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by S.J. Rozan, ed.
Hanover Square Press, April 2022
416 pages
ISBN: 1335425799

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this anthology, edited by S.J. Rozan and presented by Mystery Writers of America, 20 crime fiction authors explore what happens when crime hits home. As Rozan writes in the introduction, "Settings are cities, suburbs, islands, ranches, and swamps. Nothing ties these stories together except the sense of home—and a strong tie it is."

There is a mix of well-known authors, such as Sara Paretsky and Walter Mosley, and writers who may be new to the reader. But there is something sure to please any reader of short stories.

The anthology is bookended by two stories in which the main characters, both children, face racism and antisemitism from outside the family. In "Grand Garden" by Naomi Hirahara, a boy who lives with his parents in a traditional Japanese house is bullied by a classmate into showing his home. Tragedy ensues. The final story, S.J. Rozan's "Playing for Keeps," is ostensibly about a kids' game of marbles—but also about survival during Germany's Holocaust.

In a couple of stories, characters make a trip home for a funeral. In "Flip Top," by Gary Phillips, Cully Graham returns to Los Angeles for Aunt Millie's funeral. But when his aunt's old flip-top phone is found by a child, Cully will go to any lengths to retrieve it. The question is: why?

In "Oyster Creek" by Neil S. Plakcy, private investigator George Clay returns home after his mother is killed in a hit-and-run accident. When police take a lax attitude toward solving the accident, George investigates for himself.

There were many enjoyable stories in the anthology, but one that was especially delightful was "Haunted Home on the Range" by A.P. Jamison. In the story, Augusta "Gus" DeWitt , an 11-year-old cowboy-boot-wearing girl, fancies herself a private investigator. And she does get to investigate when there's a murder. As the title suggests, a ghostly vision is involved. Her bio states that Jamison has completed her first novel with Gus as the main character. I'm looking forward to reading it!

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, April 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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