cover image More Twisted: Collected Stories, Vol. II

More Twisted: Collected Stories, Vol. II

, . . Simon & Schuster, $24.95 (438pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-4118-9

Bestseller Deaver's second story collection (after 2003's Twisted ) is best enjoyed in small doses, since, as the author states in his preface, each of the 16 suspense tales contains a "gut-wrenching twist," a formulaic final reversal that loses its punch with too much repetition. That said, readers will find a number of clever and concise thrillers. The standout, "Born Bad," about a mother waiting in fear for her estranged daughter to kill her, does a superb job of matching up the clues at the beginning with the tale's resolution. Sherlockians will get a kick from a pastiche narrated in third person, "The Westphalian Ring," pitting Holmes against a crafty jewel thief. In an afterword to the tale "Afraid," Deaver (The Bone Collector ) explains how he works the concept of fear into his fiction. (Jan.)