Wednesday, July 02, 2014

FaceOff Edited by David Baldacci

In 2006, International Thriller Writers published Thriller, the first anthology of thriller short stories ever compiled. The money from that publication, and subsequent anthologies, was used for operating revenue for ITW since membership is free. I own a couple of the volumes, including that first one. But, the latest one,  FaceOff is my favorite. As it says on the cover, "For the first time ever the world's greatest thriller characters meet head-to-head in 11 electrifying stories." Twenty-three authors collaborated to tell these entertaining stories.

I used to say if Jim, my late husband, read a crime novel, it was a thriller. And, if I read it, it was a mystery. Although it remains basically true that I tend toward more traditional mysteries, I found this collection intriguing. David Baldacci's introductions to each story, telling how the authors came together and came up with their ideas, are often as fascinating as the stories themselves. Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein brought their attorneys together in an unusual way. Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme paired up with John Sandford's Lucas Davenport in "Rhymes with Prey." Other pairings were Ian Rankin and Peter James, an odd one of R.L. Stine and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner, Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson, Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay, John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker, and Steve Berry and James Rollins. Each of them brought trademark characters to the adventure.

However, my favorite stories were actually the first and the last, stories that emphasized the strengths of the characters. Of course, as a mystery reader, I liked the one that brought Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch to Boston where his cold case intersected with one involving Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie. Funny that my other favorite also involved Boston. Lee Child's Jack Reacher ended up in a Boston bar watching a Yankees/Red Sox game. Neither he nor Joseph Finder's Nick Heller saw the end of the game since they helped out a stranger.

Looking to discover a new author or character? Maybe you're already familiar with all of these thriller authors. FaceOff is worth a couple evenings. It's an entertaining collection of stories by some of the premier thriller writers of our time, authors who teamed up to bring their characters face-to-face.

FaceOff ed. by David Baldacci. Simon & Schuster. 2014. ISBN 9781476762067 (hardcover), 367p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy of the book.

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