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...

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MURDER FOR REVENGE

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. Mostly, you have a choice between the turning worm (Vicki Hendricks, Joan Hess, Judith Kelman, Eric Lustbader, David Morrell) and the biter bit (Peter Straub, in a ghoulish hundred-page remake of Melville's ""Bartleby""). A few of the contributors go further. Phillip Margolin adds some welcome ingenuity; Lawrence Block and Joyce Carol Oates put unexpected spins on their stories, as does Shel Silverstein on his poem, that keep you guessing; Mary Higgins Clark, in a Perils-of-Pauline tale of international intrigue, seems to be playing with another deck entirely. But only Thomas H. Cook's somber ""Fatherhood"" does something genuinely new with the old formula of revenge served cold. More predictable, then, than the tales in Murder for Love (1996), though the level of professionalism is more consistent.

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0440613558

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998