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The Best American Mystery Stories 2002 [Paperback]

ELLROY , James Ellroy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade) (23 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618124934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618124930
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the acclaimed LA Quartet, The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential and White Jazz, as well as the Underworld USA trilogy: American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand and Blood's a Rover. He is the author of one work of non-fiction, The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women.

Product Description


Presents a collection of mystery stories selected from magazines in the United States and Canada.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good service 1 Feb 2010
A little slow in delivery - but came from USA and had New Year to contend with - but even so it took about 28 days for delivery. Book in excellent condition and overall I am well pleased.
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Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return of an Annual Classic 11 Oct 2002
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on Amazon.com
"Best American Mystery Stories 2002" is the latest volume in what has become a very fine and enjoyable series. Given that it is so difficult to find magazines featuring short stories these days, it's nice to have the best culled out and placed in one volume. James Ellroy of "American Tabloid" and "L.A. Confidential" fame is the guest editor this year, which may explain why this year's model is a touch more hard-boiled that the 2001 edition. Additionally, it should be noted that the 2002 collection also contains several boxing and baseball stories because series editor Otto Penzler put together theme anthologies for both sports in the last year.
That said, the stories in the 2002 collection run the gamut from literary to whodunnits? to crime stories. How you like each one will probably depend on your tastes as a reader. All are expertly written by the best mystery writers working in the genre today. My personal favorites are Thomas J. Cook's boxing story "The Fix," Clark Howard's grim caper story "The Cobalt Blues," and Stuart M. Kaminisky's gritty crime saga "Sometimes Something Goes Wrong." Some of the stories didn't work for me, particularly the literary stories, but that's mostly a matter of personal taste.
The short story, particularly the mystery short story, is a disappearing art form. "Best American Mystery Stories 2002" is doing its part to keep it alive and well.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not very mysterious 26 Feb 2003
By adead_poet@hotmail.com - Published on Amazon.com
I don't buy the Best American Mystery Stories every year (like I do for the Best American Short Stories, Essays, Science and Nature Writing, and now Nonrequired Reading). What I do is glance at the editor and at the authors included within. This year's edition is edited by James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential and the rest of his L.A. Quartet). And it has a story by Joe Lansdale, "The Mule Rustlers" --which is a great story, with a nice, humorous twist at the end-- (Lansdale is the greatest Texas writer whose name isn't McMurtry); and a story by Joyce Carol Oates, "The High School Sweetheart"--which is a story very much in her style, and somewhat 'experimental', but isn't as good as what she normally does. The best two stories in this year's volume is Brendan Dubois' "A Family Game" (great twist of an ending) and Daniel Waterman's "A Lepidopterist's Tale", which really only kicks in at the end, and reminds me of an Oates story. Stuart M. Kaminsky, Fred Melton, Annette Meyers, Michael Connelly, Thomas H. Cook, Sean Doolittle, and Joe Gores also have good stories within. What detracts from the collection: the fact that while these may be good stories, there isn't a whole lot of mystery to them; John Biguenet's dull story "It Is Raining in Bejucal"; David Edgerley Gates' mediocre "The Blue Mirror"; James Grady's unreadable "The Championship of Nowhere"; amd F.X. Toole's story "Midnight Emissions", which I was unable to finish. When reading the collection you'll notice an unusual amount of sports stories--mainly baseball and boxing stories (or maybe not surprising since Otto Penzler edited the two books those stories came from).
If you are looking for really good 'mystery' stories, you probably want to move along, but there are 11 really good stories (that's over half) to read. Some you would call mystery, some you wouldn't.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pick and Choose 18 Jan 2004
By Joshua V. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
This anthology of "Mystery" stories is a puzzling mix of genuine mysteries and several other stories that belong to other genres, as other reviewers have pointed out. Many of them would be better categorized as short dramas or action thrillers. A good chunk of the stories also are unnecessarily lewd in a way that serves no useful purpose in the story. I did, however, enjoy several of the stories, and found some to be rather humorous. Not all the ones I enjoyed fit my understanding of mystery, for example, the "Championship of Nowhere" and the "Mule Rustlers" were good non-mystery fiction. Basically this collection is not what you might expect or hope for, but it does have several redeeming stories.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the mystery? 27 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I agree with another reviewer that the title should have indicated crime stories rather than mysteries. There was never any mystery about who had done it. Also, the vast majority of the stories seemed aimed at a male audience. I got pretty tired of descriptions of fights and near fights and thugs and guns.If I remember correctly, only one story seemed aimed at a female audience and was also the only one read by a female.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mix that doesn't completely work. 24 Jan 2003
By Sebastien Pharand - Published on Amazon.com
When someone edits an anthology, he should be aware of the different tastes in the audience. Unless it is a themed anthology, the stories should reflect a wide spectrum to provide the readers with the best possible entertaiment. A "best-of" anthology like this one should cover this, as well as present us with both new and established writers. Unfortunately, this edition doesn't come close to answering to these criterias.
It's obvious that guest editor James Ellroy has a preference for sports stories. Nearly half of the stories in here are about sports (mostly boxing, which is one of Ellroy's favourites). Not that there's anything wrong with sports stories. It's just that the ones featured here are far from remarkable. Save for Michael Connelly's murder at the baseball game story, and for Thomas Cook's The Fix, none of the sports-themed stories deliver the goods.
Fortunately, there are a few stories here that are quite memorable. Joe R. Lansdale always delivers the goods, and his story The Mule Rustlers does not disappoint. Other great stories are Joyce Carol Oates's The High School Sweetheart, Daniel Waterman's A Lepidopterist's Tale, Stuart M. Kaminisky Sometimes Something Goes Wrong, Sean Doolittle's Summa Mathematica and John Biguenet's It Is Raining in Bejucal.
That's only seven good stories out of the twenty that are found in this anthology. If these stories really represent the best stories of 2002, then it was a pretty bad year for mystery fiction!
And it would have been nice if Ellroy could have added more new writers. All the featured writers here save for one have published more than one book. I love an anthology that makes you discover new writers. This one didn't do that either. I can't say that I recommend this new edition of The Best Mystery Stories. Otto Penzler is a great editor, maybe he should think about taking the reins of the next one himself.
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