cover image Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense

Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense

. Mysterious Press, $19.95 (362pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-581-6

Tricks and treats abound in this specialized collection from veteran anthologist Slung (Fever) and a pseudonymous fellow mystery editor. Ed McBain writes about a grieving widower who falls prey to thieving teenagers wearing Frankenstein masks. The old guy's plans for revenge go astray. Or do they? Cartoonist Gahan Wilson tells a slight tale about that old standby: neighborhood kids and the local ``haunted'' house. Some treats are better than others. Michael Z. Lewin is a mite too cryptic in the short form; Marcia Muller's PI Sharon McCone tracks the last moves of a jumper from the Golden Gate Bridge in a tense work that's only remotely connected to Pumpkin Night. The best loot of the lot is Peter Straub's novella, in which a tired black jazz musician, in a room with a slowly diminishing bottle, recalls a night long ago on the bad side of town, a white woman's screams and a death that did or did not occur. Straub displays extensive jazz knowledge and faultless narrative control from start to finish. Eat this one first. (Oct.)