Sinister Shorts

Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author
Perri O'Shaughnessy, Author . Delacorte $21 (302p) ISBN 978-0-385-33797-7
Reviewed on: 11/21/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Open Ebook - 978-0-440-33578-8
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-0-385-33798-4
Hardcover - 396 pages - 978-1-58547-737-1
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Sisters Pam and Mary O'Shaughnessy use the pen name Perri O'Shaughnessy for their Nina Reilly legal thrillers as well as for this uneven debut collection of 19 short suspense stories, only one of which involves Nina Reilly and is the only "fifty-fifty collaboration" between the pair. "The Long Walk" fittingly leads, since it was published before their first novel, Motion to Suppress (1995). There are two homages: a Gertrude Stein parody, "Gertrude Stein Solves a Mystery," which is less than successful, and "His Master's Hand," which nicely mimics the style of Dostoyevski's Notes from Underground . "Dead Money" crams a novel's worth of twists and deductions into a short story. In "Tiny Angels," an FBI agent nabs a kidnapper thanks to his wife's casual but perceptive observations. Paul van Wagoner, an investigator in the Nina Reilly novels, does brilliant work in "Success Without College." Series fans may enjoy the challenge presented in the sisters' introduction, trying to figure out which sister wrote which story. (Jan.)

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