Book: “Vengeance: Mystery Writers of America Presents”

I’ve said it before but since this is a longish post I’ll start it by saying that I don’t know why anyone would be interested in this… this blog for me is mostly to help me remember things like which book I’ve read, film I’ve seen and places I’ve visited.  Occasionally I’ll post an opinion piece but that is very rare.  This post for example is not a review of this collection of short stories, nor is it a review of any or all of the stories in the collection.  It is a reminder to myself that I read this and that I might be interested in reading more by some of the authors if I ever get the time to do so.

bookThis collection of short stories has Lee Child’s name on the cover and a forward by him about how the collection was drawn together.  There is also one ‘new story from Lee Child’ but really it isn’t his best so that is no reason to go for this book.

However, if you are looking for 21 short stories that need little investment in time or energy this might be a good read.  Indeed, I read most of these during a 20min commute with very little effort.  Overall I wasn’t blown away by the standard.  There were a few that stood out Michael Connelly, Anne Swardson and Darrell James, for example but far too many ‘misses’.

Here is what I thought as I finished each story:

THE FOURTEENTH JUROR BY TWIST PHELAN
Two detectives taking to a judge, the older one seemingly writing out that the judge murdered our victim while hit rookie colleague tries to keep up. But the twists towards the end turn everything around. Well structured writing in what could have been the claustrophobic environment of an interview in judge chambers. (Follow this author)

THE MOTHER BY ALAFAIR BURKE
A lawyer in a child welfare case who is more involved in the case than she should be. After a failed prosecution a girl is to be returned to her father unless she can do something about it. When she can’t…   A disturbing but gripping story with several twists – good read.

LOST AND FOUND BY ZOË SHARP
A peodophile priest ‘s past catches up with him, but as he lies dying there is one last chance for redemption and forgiveness.

BLIND JUSTICE BY JIM FUSILLI
Story of two New York Italian gangsters that was so full of New York Italian gangster slang and jargon that I couldn’t follow the plot and gave up. Rubbish!

THE CONSUMERS BY DENNIS LEHANE
Great short story with intriguing ending based around an abused woman hiring a someone to kill her husband. (Follow this author)

MOONSHINER’S LAMENT BY RICK McMAHAN
Wow, very well paced starting slow but quickly building. I felt drawn in to the characters and surprised by the ending very well put together ‘tight’ writing style made this a great short story. (Follow this author)

RIVER SECRET BY ANNE SWARDSON
Another good read, a sad tale of a busker in Paris going about his business watching the people who watch him. He builds an unspoken relationship with a little girl… (Follow this author)

HOT SUGAR BLUES BY STEVE LISKOW
OK story a sort of internal monologue mostly, didn’t really grab me and I spotted the ending too quickly. To be fair I was distracted so didn’t get to read this in one go.

THE FINAL BALLOT BY BRENDAN DuBOIS
Really enjoyed this story of a political fixer with eyes on the Whitehouse making a problem go away, or does he?
(Follow this author)

AFRICA ALWAYS NEEDS GUNS BY MICHAEL NIEMANN
A powerless UN Investigator looking for arms in a corrupt system… Finds justice. Well put together little story.

THE UNREMARKABLE HEART BY KARIN SLAUGHTER
After the first few pages about a woman dying of cancer I decided not to read this one. Not for me.

IT AIN’T RIGHT BY MICHELLE GAGNON
Too short, nothing happens.

SILENT JUSTICE BY C. E. LAWRENCE
A well crafted central character is at the heart of this story. A priest who hears a confession he can’t deal with. It didn’t feel original but not cleched, a good read.

EVEN A BLIND MAN BY DARRELL JAMES
Short story of a blind black man in the south. After receiving let’s from a granddaughter he didn’t know he had then one just asking for ‘help’ an old man makes his way to a seedy southern city. Well told story, good read.

THE GENERAL BY JANICE LAW
Ok, but a buy laboured and predictable.

A FINE MIST OF BLOOD BY MICHAEL CONNELLY
Great short story with a character I am slightly failure with. Good to read in the right format.
(Follow this author)

LEVERAGE BY MIKE COOPER
In stead of “who done it” this is a “will he do it” as a man layer of by the company with his pension ‘stolen’ goes after the boss to ask him some questions.

THE HOTLINE BY DREDA SAY MITCHELL
clever little revenge story, based in London for a change – most of these are very US focused. Good read. (follow this author)

BLOOD AND SUNSHINE BY ADAM MEYER
About an ‘evil’ five year old.. at that point I stopped reading because I believe in the innocence of youth.

IN PERSONA CHRISTI BY OREST STELMACH
Well told story of a priest in a bad neighbourhood protecting his flock.

THE HOLLYWOOD I REMEMBER BY LEE CHILD
OK, but too short.

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