cover image Year's Best Mystery and Suspense Stories, 1987

Year's Best Mystery and Suspense Stories, 1987

. Walker & Company, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-0983-7

Six of these 13 stories are reprinted from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, two are from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and all reflect the undemanding and rather flat writing of those journals. Thomas Adcock's ""Thrown-Away Child'' has some interesting glimpses of poor blacks in New Orleans, B. M. Gill's ``A Certain Kind of Skill'' makes several psychologically valid points, Nell Lamburn's ``Tom's Thatch'' produces a couple of frissons of horror and Robert Sampson's ``Rain in Pinton County'' conveys a nice, old-pulp feel of rural corruption. Most of the rest are dismissable, even those by such masters as Lawrence Block, Hoch himself and Bill Pronzini. A few (Doug Allyn's ``The Puddle Diver,'' David Braly's ``The Gallowglass,'' Josh Pachter's ``The Night of Power'') are tiresome and predictable. Robert Barnard's ``Happy Christmas,'' about a self-destructive homosexual, is so snide and trite that it's silly. Clark Howard's ``Scalplock'' is well-written but fatally flawed by sentimentality and a very unlikely transference of AIDS. (October 5)