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The Best American Crime Writing 2005 Paperback – 1 Sep 2005
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The best part of the book is James Ellroy's contributed essay "Choirboys" in which he recounts his misspent youth before finally being motivated to writing by the publication of Wambaugh's novels. Ellroy's power as a writer is fully on display in this intensely personal tale.
Of the 15 stories, I would judge only one as weak. The selection covers crime, not just those with gore. There's the story of a burglar who stole nothing but sterling silver. Another accompanies a businessman who is about to start a five year prison sentence for financial misdeeds that cost investors about a billion dollars. The decades old murder of a Peace Corps volunteer is given attention as the author tracks down a woman's killer who literally got away with murder thanks to political maneuvering by the State Department and Peace Corps.
Overall it's a solid anthology and choosing James Ellroy to write the introduction and finagling his own contribution was genius. My only reservation, as noted, is that the editors seem to have chosen only from publications mostly on the east coast where the view of things can be skewed.