Thursday, November 5, 2015

Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from Mystery Writers of America - various authors

Summary: Best-selling suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark invites you on a tour of Manhattan’s most iconic neighborhoods in this anthology of all-new stories from the Mystery Writers of America. From the Flatiron District (Lee Child) and Greenwich Village (Jeffery Deaver) to Little Italy (T. Jefferson Parker) and Chinatown (S.J. Rozan), you’ll encounter crimes, mysteries, and riddles large and small. Illustrated with iconic photography of New York City and packaged in a handsome hardcover, Manhattan Mayhem is a delightful read for armchair detectives and armchair travelers alike!

Summary and pic from goodreads.com

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: Back in high school (insert old fogey joke here at your own peril) I loved honors and AP English when we would reach short stories. I loved the compilation textbooks we had. Each story was so interesting and had a really succinct way of capturing life. I still remember reading those stories and occasionally I’ll run in to one of those stories and have one of those happy nostalgic moments that come from encountering something pleasant and familiar.

But somewhere along the way, I lost my passion for most short stories.

You see, I actually really enjoy reading cool short stories. There is an art to being able to say what you need to say in a short amount of time. Anyone can blather on and on about something and eventually get to their point, but there is something about being able to boil a story down to its core and still not lose the magic and the good writing. However, for the most part, I think that most people don’t do that well, and therefore, I don’t read short story compilations very often.

And then I saw this book, saw that it was a mystery writers’ book (‘cause how fun is that!) and that I recognized a lot of the authors (Mary Higgins Clark! Lee Child!) and I was intrigued. I am happy to report that I actually really, really enjoyed it. It was so fun to read all the different stories. And they are all really different, too. The only theme is that they are part of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and the stories must take place in New York, so with parameters like that, you know that it will vary from traditional to vintage to super modern to historical and everything in between. Now, as with all compilations, some of the stories are better than others. Some of the authors are better than others (although everyone in this compilation is a best seller and very prolific, so it’s not like I was reading drivel ever). With the shortness of the stories the mysteries couldn’t be too complicated, although some of them were definitely able to get a lot done in a short amount of time. The great thing about reading a book from authors of this caliber is that everyone is able to bring something to the table—the stories were interesting, they were scathing, and it was a really, really fun read. I loved being able to sit down and just enjoy a few minutes of a small little mystery. It wasn’t a huge commitment, I didn’t have to remember lots of details to figure out whodunit, and the writing was good.  I also loved that these stories all took place in New York. They were all really different, and it really showcased the diversity (both in time and place) of New York and the people there.

One of my favorite stories was “Three Little Words” by Nancy Pickard. It had a delicious little twist at the end. But don’t miss Mary Higgins Clark’s story, “The Five Dollar Dress,” either. It’s got a really fun premise. Actually, I really liked all of the stories.

Seriously, it surprised me how much I enjoyed this. I expected to enjoy it, mind you, because I like mysteries and I like many of these authors, but I wasn’t sure about the short story aspect of it. I’m happy to report that it was just a really fun ride and if you like mysteries and mystery authors, you should definitely check it out.

My Rating: 4 stars.

For the sensitive reader: This book would be rated PG. There wasn’t much language, sexual content, or violence, but it isn’t squeaky clean.

1 comment:

BarbCarol said...

I share your reluctance to read short stories, but I am a great fan of mysteries and will definitely read this book. Thanks so much for your review and for causing me to open my mind to reading more than my usual tomes.

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