The Best American Mystery Stories 1999
For the third year in a row, series editor Otto Penzler has done his homework, "reading hundreds of stories and skimming hundreds of others" to arrive at 50 short-listed tales, less than half of which actually made it into this latest "best" book. The range of this year's winners is broad, from Phillip Margolin's amusing "The Jailhouse Lawyer" and Joseph Hansen's "Survival" (in which cowboy sleuth Hack Bohannon runs into right-wing survivalists in Idaho), to Peter Robinson's "In Flanders Fields," a World War II-era story of identities, both mysterious and mistaken. There are only a few disappointments here, including Joyce Carol Oates' nightmare adventure for a scholarship interviewee. But the introductory remarks by volume editor Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter) about his early short-fiction writing set a neat stage for what's to come.
The Allegra Series
A classic contemporary love triangle interwoven with Greek mythology and all set against the backdrop of the world of art and textiles. Barbara Lambert's debut novel is a delicate tapestry of light and color, alight with rich character studies and awash with human joy and tragedy. Allegra is a middle-aged woman dealing with the onset of a debilitating disease and involved with a much younger married man. Lambert captures the emotions of her characters beautifully and they stay with you long after the last page is turned.
The Vintage Book of War Stories
When you think about it, war and literature share some very close bonds. It's not surprising that the raw, human emotion brought to the surface when humans are closely exposed to death should lead -- ultimately -- to a passionate outpouring of literary matter. In The Vintage Book of War Stories Sebastian Faulks and Jörg Hensgen have put together what is arguably some of the finest writing on the subject to come out of the 20th century. The stories included were written by Bruce Chatwin, Ernest Hemingway, Pat Barker, Laurie Lee, Alistair MacLean, John Fowles, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, Michael Ondaatje and Kurt Vonnegut, to name but a few. In all, 40 heartfelt stories from some of the finest writers of their time.
Poetry for a Lifetime