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Friday, November 8, 2013

Death and the Detective: Eleven Mystery Tales Edited by Jess Faraday

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to enter to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

With eleven mystery authors given the parameters to write a short story about a detective and a death, it’s not surprising that editor Jess Faraday received such a diverse collection of original, and all very well written, tales of death and deception. Sometimes the narrators are heroes and sometimes they are the deceivers, but they always manage to entrap the reader into their stories of justice, redemption, and survival. Broken into categories of Doublecross, Revenge, Something to Prove, They Needed Killin’, and Second Chances, readers are treated to sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but always compelling tales of death and morality.

In Jess Faraday’s fun “Golden Handcuffs,” an unlikable shoe store employee falls to his death and it’s up to a shopping mall security guard to make a decision between justice and the law. The concept of justice also comes into question in H. Tucker Cobey’s “Happy Valentine’s,” when a femme fatale client asks Chandler Investigations to look into a suspected suicide. Mark Hague’s detective in “Detective for Dummies” somewhat unknowingly solves his case through the subtle hints conveyed to him by his charming life partner, and Lee Mullins’ “Foot in the Trash Can” places a twist on the traditional hard-boiled police detective by having him finding an unexpected surprise when he enlists the aid of a drag queen assistant coroner. “The Cat,” by Gay Toltl Kinman, finds a damaged police detective finding redemption through a cat who may be able to provide the evidence essential to saving the case. And one of the most twisty and enjoyable convoluted tales “White Devil” by Sarah M. Chen, an American-Chinese investigator finds that investigating his own marriage may be more complicated than a case of insurance fraud and smuggling.

Image source: Elm Books

Short story collections are perfect for introducing readers to new authors, and each of these stories and the many others provide entertaining glimpses into the works of these diverse writers. Readers should be on the lookout for past and upcoming mysteries by these talented authors.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Death and the Detective, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Detective”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 16, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).