cover image Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance

Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance

Edited by Lee Child. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-17634-7

Revenge propels each of the 21 all-original stories in this high-quality anthology mixing headliners such as Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly with lower-profile talent such as C.E. Lawrence and Adam Meyer. Given this common motive, readers will have little trouble anticipating the final resolution as a rule, but the writing is top-notch, especially in Lehane’s “The Consumers,” in which the abused wife of a white-collar criminal turns to a professional to eliminate her spouse. Brendan DuBois’s especially satisfying “The Final Ballot” features an unsophisticated woman’s quest for justice when a powerful politician with national ambitions victimizes her daughter. Lawrence’s “Silent Justice” presents a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest with a moral dilemma after a young man confesses committing a murder to him. But Meyer delivers the biggest jaw-dropper in “Blood and Sunshine,” about an evil five-year-old boy who torments everyone around him. As with other such theme anthologies, readers will best enjoy these stories a few at a time. (Apr.)