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by Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross, and Leslie Wheeler, eds.
Level Best, November 2012
244 pages
ISBN: 0983878021

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It seems impossible, given the high quality of last year's compilation, but 2013 is a banner year for the short story writers of BLOOD MOON. Every story in this impressive collection is worth reading, and ironically for one like myself who assiduously avoids science fiction, the best story in the collection was "The Clue Nobody Saw," a sci-fi take on a police procedural, with robots, by Annette Sweeney.

This is hardly the only star in book of stellar stories. There are tales with plenty of tongue-in-cheek, not least of which were "Double Wedding," by Mo Walsh and "Mr. Fussy" by Christine Eskilson, as well

as the cautionary tale of the too-good-to-be-true "Freebie" by Leslie Wheeler.

There are "victims" who get the better of their perpetrators, as in "The Sounds of Silence" by Kate Flora and "The Prize" by Peter Martin, and in the case of "Burning Desire" by Cheryl Marceau, a plan for revenge comes with a surprise. Each of these stories, and many more of those not mentioned (including the award-winning "Out to Sea" by VR Barkowski), offer a glimpse into life in New England, albeit with a dark twist.

The 31 stories selected for this volume are winners in their own right, having been selected from the largest submission group ever for this annual collection. Each is to be savored and, for aspiring crime writers, to be studied for their clever twists and turns.

It's a book that will leave readers satisfied, yet still wishing for more. Whether flash fiction or thousands of words, each story provides a well crafted tale in miniature, a satisfying nugget for the crime fiction fan. It will be hard to top this year's success, as editors Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross, and Leslie Wheeler have raised the bar for themselves and their readers.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, January 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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