Book Review: A Collection Of Crime

The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 is a collection of short stories that caught the attention of Alafair Burke this past year. These stories appear in various publications and are collected in one volume. This apparently is quite an annual literary event.

So there are thirty stories here, so I will not make the attempt to break down each story. I will say that there are a few special ones that caught my attention. It starts off with Jenny Rhatt’s Return to India. Nikki Dolson’s Neighbors, Gar Anthony Haywood’s With Footnotes and References, and Wings Beating by Eliot Schrefer are three contenders for my favorite.

The collection is a great concept. The stories feature a variety of characters in a wide range of desperate circumstances. I think it will be interesting to peruse the selections each year. Of course, not every story captured my imagination equally. Burke does seem to have good taste in crime fiction overall. Of course, there is an attempt to diversify the ethnicity and background of writers and characters, but it seems to work well enough here.

Even if every story is the attention grabber, there is plenty of surprise to enjoy. It’s not a bad effort to celebrate short story writers.

Next up, I have seen the old movie with Bogart, so it’s time to read the novel. Philip Marlowe is doing his best to avoid The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.

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