Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vengeance edited by Lee Child : Review

                                                         Star Rating
A special thanks to Atlantic Books publishers for this copy which I received for an honest review. 

'Mystery Writers of America presents Vengeance' is an anthology of high-octane crime stories edited by the crime legend, Lee Child. This was the first anthology I have ever read, personally preferring to read full novels, and I have to say it wasn't entirely my cup of tea. Although anthologies are great to dip in and out of when you don't have the time for an entire novel, I feel that the stories chosen for this book were very hit and miss. Some were fantastic! Some were disappointing.

The content of this book was selected by Lee Child and a panel of competition judges. As stated in the introduction, "10 high quality invitees and 10 high quality competition winners" feature in this anthology. Lee Child himself described the process as "like playing fantasy baseball - who did I want on the field?" I feel that in choosing his team, Lee Child made some unfortunate errors. I was disappointed by his own offering to the book which was not consistent with his usual high standard.

However, some of the short stories hidden within this book are top class and it is certainly worth reading through to find them. The themes included are extremely dark and disturbing and, for a horror film lover such as myself, are successful in grabbing the attention of the reader. This anthology addresses themes such as rape, suicide, terminal illness, molestation and murder. The following short stories are superbly written and a must read for lovers of crime fiction:

The Mother by Alafair Burke 
(although I did feel this story ended very abruptly)
The Unremarkable Heart by Karin Slaughter
Blood and Sunshine by Adam Meyer
River Secret by Anne Swardson
A Fine Mist Of Blood by Michael Connelly
Even A Blind Man by Darrell James

My favourite short story by far was 'Blood and Sunshine' by Adam Meyer. It was very reminiscent of a fantastic British horror film I watched recently on LoveFilm called 'The Children' where a relaxing Christmas break turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents. If you haven't seen this film make sure you check it out!

Although I have given the book as a whole 2 stars, there are definitely some hidden gems in here worth a lot more. It is a great book for lovers of crime fiction looking for something to dip into on a lunch break or on the train. You may even discover some new crime authors to add to your reading list! 

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