cover image Midnight Hour

Midnight Hour

Edited by Abby L. Vandiver. Crooked Lane, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-64385-752-7

In this wonderful all-original anthology, Vandiver (the Romaine Wilder series) showcases 20 mystery and suspense stories written by people of color, each with a pivotal moment set at midnight. One highlight is Callie Browning’s twisty “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which centers on the murder of the prime minister of Barbados, “a notorious Lothario with a penchant for dim-witted women with loose morals.” Another standout is Christopher Chambers’s clever “In the Matter of Mabel and Bobby Jefferson,” in which Shane, an English major now working the night shift at an insurance company call center, wearily concludes, “It’s going to get funny tonight,” but he doesn’t know the half of it. In Tina Kashian’s unsettling “Cape May Murders,” Sona and Priya, both mothers of young daughters, go away for a relaxing weekend at the Jersey Shore and wind up sharing their B&B with a murderer. Sanjay, the Hindi Houdini, finds his séance spinning out of control in Gigi Pandian’s droll “The Diamond Vanishes.” Each contributor offers a surprising and original take on the mystery genre. Full of varied voices, this volume is must reading for mystery aficionados. (Nov.)