bone of the current climate, pitting those in the clutches of a failing health care system against the deadly coronavirus, showing what desperate people will do when backed into a corner. “Slow Burner” by Laura Lippman is deliciously suspenseful, building to a perfect crescendo, which seems next to impossible to do in short form. Alex Segura and Alison Gaylin will break your heart in a thousand different places with their offerings “90 Miles,” which navigates the expanse from Cuba to Key West, and “Where I belong,” addressing homelessness and mental health. Save Kristen Lepionka’s “Infinity Sky” for last if you’re hoping to end on a more humorously suspenseful note. Lepionka threads the needle between suspense and slap stick, highlighting one fateful night in the life of a former rock star. These are just a few of the highlights that wait in the pages of The Best American Mystery and Suspense. Big thank you to the editors, the authors, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and #NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for my review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021. I love mystery and suspense novels, but these types of compilations are always a mixed bag. I was excited for the opportunity to read the ARC but I approach these collections with much trepidation, like stupidly going to investigate a strange noise coming from behind a locked door. My biggest caveat with these anthologies is that most of them aren't suspenseful or mysterious. I understand these are short stories Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021. I love mystery and suspense novels, but these types of compilations are always a mixed bag. I was excited for the opportunity to read the ARC but I approach these collections with much trepidation, like stupidly going to investigate a strange noise coming from behind a locked door. My biggest caveat with these anthologies is that most of them aren't suspenseful or mysterious. I understand these are short stories so character development will be brief, if any, and the plot will be just as fast. But, most of the stories lacked suspense or any element that might characterize it as a mystery. The only story I enjoyed was by Laura Lippman. The final story in the collection was just a drag and boring. All the stories were well written but like a box of chocolates, I only liked one or two of them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 is a well curated annual collection of new short mystery & suspense fiction edited by Alafair Burke & Steph Cha. Released 12th Oct 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on their Mariner imprint, it's 320 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. There are 20 stories by my count and they're from authors both familiar and new to me. The stories are varied, there were (as always) some which Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 is a well curated annual collection of new short mystery & suspense fiction edited by Alafair Burke & Steph Cha. Released 12th Oct 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on their Mariner imprint, it's 320 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. There are 20 stories by my count and they're from authors both familiar and new to me. The stories are varied, there were (as always) some which didn't grab me personally, but all were well written and competently plotted. They were mostly in the 4 star range(ish) with a a fair smattering of really standout stories. This is a well done anthology of stories in the 3-5 star range. One reason I like collections and anthologies is that short fiction is really challenging. It's spare and the author doesn't have a wealth of wordage to develop characters or the plotting. Well written short fiction is a delight. I also love collections because if one story doesn't really grab me, there's another story just a few pages away. Four stars on average. It's a diverting read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen A. Haunert

    This is well-written but depressing as hell If you're expecting tightly wound whodunnits leading to the good guys catching the bad guys, you are reading the wrong book. The bad guy wins in almost every one of these stories, and when he or she doesn't, the good guy doesn't exactly triumph. Most of the stories are told from the criminal's point of view; in some stories, everybody is terrible to some degree. So it's hard to feel satisfied when you're finished. You feel a little grubby instead. But a This is well-written but depressing as hell If you're expecting tightly wound whodunnits leading to the good guys catching the bad guys, you are reading the wrong book. The bad guy wins in almost every one of these stories, and when he or she doesn't, the good guy doesn't exactly triumph. Most of the stories are told from the criminal's point of view; in some stories, everybody is terrible to some degree. So it's hard to feel satisfied when you're finished. You feel a little grubby instead. But all the stories are well written, just depressing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Small

    I enjoy anthologies- they can introduce me to unfamiliar writers! Anthologies offer a collection of similar topics, in this case mysteries or stories of suspense. However, I didn’t find this particular collection very mysterious or suspenseful. Some of the stories built some suspense only to fall flat by the ending. Others never built tension at all nor was there a mystery. The only story I enjoyed was by Laura Lippmann. There are better anthologies of mystery and suspense. I am surprised - and I enjoy anthologies- they can introduce me to unfamiliar writers! Anthologies offer a collection of similar topics, in this case mysteries or stories of suspense. However, I didn’t find this particular collection very mysterious or suspenseful. Some of the stories built some suspense only to fall flat by the ending. Others never built tension at all nor was there a mystery. The only story I enjoyed was by Laura Lippmann. There are better anthologies of mystery and suspense. I am surprised - and disappointed- that this editor considered these twenty stories “the best” for 2021. My thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Nice short stories when you don't want to get too involved or you only have brief amounts of time to read. Not quite what I was expecting, but still a good read. Nice short stories when you don't want to get too involved or you only have brief amounts of time to read. Not quite what I was expecting, but still a good read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cindy :: leavemetomybooks ::

    This wasn’t my favorite Best American Mystery collection ever, but there were some great stories that I really enjoyed. My faves were Slow Burner by Laura Lippman, Infinity Sky by Kristen Lepionka (she’s a fave-fave always), Mala Suerte by E. Gabriel Flores, and Let Her Be by Lisa Unger. I love these anthologies because reading short stories by authors I already know and love is super fun, and I always find new authors to read. My favorite line in the whole book was from Mala Suerte: “It doesn’t This wasn’t my favorite Best American Mystery collection ever, but there were some great stories that I really enjoyed. My faves were Slow Burner by Laura Lippman, Infinity Sky by Kristen Lepionka (she’s a fave-fave always), Mala Suerte by E. Gabriel Flores, and Let Her Be by Lisa Unger. I love these anthologies because reading short stories by authors I already know and love is super fun, and I always find new authors to read. My favorite line in the whole book was from Mala Suerte: “It doesn’t get much worse than being killed and made into a windbreaker.” Correct. Also, hilarious. Two other faves: • From Slow Burner by Laura Lippman: “She also knows the old saying that cautions men to remember, whenever they meet a beautiful woman, that somewhere, someone is tired of her.” • From Infinity Sky by Kristen Lepionka: “Now the Speed Dragons were heading her way. Jeramey didn’t need to meet them in order to distill this band down into their essence: there would be a Brad among them, and a Wesley or a Corbin, a weekday-afternoon radio DJ, and an ad agency project manager. The quiet-looking one in the fedora would be the only real musician of the group but he would avoid any kind of direct attention, terrified that someone would discover his terrible secret — bald at age twenty-eight.” * thanks to Mariner Books for the NetGalley ARC. This is out now!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I love all types of mysteries and suspense stories and I had high hopes for this anthology. All collections like this are going to have stories that are more likable than others. However, for a book that is supposed to have some of the best stories of the year, I was disappointed. Several of the stories have great premises, but then ultimately turn out to be either extremely grim or too bland without much mystery or suspense. There are some high points, though. My favorite is Laura Lippman's Slo I love all types of mysteries and suspense stories and I had high hopes for this anthology. All collections like this are going to have stories that are more likable than others. However, for a book that is supposed to have some of the best stories of the year, I was disappointed. Several of the stories have great premises, but then ultimately turn out to be either extremely grim or too bland without much mystery or suspense. There are some high points, though. My favorite is Laura Lippman's Slow Burner that I had actually already read before. It's a quick, entertaining story about love and revenge with a great twist. Another favorite is Let Her Be by Lisa Unger, a dark, creepy, and ambiguous story that was very compelling. I also liked Where I Belong by Alison Gaylin and Neighbors by Nikki Dolson, an author I was previously unfamiliar with. There are some well-written stories, but most of them just weren't for me. I received this ebook from NetGalley through the courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. An advance copy was provided to me at no cost, but my review is voluntary and unbiased.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Denice Langley

    I absolutely love anthologies and this is definitely one of the best "series" in the business. For a lover of this genre, this is the ultimate gift, a book of stories by the best American writers. Anthologies give me a look at some of my favorite authors as they flex their writing skills and an introduction to new to me authors. I keep an anthology with me always, I can read and finish a story quickly. Just some of my favorite things about this type of writing. This series of stories is definitel I absolutely love anthologies and this is definitely one of the best "series" in the business. For a lover of this genre, this is the ultimate gift, a book of stories by the best American writers. Anthologies give me a look at some of my favorite authors as they flex their writing skills and an introduction to new to me authors. I keep an anthology with me always, I can read and finish a story quickly. Just some of my favorite things about this type of writing. This series of stories is definitely writen with the mystery lover in mind. Some will test your "who done it" skills, some will just leave you hungry for more of the author's work as you wonder where THAT story could have come from. Truly, treat yourself and share with someone who lobes them as much as you do, but......read this book. You will then have to go find the back issues, like I did a couple of years back.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris the retired librarian

    This is a collection of short stories published in various outlets last year. This annual anthology began publishing in 1997. This year’s volume has a new series editor in Steph Cha and has expanded to add suspense to it’s title. Best selling author Alafair Burke is this year’s guest editor. The collection offers a wide range of stories from best selling veteran authors such as Lisa Unger, Laura Lippman, and Gar Anthony Haywood to bright new voices in crime fiction including Gabino Iglesias, Ale This is a collection of short stories published in various outlets last year. This annual anthology began publishing in 1997. This year’s volume has a new series editor in Steph Cha and has expanded to add suspense to it’s title. Best selling author Alafair Burke is this year’s guest editor. The collection offers a wide range of stories from best selling veteran authors such as Lisa Unger, Laura Lippman, and Gar Anthony Haywood to bright new voices in crime fiction including Gabino Iglesias, Alex Segura, and Jenny Bhatt. The stories offer something for every crime fiction fan. Christopher Bollen’s story SWAJ was inspired by reading the book Jaws during the pandemic. Nikki Dolosn’s story looks at a picture perfect neighborhood torn apart after a new couple moves in. Aya de León’s contribution examines the risks a mother takes to get her child into a better school and at what cost. The stories are timely, diverse, and thought-provoking. They run the gambit of crime fiction from jealousy, revenge, and murder for hire, to blackmail, and desperate choices that have to be made. There’s something here for every mystery and suspense fan to enjoy. This anthology is a great way to discover new to you authors and short fiction from old favorites. Thank you NetGalley and Mariner Books for the digital ARC.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kaye

    The best thing about anthologies like this is the chance they offer for a reader to sample a lot of different mystery writers without making a big commitment in time and money. It never fails: I get a taste of a new (to me) writers, and then hit the library website to work my way through everything they've written. And then, these collections also provide the tide-me-overs from my favorite authors, Such as Laura Lippman and Lisa Unger, between their novels. The first newly-discovered author from The best thing about anthologies like this is the chance they offer for a reader to sample a lot of different mystery writers without making a big commitment in time and money. It never fails: I get a taste of a new (to me) writers, and then hit the library website to work my way through everything they've written. And then, these collections also provide the tide-me-overs from my favorite authors, Such as Laura Lippman and Lisa Unger, between their novels. The first newly-discovered author from this anthology is Faye Weldon, whose story One Bullet, One Vote, impelled me to put some of her books on hold. So, Thanks to Net Galley and Mariner Books for an advance readers copy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madame Merle

    I found this book after being disappointed by the formulaic stories in Lee Child's collection this year-- though written by big names, those stories were based on tried and true clichés and the only discernible characters of color in all those stories were an elevator operator and a maid. The stories in this collection, on the other hand, are diverse in settings, characters, and genre-- several stories take truly surprising and provocative narrative turns. I discovered several new voices in the I found this book after being disappointed by the formulaic stories in Lee Child's collection this year-- though written by big names, those stories were based on tried and true clichés and the only discernible characters of color in all those stories were an elevator operator and a maid. The stories in this collection, on the other hand, are diverse in settings, characters, and genre-- several stories take truly surprising and provocative narrative turns. I discovered several new voices in the mystery and suspense genre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    It was an interesting anthology, it made me discover some new to me interesting authors and kept me hooked. Not all the stories are at the same level, there's a variety of voices and it gives you a good idea of what is the current mystery/suspense scene in USA. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine It was an interesting anthology, it made me discover some new to me interesting authors and kept me hooked. Not all the stories are at the same level, there's a variety of voices and it gives you a good idea of what is the current mystery/suspense scene in USA. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peter Sidell

    new editor brings a new flavor An enjoyable collection. It gives a different perspective to mystery and suspense than Penzler the prior editor of the series. Moving forward and discovering new things is always fun.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deb Rogers

    I love reading mystery short stories in anthologies, and giving Best Of anthologies as gifts, because they remind me of reading Ellery Queen magazine as a teen. Ravi Howard has a very memorable story in this collection, as does Alex Segura.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brigitte

    I didn’t finish a couple of stories here because they were a bit meh, but otherwise, this was a great collection. Far superior to last year’s collection. A number of writers of color, women, and LGBTQ writers represented.

  22. 5 out of 5

    GraceZhx

    HORRIBLE! Before this book I had never wanted to return to a book store just to return a book and ask my time back. People who gave good reviews - are you the editor’s bffs or did you write one of the stories?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    10/3/2021 3.5 stars rounded up. Full review tk at CriminalElement.com. 10/3/2021 3.5 stars rounded up. Full review tk at CriminalElement.com.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Ciccanti

    I can not tell you how disappointed I was with this book. I could not finish it as I thought the stories were sooo boring. Alafair Burke picked them out, wow!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Florence

    My favorite in this collection is Neighbors (audio track #6) by Nikki Dolson. I loved being able to listen to the story & be transported. I never knew what was going to happen next!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tony Sannicandro

    I liked these stories very much except I can’t ever watch any Richard Dryfuss movie ever again!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brian Silverman

    A diverse collection of voices. Not your Grandpa's mystery collection. But that's a good thing. A diverse collection of voices. Not your Grandpa's mystery collection. But that's a good thing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danny Cherry

    By far one of the better anthologies I’ve read before

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robin Pendergraft

    I was torn about the score on this one. I only skipped the last story but I didn’t care for any of them. I kept reading hoping the next would be better. 2.5 rounded up out of guilt

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Alafair Burke is the Guest Editor of the Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021, an anthology of short stories. There are numerous crime authors, many of whom were first time reads, but the notes on the contributors is helpful and provides some insights. The twenty stories provide a variety of topics including bullying, voting and health care. Their settings vary from a spa in Florida, East Village New York and Alabama death row. In judging the “best” stories to include, Alafair uses eight crit Alafair Burke is the Guest Editor of the Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021, an anthology of short stories. There are numerous crime authors, many of whom were first time reads, but the notes on the contributors is helpful and provides some insights. The twenty stories provide a variety of topics including bullying, voting and health care. Their settings vary from a spa in Florida, East Village New York and Alabama death row. In judging the “best” stories to include, Alafair uses eight criteria for mystery/suspense writers as stated in her Introduction. Finally, there is a list of 2020 distinguished mystery and suspense books for further reading. The collection offers an insight into America today through the various tales and so an enjoyable variety of short stories with an overall three-and-a-half-star rating. With thanks to Mariner Books and the author, for an uncorrected proof copy for review purposes.

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