Murder California Style: A Collection of Short Stories

Jon L. Breen, Other St. Martin's Press $17.95 (291p) ISBN 978-0-312-00620-4
This disappointing anthology collects 22 stories, from 1951 to 1987, by 23 members of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. There are big names hereJon Breen, Dan Marlowe, Brian Garfield, John Stevenson, Joseph Hansen, John Ball, Robert Bloch, William Campbell Gaultbut only a few of the stories are up to the authors' reputations. Bloch's ""Final Performance'' (1960) has overtones of The Postman Always Rings Twice, including a final twist with a grisly surprise from the author of Psycho that will jolt jaded readers. Gault's ``And Murder Makes Four'' is a classic hard-boiled story, no surprises, but lots of terrific California color. Most of the contributions are fairly predictable, but even the eight original stories seem dated next to Bloch and Gault, and John Stevenson's introduction oversells ``the best in the business.'' (June 16)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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