Ask any writer his or her favorite story, and you’ll get a question right back: “Mine or somebody else’s?” The creator of Bernie Rhodenbarr (The Burglar in the Rye, p. 836, etc.) and of Matthew Scudder (Everybody Dies, 1998, etc.) asked nine of his colleagues to answer both questions, and the result is nine pairs of suspense yarns with little in common but excellence. Some of the choices show affinities between authors and their models (Tony Hillerman and Joe Gores, Peter Lovesey and Donald E. Westlake, Ed Gorman and Stephen Crane) or reveal what writers value most about their own work (Joan Hess’s atypically unnerving “Another Room” and Judith Garner’s equally nightmarish “Trick or Treat”). But many choices are just plain surprising—Stephen King picks Joyce Carol Oates, Bill Pronzini picks Benjamin Appel, editor Block picks John O’Hara (the little-known noir scorcher “In a Grove”). Two complaints: Harlan Ellison’s long headnote makes his contribution (“Tired Old Man”) unnecessary; and five of the stories are so well-known you won’t even need to be told their authors: “First Lead Gasser,” “Goodbye, Pops,” “The Problem of Cell 13,” “August Heat,” and “The Blue Hotel.” A first-rate collection of stories that deserve their reputation.