A Collection of Short Fiction by Otto Penzler, editor
Review: This collection of 82 short stories, compiled by editor Otto Penzler — and most original to this volume — are all fewer than 1000 words long, many considerably less than that. These Kwik Krimes are, as Penzler mentions in an introduction, "criminal adventures rather than detective tales because, let's face it, it is hard to hide clues and have enough reasonable suspects in a total of about four pages."
But even that very limited expectation isn't met here. Many of these stories don't involve a crime at all, at least not in the sense one has come to expect of a mystery story. Some merely set the stage for one. Others might at best be considered stories of suspense. Most don't involve a cop, PI, or other agent of authority, but are merely everyday people in not-so-everyday situations. More than a few are so abrupt that it isn't clear what the point of the story is.
Nearly all of these short stories are well-written if not always well-crafted, which, given the caliber of the roster of authors whose work is included here, is a bit disappointing in and of itself. Few are compelling enough to recall the plot points a hour or so after reading. As a collection of quick reads, Kwik Krimes provides just that. But it seems unlikely few of these stories will encourage readers to go out and sample an author's other work, and that's a missed opportunity for all involved.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Kwik Krimes for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Kwik Krimes:
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Kwik Krimes by Otto Penzler, editor — A Collection of Short Fiction
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2013
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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