When a Stranger Comes to Town

Edited by Michael Koryta. Hanover Square, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-335-14147-7
A Tolstoy quote about a stranger coming to town is the spark for the 19 selections in this exceptional Mystery Writers of America anthology. Steve Hamilton’s “A Different Kind of Healing” imagines that one such stranger is Charlotte, a nurse who’s moved to New York, attracted by the incentives the Big Apple’s offered to deal with a nursing shortage. As the Covid-19 pandemic looms, she’s drawn to a rape victim who appears in the ER, because of a dark incident in Charlotte’s past, which leads her to seek the eponymous means of relief. Hamilton has rarely been better in the short-story format. Koryta also stands out with “P.F.A.,” an acronym for People from Away used by Janice Jardine, a mean-spirited busybody who lives in a small Maine town, to refer to non-natives. Jardine must deal with a newcomer from Florida who refuses to defer to her wishes. Jonathan Stone distinguishes himself in “Russkies,” in which secrets and guilt linger from more than a half-century in the past. Other contributors include S.A. Cosby, Alafair Burke, Michael Connelly, and Lori Roy. This is the best kind of anthology, consistently excellent and inventive. Agent: Alec Shane, Writers House. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/25/2021
Release date: 04/20/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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