cover image Faceoff


Edited by David Baldacci. Simon & Schuster, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4767-6206-7

A clever concept distinguishes this anthology sponsored by the International Thriller Writers. Each of the 11 stories pairs well-known series characters created by different authors, sometimes in adversarial but more often in collegial ways, and almost always effectively. Complementary heroes include John Lescroart’s Wyatt Hunt and T. Jefferson Parker’s Joe Trona, who share adventure in “Silent Hunt.” Others are far-from-obvious matches, like Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme and John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport, who join forces in the longest entry, “Rhymes with Prey.” Steve Martini’s prosecutor Paul Madriani and Linda Fairstein’s defense attorney cross swords in “Surfing the Panther,” but end up wielding their weapons for the same cause. The strangest pairing is in “Gaslighted,” featuring R.L. Stine’s ventriloquist dummy, Slappy, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s FBI agent, Aloysius Pendergast. Other notable duos include Lee Child’s Jack Reacher with Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration”; M.J. Rose’s Malachai Samuels and Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha”; and Ian Rankin’s John Rebus with Peter James’s Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time.” This idea is so good it demands a sequel, perhaps one that reaches beyond the U.S., the U.K., and Canada for contributors. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (June)