Books by Otto Penzler

THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011 by Harlan Coben
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 4, 2011

"It has its highs and lows, but the best of Coben's Best is really first-rate."
Ranging from homespun to lush and tropical, this year's crop of 20 stories offers a variety of tastes and textures. Read full book review >
ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! by Otto Penzler
THRILLERS
Released: Sept. 20, 2011

"One wishes for a slightly—ahem—tastier and less flabby gathering. But if zombies are your cup of meat, this is just the thing."
"They sat like people asleep with their eyes open, staring, but seeing nothing." A Tea Party rally? No, no: A clutch of zombies, the stars of Penzler's (The Vampire Archives, 2009, etc.) latest mega-anthology. Read full book review >
THE GREATEST RUSSIAN STORIES OF CRIME AND SUSPENSE by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2010

"An entertaining collection of stories. Readers with no taste for the uncanny can enjoy two tart anecdotes about capital punishment—Tolstoy's "Too Dear" and Chekhov's "The Head Gardner's Story"—and Chekhov's deft and amusing whodunit, "The Swedish Match." "
Nineteen reprints with one foot on earth and the other elsewhere. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN NOIR OF THE CENTURY by James Ellroy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 2010

"Most of the others are worth your time as well—unless, or maybe even if, you've already caught them in previous Penzlers."
A star-studded memorial, thick as cement overshoes, to an oddly shaped century. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2010 by Lee Child
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 2010

"Penzler's foreword makes no bones about spurning traditional whodunits in favor of an eclectic mix of tales that exhibit crime in all its varieties in every corner of the world—and then some."
Guest editor Child chooses 20 atmospheric tales whose settings and crimes are all over the map in this 14th entry in Penzler's annual series. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 2009

"An all-star cast produces a mostly rewarding collection."
Profiles of fiction's leading sleuths originally published individually for patrons of editor Penzler's (Black Noir, 2009, etc.) Mysterious Bookshop. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES by Jeffrey Deaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 8, 2009

"A choice mix of solid work from mystery specialists and one-shots from authors who'd never want to be identified with the genre."
Series editor Penzler's preference for trolling literary journals instead of relying on the usual mystery magazines and anthologies pays big dividends. Read full book review >
THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES by Otto Penzler
THRILLERS
Released: Oct. 6, 2009

"We're on the edge of our seats."
"Rubbish, Watson, rubbish! What have we to do with walking corpses who can only be held in their grave by stakes driven through their hearts? Read full book review >
BLACK NOIR by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 15, 2009

"For all its ups and downs, well worth having for both its treasures from the past and the demonstration of how much vitality this neglected vein of crime fiction reveals."
Truth in labeling alert: Though all 15 stories veteran anthologist Penzler has collected are by African-American writers, most wouldn't count as noir. Read full book review >
THE VICIOUS CIRCLE by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

"Penzler's introduction and headnotes conscientiously recycle the most enduring clichés about the Round Table wits' backbiting and their lack of major literary success. Even the collection's title is recycled."
You didn't know that the famed Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s was home to some noted mystery writers? Editor Penzler, try as he might, won't do much to convince you. Read full book review >
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 6, 2007

"Part reference, part guilty pleasure, part doorstop."
Veteran anthologist Penzler, who's had highly variable results commissioning new stories (Dead Man's Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table, 2007, etc.), turns back to the sure-fire past. Read full book review >
DEAD MAN’S HAND by Otto Penzler
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"The best hands are dealt by Parnell Hall (Stanley Hastings acting smarter than usual), Rupert Holmes (an ingenious twist on the poker-game alibi) and Jeffery Deaver (a poker reality show that's most likely to pop up in future anthologies)."
Fifteen new stories show how poker can be—or lead to, or cover up—murder. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 21, 2006

"Penzler's recent anthologies (Murder at the Racetrack, 2006, etc.) feature a couple of decent offerings apiece and a lot of filler. Thank God for those Brits."
Fifteen original short cases of murder on and around the links. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 10, 2006

"Only yacht owners give their prizes worse names than horse owners. Penzler, who's making a second career of coaxing good writers to do mediocre work (Murder at the Foul Line, 2005, etc.), offers his usual tepid introduction."
A collection of 14 original stories, more than half of them fading in the stretch. Read full book review >
MURDER AT THE FOUL LINE by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 3, 2006

"Uneven work from contributors anthologist Penzler (Murder Is My Racquet, 2005, etc.) introduces as a Dream Team."
Seven bricks, five buckets and a pair of brilliant three-pointers. Read full book review >
MURDER IS MY RACQUET by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 2, 2005

"Editor Penzler must have thought tennis mysteries would be as profitable as anthologies headlining cats or Christmas, but the only way this works is as a soporific."
Fourteen new tennis-themed short stories by good authors writing their worst. Read full book review >
DANGEROUS WOMEN by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 5, 2005

"Best of all is the densely plotted tale of a clever New York shamus's comeuppance by Walter Mosley, who evidently never heard that his contribution was supposed to be at once full-blooded in its passions and anemic in its development."
Seventeen new stories parade the fair sex at its foulest. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2002 by James Ellroy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 15, 2002

"A capacious, varied grab-bag to dip into when you feel the urge for trouble."
The worst writing in this anthology comes courtesy of its two editors. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN CRIME WRITING by Otto Penzler
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 13, 2002

"Entertaining and edifying essays keep the reader mindful of the thin lines separating illicit temptation from criminal savagery."
Promising debut for a new annual anthology, with 17 selections bearing out the editors' contention that "crime, being human, runs along a continuum that steadily darkens." Read full book review >
MURDER AND OBSESSION by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 9, 1999

"Supporting performances by Kent Anderson, James Crumley, Anne Perry, and Amanda Cross make this an anthology with something for everyone."
The third entry in Penzler's themed series of new stories (Murder for Revenge, 1998, etc.) is doubly generous. Read full book review >
MURDER FOR REVENGE by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1998

"More predictable, then, than the tales in Murder for Love (1996), though the level of professionalism is more consistent."
 Once you're aware of the rubric the title announces—tit for tat—you know a lot about the plots of most of these dozen new stories, more than you would have known about the plots of the stories in Penzler's Murder for Love (1996), since the possibilities within these present confines are so well-worn. Read full book review >
MURDER FOR LOVE by Otto Penzler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

"Worth a run-through for its all-star roster; but make sure you send your Valentine flowers and candy too."
 If it's history you're looking for, here is God's plenty: James Crumley's first short story in 23 years, Elmore Leonard's first in over 30, and the first crime short stories ever from William J. Caunitz, Carol Higgins Clark, and children's author Shel Silverstein. Read full book review >