Monday, March 28, 2011

Top Suspense Anthology

I’ve just read the first anthology published by the Top Suspense Group, a gathering of fine writers who have joined forces to provide consistently excellent mystery, suspense, horror, and Western e-books. There are twelve authors currently involved, and in this anthology they’ve brought together a variety of stories, some reprints and some new, that share the quality of being top-notch entertainment. Here’s the line-up:

Unreasonable Doubt by Max Allan Collins
Death’s Brother by Bill Crider
Poisoned by Stephen Gallagher
Remaindered by Lee Goldberg
Fire in the Sky by Joel Goldman
The Baby Store by Ed Gorman
The Jade Elephant by Libby Fischer Hellmann
The Big O by Vicki Hendricks
The Chirashi Covenant by Naomi Hirahara
El Valiente en el Infierno by Paul Levine
A Handful of Dust by Harry Shannon
The Canary by Dave Zeltserman
The Chase by Top Suspense Group

What sets TOP SUSPENSE apart from many anthologies I’ve read is that there’s not a weak story in the bunch. They’re all good. I had read some of them before but read those again and thoroughly enjoyed them. Since I’m friends with many of these writers and have known some of them for decades, I hesitate to start listing favorites. That said . . . I really enjoyed Joel Goldman’s Depression-era crime story “Fire in the Sky”, Ed Gorman’s haunting “The Baby Store”, Vicki Hendrick’s Florida-set noir “The Big O”, and “The Chase”, a slightly crazed and highly entertaining round-robin story written by the authors in 250-word chunks. I had to laugh several times because I could almost see the authors at their computers cackling fiendishly as they set something up for the next author in line to tackle. Having been involved in several “collaborative novels”, I can tell you that sometimes that set-up works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In “The Chase”, it works really well.

TOP SUSPENSE is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in quite a while and well worth your attention. Highly recommended.


David Cranmer said...

A fine collection. I still have a few stories to read but "The Baby Store" by Mr. Gorman was quite powerful.

Charles Gramlich said...

Looks good. I've been intending to get this one.

Harry Shannon said...

Thanks for the kind review, James. Delighted you had fun with it.