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Chris High books reviewed

Front cover of the book 'And She Was'.

Face Off: A Collection of Short Crime Stories

Edited by David Baldacci

Publisher: Sphere
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0751554944
ISBN-13: 978-0751554946
29 Jan. 2015

Like finding buried treasure, having Face Off land on the doormat resulted in a little jump of joy in the stomach, as the list of authors who have collaborated to bring their main characters together to solve mysteries, crack crimes and unravel thrillers suddenly dawned.

Yet, although writing short stories is undoubtedly a challenge given that they must be condensed and tailored to meet specific requirements, reading them can very often leave readers a little undernourished.

Not so with Face Off. Each story is a mini-novella that drives along under its own steam and each is testament to the mutual respect each other has for his or her partner. Not only this, but with writing being such a singular activity it is refreshing to see how well each contributor has managed to build a relationship between their characters. After all, are Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie ever likely to meet outside the short story format? You’d not have thought so but so brightly does their partnership sparkle and fizz in Red Eye, the idea of a collaborative novel can only be wished for.

Another aspect – that of developing a contrived scenario so that both characters can be in the same breathing space – has been exquisitely avoided, so that what results as a whole is a beautifully crafted collection of crime that will be turned to time and again by crime fiction enthusiasts – and short story aficionados of all genres – as a marker of how the craft of short story writing should be carried out.


 


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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