Authors: James Patterson,Otto Penzler
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Short Stories & Anthologies, #Anthologies, #United States, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Anthologies & Literature Collections, #Genre Fiction, #Collections & Anthologies
Copyright © 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Introduction copyright © 2015 James Patterson
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The Best American Series® is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
The Best American Mystery Stories
™ is a trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without the proper written permission of the copyright owner unless such copying is expressly permitted by federal copyright law. With the exception of nonprofit transcription in Braille, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is not authorized to grant permission for further uses of copyrighted selections reprinted in this book without the permission of their owners. Permission must be obtained from the individual copyright owners as identified herein. Address requests for permission to make copies of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt material to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York 10003.
Cover design by Christopher Moisan
Cover photograph © Superstock
These stories are works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
“The Snow Angel” by Doug Allyn. First published in
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
, January 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Doug Allyn. Reprinted by permission of Doug Allyn.
“Cowboy Justice” by Andrew D. Bourelle. First published in
Law and Disorder: Stories of Conflict & Crime
. Copyright © 2014 by Andrew D. Bourelle. Reprinted by permission of Andrew D. Bourelle.
“Rosalee Carrasco” by Tomiko M. Breland. First published in
, Winter 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Tomiko M. Breland. Reprinted by permission of Tomiko M. Breland.
“Wet with Rain” by Lee Child. First published in
Copyright © 2014 by Lee Child. Reprinted by permission of Lee Child.
“Red Eye: Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch: An Original Short Story” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly. First published in
, edited by David Baldacci. Copyright © 2014 by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly. Reprinted by permission of Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly.
“Harm and Hammer” by Joseph D’Agnese. First published in
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
, October 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Joseph D’Agnese. Reprinted by permission of Joseph D’Agnese.
“The Adventure of the Laughing Fisherman” by Jeffery Deaver. First published in
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes.
Copyright © 2014 by Gunner Publications, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Jeffery Deaver, Manager.
“Crush Depth” by Brendan DuBois. First published in
, edited by Jeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson. Copyright © 2014 by Brendan DuBois. Reprinted by permission of Brendan DuBois.
“Molly’s Plan” by John M. Floyd. First published in the
, Issue XLIII, June–Sept 2014. Copyright © 2014 by John M. Floyd. Reprinted by permission of John M. Floyd.
“A Bottle of Scotch and a Sharp Buck Knife” by Scott Grand. First published in
, Issue 11. Copyright © 2014 by Zach Basnett. Reprinted by permission of Zach Basnett.
“Shared Room on Union” by Steven Heighton. First published in
The Dead Are More Visible
by Steven Heighton. Copyright © 2012 by Steven Heighton. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company, and Steven Heighton.
“Afterlife of a Stolen Child” by Janette Turner Hospital. First published in the
, vol. LXVIII, no. 3, Fall 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Janette Turner Hospital. Reprinted by permission of the
“Apocrypha” by Richard Lange. First published in
Bull Men’s Fiction, Bull #4.
Copyright © 2014 by Richard Lange. Reprinted by permission of the author.
“Staircase to the Moon” by Theresa E. Lehr. First published in
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
, September 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Theresa E. Lehr. Reprinted by permission of Theresa E. Lehr.
“A Man Looking for Trouble” by Lee Martin. First published in
Glimmer Train Stories
, Issue 90, Spring/Summer 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Lee Martin. Reprinted by permission of Lee Martin.
“Many Dogs Have Died Here” by James Mathews. First published in
Iron Horse Literary Review
16.3, 2014. Copyright © 2014 by James Mathews. Reprinted by permission of James Mathews.
“Motherlode” by Thomas McGuane. First published in
The New Yorker
, September 8, 2014. From
Crow Fair: Stories by Thomas McGuane
, copyright © 2015 by Thomas McGuane. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Penguin Random House LLC for permission.
“A Kidnapping in Koulèv-Ville” by Kyle Minor. First published in
The Normal School
, Spring 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Kyle Minor. Reprinted by permission of Kyle Minor.
“The Home at Craigmillnar” by Joyce Carol Oates. First published in the
, Winter 2014. Copyright © 2014 by The Ontario Review, Inc. Reprinted by permission of The Ontario Review, Inc.
“The Shot” by Eric Rutter. First published in
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
, November 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Eric Rutter. Reprinted by permission of Eric Rutter.
UTHORS ARE SELDOM
cultural icons in America. A vast number of young people cannot identify a photo of Joe Biden or Mitt Romney, have never heard of
The New Yorker
, think Abraham Lincoln is the president of the United States (yes, a survey taken last year showed that 4 percent of Americans were confident that this was the case), and guess that Stephen Hawking is, like, um, a quarterback. Yet they can instantly recognize a photo of Katy Perry or Beyoncé and, in all likelihood, provide a comprehensive discography in relatively accurate chronology. But an author? Someone who writes the books from which their favorite films are so frequently adapted? No.
Publishers spend small fortunes advertising and marketing their star authors, and legions of writers work their fingers bloody tweeting, blogging, posting, and whatever else it’s possible to do on various social media. Authors make personal appearances at bookshops, libraries, universities, and whatever organizations will have them, and they give scads of interviews for newspapers, magazines, websites, radio programs, podcasts, and television shows. Nonetheless, most may as well be laboring in the Witness Protection Program for all the recognition they receive, while their books seemingly are released as documents that only those classified with top-level security clearance may locate.
Having made that (perhaps) hyperbolic statement, I should note that there are occasional exceptions to the anonymity of authors, and there is no greater refutation of the concept of anonymity than James Patterson, the guest editor of
The Best American Mystery Stories 2015.
Several factors contribute to the recognizability of Patterson’s name and, more recently, likeness. First, predictably, is the enormous popularity of his books, largely instigated by his creation of Alex Cross, the African-American psychologist who works as a homicide detective in the Washington, D.C., police department. While most mystery writers struggle with the expectation of writing a book every year, the prolific Patterson increased his presence by writing multiple books every year, ultimately producing so many different series that he hired other authors to collaborate with him. When he began to add books for young readers to his opera, his output reached a book a month—every one of which sold enormous quantities (the
New York Times
reported that one out of every seventeen hardcover novels published in the United States since 2006 has been written by Patterson).
As books are being published with such regularity and in such impressive numbers, there is always a Patterson book on the bestseller list and in the front of the store, so it is impossible to avoid being reminded of his work and his name. He is now a “brand.” Also, and this is extremely unusual in the world of publishing, his books are advertised on television, frequently with the author onscreen, enticing potential readers while warning them of the scary stuff that awaits them.
Finally, Patterson has become a highly visible spokesman for literacy programs, to which he offers more than his name and image. He has initiated several programs to which he has contributed millions of dollars, most recently in the form of stipends to independent booksellers.
How he found the time to be the guest editor for this book is anyone’s guess. Why he agreed to do it is more complex. Trust me—it’s not for the money, which would be a rounding error for his monthly income. It’s not because he needs another book on the shelf to prove he works hard. I confess that I didn’t ask the question, lest he pause for a moment to ask himself what in the world he was doing.
Most likely Patterson has an affection for this important series and liked the idea of being part of it. I helped him assemble a library of great fiction (titles that he chose), reflecting his eclectic but elevated taste (he loves
War and Peace, Ulysses, One Hundred Years of Solitude
). It is evident that literature means a great deal to him, and let’s face it, having his involvement with this book will help sales (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is even releasing a hardcover edition this year). A lot of contributors who are not household names will receive exposure that they would have been unlikely to have had otherwise.