cover image Collectibles


Edited by Lawrence Block. Subterranean, $50 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64524-045-7

Villainy, paranormal goings-on, and cold-blooded murder turn up time and again, with varying degrees of success, in this mixed bag of a theme anthology centered on compulsive collectors, compiled by MWA Grand Master Block. Standouts include Dennis Lehane’s gilt-edged chiller, “A Bostonian (in Cambridge),” in which a wealthy collector of letters of abandonment falls prey to wily blackmailers, and Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Skull Collector,” a gangster yarn featuring gun-toting female grave robbers. Other stories, like David Rachel’s “Devil Sent the Rain Blues,” in which greed, paranoia, and excitement hinder a trader’s attempts to acquire an extremely rare 78 rpm record, seem tame by comparison. Overshadowing everything, though, is Lee Goldberg’s “Lost Shows,” a delightful shocker about a fanatical collector of short-lived and unaired TV shows who has turned his Hollywood home into a mausoleum of lost dreams. Extracts from Otto Penzler’s memoir, Mysterious Obsession, add some real-life perspective on book collecting. Not every entry from the 17 contributors is a winner, but this volume offers enough superior material to make it worth the reader’s while. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (May)