A HOT AND SULTRY NIGHT FOR CRIME
, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (385pp) ISBN 978-0-425-18839-2
In spite of its steamy theme, this original anthology of 20 tales by Mystery Writers of America members seldom sizzles. Only a few stories generate enough heat to warm a reader's heart, starting with Edgar-nominee Deaver's own nicely twisted "Ninety-eight Point Six." Another bright spot is Ronnie Klaskin's "Child Support," in which a woman has to cope with unreliable men. Toni L.P. Kelner's "Old Dog Days" features a retired police chief who manages to turn a hunt for a missing dog into a neat trick. In newcomer Ana Rainwater's arresting "Night Rose," a young woman with a difficult mother celebrates adulthood. Angela Zeman's "Green Heat" brings a Chicago hit man out of the cold and into the sweltering heat of West Virginia, where he gets a surprising education. Some big names prominently displayed on the dust jacket—Loren D. Estleman, John Lutz, Jeremiah Healy—should attract fans of those authors, though their contributions fall short of their best work.
Reviewed on: 01/20/2003