A generous helping of indefatigable Gorman's short fiction since 1988. The title novella (from Criminal Intent I, 1993), about two teenagers' friendship with an escaped bank robber, is Gorman's masterpiece to date. But the 16 pendant stories are strong and surprisingly varied as well. Under blue midwestern skies, Gorman's quietly desperate characters turn vigilante, flee avenging killers, sign on to euthanasia schemes, and drink and abuse their families into sufferings that will long outlive them. Switch-hitting Gorman (Blood Moon, 1993, etc.) can present a straightforward, if creepy, suburban spin on Deliverance, then turn around and hide a nasty surprise in a mood piece like ""Surrogate"" (a lawyer stalks a boy with a guilty secret) or ""Prisoners"" (a dutiful family visits an incarcerated father). The only constant is the pervasive sadness that soaks even the most grimly retributive stories. A standout collection by one of the most original crime writers around.