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The Best American Mystery Stories 2005 by…
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The Best American Mystery Stories 2005 (2005)

by Joyce Carol Oates (Editor & Introduction), Otto Penzler (Series Editor)

Other authors: Richard Burgin (Contributor), Louise Erdrich (Contributor), Daniel Handler (Contributor), George V. Higgins (Contributor), Edward P. Jones (Contributor)15 more, Stuart M. Kaminsky (Contributor), Dennis Lehane (Contributor), Laura Lippman (Contributor), Lou Manfredo (Contributor), Tim McLoughlin (Contributor), David Means (Contributor), Kent Nelson (Contributor), Daniel Orozco (Contributor), David Rachel (Contributor), Joseph Raiche (Contributor), John Sayles (Contributor), Sam Shaw (Contributor), Oz Spies (Contributor), Scott Turow (Contributor), Scott Wolven (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Mystery Stories (2005), Best American (2005)

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Hate to say it, but I did not get a lot out of these stories. I would read one, it would be somewhat interesting and then end flat, leaving me with the feeling of being cheated. Kinda like eating stone crackers with no water or salt. Tasteless. Bland. And sadly, I could not finish this thick book.

Rather, I picked up its companion, Best American Fantastic Tales, and this reads much better. ( )
  James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
Hate to say it, but I did not get a lot out of these stories. I would read one, it would be somewhat interesting and then end flat, leaving me with the feeling of being cheated. Kinda like eating stone crackers with no water or salt. Tasteless. Bland. And sadly, I could not finish this thick book.

Rather, I picked up its companion, Best American Fantastic Tales, and this reads much better. ( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
The first mystery in The Best American Mystery Stories 2005 is why Joyce Carol Oates was chosen to edit this collection, since she’s not a mystery writer. The books she writes under the pseudonyms Rosamond Smith and Lauren Kelly, sometimes billed as mysteries, are crime stories where family secrets come slowly out in the narration, hardly mysteries in the usual genre sense. Such quibbling takes nothing away from her literary judgment though, and this collection contains topnotch stories that have appeared not only in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine but also in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Atlantic, and various small magazines.
Many will consider the jewel of the collection to be the longish story called “Jack Duggan’s Law,” written by George V. Higgins. Higgins, who wrote the mystery classic The Friends of Eddie Coyle, died in 1999, and this story’s delayed publication in 2005 may make it the last of his works to see print.
But there are other treats as well. Stuart Kaminsky has a story called “The Shooting of John Roy Worth,” where we learn in the first few paragraphs that the town’s sign painter, probably mentally retarded and certainly mentally disturbed, intends to kill the only celebrity from the little town of Pardo, Texas. From there the story moves toward its conclusion quickly and inevitably. But Kaminsky’s rapidly drawn, convincing characters provide a surprise ending.
Scott Wolven’s story, “Barracuda,” describes in the best hard-boiled tradition an upstate New York subculture in which the usual human virtues of honesty, loyalty, and pity have no place.
Here’s the opening from a story by Dennis Lehane that he calls “Until Gwen”:
Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat. Two minutes into the ride, the prison still hanging tilted in the rearview, Mandy tells you that she only hooks part-time. The rest of the time she does light secretarial for an independent video chain and tends bar, two Sundays a month, at the local VFW. But she feels her calling—her true calling in life—is to write.
That opening, which I would characterize as Elmore Leonard meets Garrison Keillor, might fool you into thinking that “Until Gwen” will be a comic story. But it keeps on getting darker and darker until, as Lehane himself admits in the biographical notes at the end of the book, “it ended up being arguably the darkest thing I’ve ever written.” And that, coming from the man who wrote Mystic River, is dark indeed.
On the other hand, Daniel Orozco’s story, “Officers Weep,” really is funny throughout. Orozco manages to present a mystery, a love story, and some urban social comedy while never deviating from the form of police reports, a sequence of them from two lines to two dozen lines long. It’s an ingenious narrative device, and Orozco captures the authentic sound of police lingo. ( )
  michaelm42071 | Sep 6, 2009 |
So this is what you get when you ask Joyce Carol Oates to make the final choices on what to include in a best mystery stories collection: stylish explorations of how violence shapes human character, or what it means to be human in a violent world. Overall, it's pretty grim, and not what I was looking for -- I'd have appreciated some heists, or puzzles to figure out -- but the selections were predictably well written. Standouts for me were Daniel Handler's "Delmonico" (appealing characters); Daniel Orozco's 'Officers Weep" (absurdist humor), and Dennis Lehane's "Until Gwen" (appalling slow reveal). ( )
  bezoar44 | Mar 25, 2009 |
I want Joyce Carol Oates to edit more anthologies. Best American Mystery Stories is always a worthy read, but the 2005 iteration under Ms. Oates' purview is outstanding. Every year unsuspecting readers excoriate the guest editor and Otto Penzler, the series editor, for the very loose criteria they apply to "mystery" stories, generally requiring only that a tale touch on a crime to be considered. Maybe that waters down the mystery as sleuthing/procedural aspect, but when you have stories like the ones Oates picked, who cares?

You've got "literary" work like "Old Boys, Old Girls" from Edward P. Jones and "Until Gwen" from Dennis Lehane, a cunning play on newspaper police reports in "Officers Weep" from Daniel Orozco, a smart identity puzzle in "The Last Man I Killed" from David Rachel and an amusing parable on fame in our culture in Stuart Kaminsky's "The Shooting of John Roy Worth." Fantastic pieces all. ( )
  johnleague | Jan 31, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oates, Joyce CarolEditor & Introductionprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Penzler, OttoSeries Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgin, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erdrich, LouiseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Handler, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Higgins, George V.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, Edward P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaminsky, Stuart M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lehane, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lippman, LauraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manfredo, LouContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McLoughlin, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Means, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nelson, KentContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orozco, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rachel, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raiche, JosephContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayles, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shaw, SamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spies, OzContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turow, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolven, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Book description
Authors alphabetical: Richard Burgin, Louise, Erdrich*, Daniel Handler, George V Higgins*, Edward P Jones, Dennis Lehane*, Laura Lippman, Tim McLoughlin, Lou Manfredo, David Means, Kent Nelson, Daniel Orozco, David Rachel, Joseph Raiche, John Sayles, Sam Shaw, Scott Turow*, Scott Wolven
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618517456, Paperback)

The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of periodicals. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the very best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind.

The Best American Mystery Stories 2005 includes

Scott Turow • Edward P. Jones • Louise Erdrich • Dennis Lehane • Daniel Handler • Laura Lippman • George V. Higgins • David Means • Richard Burgin • Scott Wolven • Stuart M. Kaminsky • and others

Joyce Carol Oates, guest editor, is a highly respected novelist, critic, playwright, poet, and short story writer. She is the author of numerous books, including the National Book Award winner Them and most recently the novel The Falls.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Featuring a collection of the best American mystery stories from 2005, this book includes stories from Scott Turow, Edward P. Jones, Louise Erdrich, Dennis Lehane, Daniel Handler, Laura Lippman, George V. Higgins, David Means, Richard Burgin, Scott Wolven, Stuart M. Kaminsky and others.… (more)

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