Professionalism rather than originality is the keynote of this seventh annual collection. Fans of John Harvey, John Lutz, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, and Donald E. Westlake won’t be disappointed by their highly typical, if not outstanding, stories. Jeffery Deaver and Ed Bryant provide two shivery tales balanced by a pair of shockingly funny hospital anecdotes by DeLoris Stanton Forbes and Carole Nelson Douglas. No one will be surprised to see that Lawrence Block’s Edgar—winning “Keller on the Spot” and Reginald Hill’s Gold Dagger—winning “On the Psychiatrist’s Couch” are the strongest entries. The supporting cast—Bill Crider, Carolyn G. Hart, Stuart Kaminsky, Marcia Muller, Nancy Pickard, Carolyn Wheat, et al.—is as varied and reliable as you could ask. And the whole package is wrapped up with the same panache, from Jon L. Breen’s spirited Introduction to Edward D. Hoch’s comprehensive Bibliography. Even though Hoch’s Necrology lists mercifully few household names, you can’t help feeling on the evidence presented that this hasn’t been a banner year for short stories of crime.