Tuesday, March 2, 2010

THE LINE UP, edited by Otto Penzler



edited by

Otto Penzler

Released as hardback
November, 2009


Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 978-0-316-03193-6

$25.99 USA
$31.99 Canada


Do any of these authors' names ring a bell?

  • Ken Bruen
  • Lee Child
  • Lincoln Child
  • Michael Connelly
  • John Connelly
  • Robert Crais
  • Jeffery Deaver
  • Colin Dexter
  • John Harvey
  • Stephen Hunter
  • Faye Kellerman
  • Jonathan Kellerman
  • John Lescroat
  • Laura Lippman
  • David Morrell
  • Carol O'Connell
  • Robert Parker
  • Ridley Pearson
  • Anne Perry
  • Douglas Preston
  • Ian Rankin
  • Alexander McCall Smith

Otto Penzler has, in this one book, brought together a heroic list of fine, top-of-the-industry mystery writers. Owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, where he lives, he has edited many mystery anthologies as well as co-authoring THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYSTERY AND DETECTION.

It was wonderful to hear where the seeds for some of the most memorable characters came from. I was interested to find, for example, that David Morrell wrote RAMBO* as a direct result of the aftermath of the Vietnam War. A Canadian teaching and living in the U.S. (Pennsylvania, to be exact), he saw the cause and effect of war on the returning veterans of active conflict and he also saw from a unique perspective the often perverse and illogical ways people -- especially non-veterans with no personal connection to those engaged in the conflict -- reacted to it all. From the emotional gardens of stone grown from human conflict, the character Rambo was born.

Simply said, I found this book to be fascinating. The variety and angle taken by the assorted authors/voices makes it both unique and valuable to the avid reader of the genre. To aspiring mystery or thriller authors, even more so.

Recommended reading!

Special thanks to Hachette Book Group, which provided this book for review free of charge to the independent reader.

For more book reviews, please visit The Fireside Reader at http://thefiresidereader.blogspot.com .

*Reviewer's personal note:

The movie called RAMBO was very different from the book. In the book, Morrell based the story, not in the Pacific Northwest, but in "Madison", Kentucky. (There is a Madison County in Kentucky, but to the best of my knowledge, there is no town called that.) That's right: Rambo was originally a Kentuckian.

Mr. Morrell said in THE LINE UP, the book above reviewed, that his intent was to give the story "a slight Southern flavor and because that state has a wilderness area that some people call the 'Grand Canyon of the East', a dramatic setting for my novel".  The gods reside in the details: I live about 20 minutes' drive from the Red River Gorge, the aforementioned wilderness area. I know that area well, since some of my ancestors once lived there (for some generations), and it's a popular place to go walk, to shoot photos, to take a canoe trip down the usually shallow Red River (once known as The Warrior's Fork). Some of my own relatives still own land there. The actual place is very different from Mr. Morrell's description.

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