cover image The Best American Mystery Stories 2016

The Best American Mystery Stories 2016

Edited by Elizabeth George. Mariner, $14.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-544-52718-8

Short story fans will find much to enjoy in series editor Otto Penzler’s highly readable 20th annual best-of anthology. Among the 20 contributors are such genre giants as Elmore Leonard (“For Something to Do”) and Stephen King (“A Death”), but lesser known authors prove more than able to hold their own. “Little Men,” an Edgar finalist by Megan Abbott, delivers delicious twists and dreamlike prose in a ghostly story of death set in 1950s Hollywood. “Safety” by Lydia Fitzpatrick strikes close to home with the tale of a school shooting, imbuing the characters with humanity. And Evan Lewis successfully riffs on Hammett’s “The Continental Op” with “The Continental Opposite,” while Robert Lopresti’s “Street of the Dead House” plays with Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by relating the familiar story from the perspective of the killer ape. Those looking for a quick fix of suspense and intrigue won’t be disappointed. [em]Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber. (Oct.) [/em]