Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Best American Mystery Stories of 2008, edited by George Pelecanos

I finished this book last Sunday, right before bed. I stayed up a little late to finish it, in fact, which I almost never do. And then? Then, I proceeded to have nightmares about serial killers until dawn, thanks to Hugh Sheehy's story "The Invisibles." I think that one was my favorite out of all of the stories in the book, although it's hard to choose.

This series has been around for quite a while now. I have a collection of these books that goes back ten years. The editor at large accepts submissions of stories published by American or Canadian authors in American or Canadian publications, during the year in question. For this compilation, the story must be a mystery, or a story that revolves around some sort of crime. The editor at large then goes through all the submissions and picks the fifty best ones. He passes them on to the guest editor, George Pelecanos this year, and the guest editor picks the twenty bestest of the bestest. Those are included in the book.

I loved this book. So many different kinds of mysteries! That's one thing I love about the book: it goes from police procedural to noir fiction to straight-up murder mystery in the blink of an eye. As I said above, "The Invisibles" was easily my favorite. Maybe it was the oh-so-familiar Midwestern setting; maybe it was the oh-so-familiar guy-in-a-van-coming-to-get-you plot. Whatever it was, it terrified me. And I loved it.

I also loved Michael Connelly's "Mulholland Dive," about an accident reconstructionist who gets what's coming to him; "One Good One" by Chuck Hogan, which reminded me of my job; "The Monks of the Abbey Victoria" by Rupert Holmes, which had a distinct Mad Men feel to it; "Car Trouble" by Jas. R. Petrin, which I hope is really going to be expanded into a full novel, because I LOVED the character of Leo "Skig" Skorzeny; and I want to keep going, because they were pretty much ALL so good, but you should really just go buy or check out the book for yourself.

Definitely five out of five Whatevers. Great for the mystery/crime fiction lover in your life. I got this for Christmas last year, so I happen to know it makes a wonderful holiday gift. I hope I get 2009's this year!


Literary Feline said...

Sometimes something I've just read or watched will seep into my dreams too.

I'll have to look for this collection as it sounds like something I would like. And I like the idea of there being such a variety of different types of mysteries.

Thanks for bringing this collection to my attention, Lexi. I may have to look for the backlist as well. :-)

Lexi said...

I hope you check it out and love it as much as I do!