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The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 (The Best American Mystery Stories)

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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  583 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
The Best American Series(r)
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publi
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ebook, 412 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published December 1st 2011)
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Dixie
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of both short stories and mysteries, so The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 was bound to pique my curiosity. This year’s collection was edited by Harlan Coben, so I knew this would be a good set of stories.

Surprisingly, I think my favorite story was The End of the String by Charles McCarry. This story involves an American in Ndala who becomes involved with a military man wishing to overthrow the president. This is not a topic I would normally seek out, but what a storyteller! I was
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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The Best American Mystery Stories are an annual anthology that publishes a selection of tales published in magazines an anthologies during the year. Each year a guest editor is chosen who determines from a list of about 50 submissions, their favourite 20 stories to be included. Harlan Coben is this years editor and as a fan of his books I was interested to read his choices.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 has great variety and I was more than impressed with the overall quality. Of the twen
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Harvey
It's hard to give a rating to a short story anthology. Nevertheless, overall this was a solid collection of stories. Some "old favorite" and familiar authors are represented but I especially like that I can "try out" new authors easily in this format.

For new-to-me writing, I especially liked Brock Adams' "Audacious" and Ernest Finney's "A Crime of Opportunity" and will be looking for more from these authors.
David
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
A good batch this year - I read these every year to find stories for Thrilling Tales, so I'm reading with a focus on more inherently clear and satisfying stories - and Coben has a fair number of these. I've been wanting to do a Brendan DuBois story in the storytime for some years now, and I think "Ridealong" is finally one that will work w/ the format, as there are some very good twists. Less certain about risking a story co-written by Tom Franklin ("What His Hands had been Waiting For") about t ...more
Wendy
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection was much better than the 2007 Best Short Stories anthology. I had high hopes after reading this line in Harlan Coben's introduction: "[these authors} have taken Elmore Leonard's credo and fed it steroids and raised it to the tenth power and then driven it out to a dive bar by the airport and given it an unlimited tab." Oh yeah.

One of the editors, Otto Penzler, makes a point to explain that these stories are not typical mysteries. As long as a story has elements of a crime, it qua
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PopcornReads
The Best American Mystery Stories of 2011 edited by Harlan Coben and Otto Penzler is the 15th edition of this very popular anthology. I look forward to it every year, so I gave a little fist pump when I was able to snag an advance reader’s copy from the publisher. As usual, this is an excellent collection of stories by new-to-me authors and some old favorites. Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=2125
Alison
Jun 29, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-worth-it
I gave it such a bad rating because I just couldn't even continue it. I read the first several stories and they just weren't for me. I was either bored reading them or didn't like the endings or whatever. I could see that some people may enjoy the book but like I said, it just wasn't for me. I will definitely give a book of short stories another try though because I like the idea.
Zora
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a couple of five-star stories in this collection, about half of them did not engage me and those I thumbed past. It's difficult to write a short mystery story, and there are few in here (they're mostly crime stories, really--you'd shelve them in "thriller" rather than "mystery.")
Steve
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
read in tandem with burning desires and found the mixing of genres interesting
Dale Singer
Sep 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not finish it. I could not take reading any more bad short stories.
Erik Tanouye
Bought for $5.98 from Amazon in December 2013.
Bruce Snell
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories printed in various periodicals during 2011, and edited by Harlan Coben. I enjoyed this collection. I try to read a short story between novels to clear my mind and make myself ready for the next book. I can honestly say that several of these stories did not let me clear my mind - they stuck with me, forcing me to think about them in depth and I can't ask for more from any story than that.

Notes on a few stories that are worth thinking about:

Audacious - a comp
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Alger
Mar 25, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This collection is a pile of crap that Harlan Coben needs to be ashamed of. None of these stories are worth the time it took to read them, let alone compile as the "Best of the Year".

As usual with "mystery" compilations now, there is not a mystery to be had in the entire book so don't expect detection or even a police procedural. This is really a collection of short fiction occupied with violence.
Even judged solely as a collection of short fiction this volume seriously under-performs. Several o
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Chris Cosci
As with many anthologies, this collection is a mixed bag -- a bit disappointing given the title. Obviously such a collection is going to be based on subjective decisions. However, I've read other collections in this series and don't recall such an imbalance of quality.

Many will complain that most of these stories don't fit the mold of your typical "mystery." And while the foreword does an admirable job of setting the reader up for this, some of the stories included here are just too far removed
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Krzysztof
2/5 in the literal meaning of the ratings here: It was ok.

Contemporary crime stories really aren't my thing. It might be this particular selection, but it seems like the american mystery story isn't my style either. While it's obvious that a short story collection is going to be varied in quality, I couldn't fully enjoy even the best of these in this book. There's always something holding them back - either poor narration, or ridiculous amounts of misoginy (I swear, rape or some other sort of as
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Andrew Neal
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some really great stories in here. Like it says in the introduction, these tend to be more about the characters than about actual mysteries, and that's just dandy with me.

Not all the stories were great, but I really enjoyed:

Audacious by Brock Adams: I thought I was going to dismiss it as an emotionally manipulative heartstrings-yanker, but this one had moments of real truth in the way the characters behaved, and that may be what I enjoy most in writing.

The Stars are Falling by Joe Lans
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Maitri
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Many of the stories aren't whodunnit mysteries in the traditional sense. Instead, they make the reader wonder what in hell is going on, which then constitutes a mystery. I particularly enjoyed Charles McCarry’s "The End of the String," S. J. Rozan’s "Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case" and Lawrence Block’s "Clean Slate." Dennis McFadden's "Diamond Alley" didn't live up to the hype and a couple of other stories plodded along, which is why I didn't give this book all five stars.

Looking forward to purchase
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Elizabeth B
Like any anthologies, this one is either a hit or miss depending on the type of writing you like. Each year holds promise for a reader to find something they enjoy and this one is no exception. The variety of stories should allow everyone to find at least one story that appeals to them. As a whole, however, I found this book to be less than stellar. While some stories did garner my interest the majority seemed predictable and flat which isn't what one would expect from a best of the year series. ...more
Mark
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection started out slow, and I was puzzled as to why about half of the stories were considered worthy of the collection. The last half consisted of very solid, often great crime stories. Highlights include the story that Chris Holm turned into a novel , The Killing Kind, and Max Allan Collins finishing the late Mickey Spillane's draft of a Mike Hammer story. The only common thread in these stories is that they involve crime or espionage - there are only a few that could truly be called ...more
Scott Miles
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A solid collection, but as with all story collections, some stories resonated with me more than others. Standouts include: Ed Gorman's "Flying Solo", which, I think, at least, has an uplifting slant on terminal cancer patients; Richard Lange's "Baby Killer", which proved to me Lange's continued reign as one of America's best short story writers; and Andrew Riconda's "Heart Like a Balloon", which really surprised me with its nuanced storytelling(I guess the narrator's voice kinda misled me into t ...more
Reader Gal
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have never read this series of short mystery stories, what a great time you'll have finally reading this book. This is an outstanding collection (as usual) of short stories that you won't find anywhere else.

From hit men to an old Chinese mama solving a kidnapping, there is enough variety to appeal to every reader.

Starting in 1997, this series has a new guest editor every year, with a constant series editor, Otto Penzler, manning the helm. The guest editor is always a well-known mystery wr
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Kelly Wagner
My biggest complaint is that far too many of these stories are NOT MYSTERIES. They may be noir, they may involve a crime being committed - but it's not a mystery unless there's a mystery to be solved! And many of these stories don't have that element. There are elaborate descriptions of crimes being committed - but no question of who is doing it, and no one outside the crime trying to find out about it. As far as I'm concerned, those crime stories should not be considered mysteries. Unless someh ...more
Jendi
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This series should be called "The Best American Violent Stories by Men". Mostly good-quality writing and original premises but too much gratuitous brutality against women and children. (Do we really need a lingering description of every nude prostituted woman who is being raped by the villain or slapped around by the so-called hero, etc.) I had to skip several stories for that reason. S.J. Rozan's female amateur detective was a breath of fresh air. I have enjoyed other entries in this series but ...more
James
I'm giving this three stars as a book of crime-related short stories. Very few of the stories are what I would consider to be mysteries.

Like many anthologies, some stories are very good, while others are mediocre. Standouts for me were "Audacious" by Brock Adams, "Clean Slate" by Lawrence Block, "Ride-Along" by Brendan Dubois, "A Crime of Opportunity" by Ernest J. Finney, "Flying Solo" by Ed Gorman, "The Hitter" by Chris F. Holm, "The Stars are Falling" by Joe R. Lansdale, and "A Long Time Dead
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Vince Darcangelo
Faves:

Brock Adams, "Audacious"

Dennis McFadden, "Diamond Alley" (Go Pirates!)

Lawrence Block, "Clean Slate"

David Corbett and Luis Alberto Urrea, "Who Stole My Monkey?"

Loren D. Estleman, "Sometimes a Hyena"

Ed Gorman, "Flying Solo"

Harry Hunsicker, "West of Nowhere"

Joe R. Landsdale, "The Stars Are Falling"

Andrew Riconda, "Heart Like a Balloon"

Brendan Dubois, "Ride-Along"

Chris F. Holm, "The Hitter"
Janis
Feb 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent volume of short mysteries, as was The Best American Short Stories, 2011, edited by Geraldine Brooks. The contents of each is very varied, and the writing universally superb. Rather than try to describe any one story, I will quietly recommend the short story as a sometimes-underrated format. Personally, after beginning a collection, I find that they hold my interest for hours, one after the other, like a hypnotic. Especially good for long stretches of reading.
Carla
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mostly liked this collection, a couple of stories I really, really liked, a few I didn't care much for, and one I found disturbing. I do question, though, what makes a few of these stories part of the "mystery" collection rather than simply the short stories collection. The presence of some sort of crime appears to be a qualifier, but some really didn't seem to be mystery stories, as I would define them.
Dave
Nov 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Like a moth drawn to a light, I couldn't help signing this book out from the local library on my e-reader. I don't like short stories, never read one that I have enjoyed. But Harlan Coben stuck his name to it, so it must be ok I thought. I read the first two and that was enough. Note to self: Don't take out any more short story books
SmarterLilac
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was just going to skim the titles in the table of contents and put it back on the shelf, but the terrific pieces in this great little collection just pounced on me. Stand outs include the overwhelming, bittersweet noir 'Baby Killer,' by Richard Lange, and 'Last Cottage' by Christopher Merkner. (The author's notes for both these stories are definitely worth reading.)
Nikki
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like any anthology, there are some real gems in here. A few weren't my cup of tea, but that's to be expected. (view spoiler) Overall, I'm really pleased that I spent the 99 cents at the Kindle store to read this one.
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With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first aut
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More about Harlan Coben...

Other Books in the Series

The Best American Mystery Stories (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 1997
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 1998
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 1999
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2000
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2001
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2002
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2003
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2004
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2005
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2006

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