Today I’m sharing the second part of my review of Ten Year Stretch. To celebrate a decade of criminal festivities (or is it conventionisms?), CrimeFest have teamed up with No Exit Press and some of the greatest crime writers of our time to bring us a collection of crime themed short stories This is a cracking book which I’m loving devouring one top story at a time.
About the Book
Twenty superb new crime stories have been commissioned specially to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Crimefest, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the fifty best festivals in the world’.
A star-studded international group of authors has come together in crime writing harmony to provide a killer cocktail for noir fans; salutary tales of gangster etiquette and pitfalls, clever takes on the locked-room genre, chilling wrong-footers from the deceptively peaceful suburbs, intriguing accounts of tables being turned on hapless private eyes, delicious slices of jet black nordic noir, culminating in a stunning example of bleak amorality from crime writing doyenne Maj Sjowall.
The foreword is by international bestselling thriller writer Peter James. The editors are Martin Edwards, responsible for many award-winning anthologies, and Adrian Muller, CrimeFest co-founder.
All Royalties are donated to the RNIB Talking Books Library.
The contributors to Ten Year Stretch are: Bill Beverly, Simon Brett, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Jeffery Deaver, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Peter Guttridge, Sophie Hannah, John Harvey, Mick Herron, Donna Moore, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, James Sallis, Zoe Sharp, Yrsa Siguroardottir, Maj Sjowall, Michael Stanley and Andrew Taylor.
Shorty and the Briefcase – Lee Child
Lee Child has more than a dozen #1 bestsellers under his belt. Forbes calls the Jack Reacher series ‘The Strongest Brand in Publishing’. Not bad for a guy out of work and on the dole when he first conceived of being a writer. The fictional Reacher is a kind-hearted soul who allows Lee lots of spare time for reading, listening to music, Aston Villa and the Yankees.
You know I have to admit, I’ve never actually read a Lee Child story – until now. Shorty and the Briefcase is the story of a police team who set about to try to bring down a drugs syndicate by tackling a man involved in running drug money. They are convinced they know his routine, their colleague, the eponymous Shorty, laid up a hospital in bed after a ‘workplace incident’ isn’t quite so sure.
Short, sweet and with a lovely dose of humour, told in a style which really put me in amongst the heart of the New York cops, keeping me entertained and also a little intrigued by what it was Shorty could see that his colleagues couldn’t. Perhaps not the high action thrills you may expect from a Reacher novel, but definitely a fun story and i like his style.
Moses and the Locked Tent Mystery – Ann Cleeves
Ann Cleeves is the author of the Vera Stanhope and Shetland series, both of which have been adapted into acclaimed television dramas. She has written 31 novels and is translated into as many languages. In 2006 Raven Black, was awarded the Duncan Lawrie CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel, and in 2017 Ann received the Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger.
Yes – it is what it says on the tin. A locked tent mystery or a locked room mystery set in a tent on a Safari holiday, surrounding the sudden death of a wealthy traveller, Caroline Brookes. Her husband and step children cannot possibly be suspects, guide Moses was watching them all, and the only other travellers are two elderly ladies. So could this possibly have been just a tragic accident?
I loved this short mystery, full of intrigue and Moses was quite the intuitive soul. I loved the way he took to investigating the crime scene, the slow unravelling of clues to an altogether surprising conclusion. Ann Cleeves excels at storytelling and even in this too too short tale I was hooked. Loved it.
Blind Date – Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author who has written thirty-nine novels, three collections of short stories and a non-fiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album – he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards. His The Bodies Left Behind was named Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers association, and his Lincoln Rhyme thriller The Broken Window and a stand-alone, Edge, were also nominated for that prize.
I’m ashamed. Three iconic authors on the bounce and this is my first taste of any of their work. I loved the movie of The Bone Collector and having recently watched it again I purchased the first eight Lincoln Rhyme books but have not yet read them so to get a flavour of Jeffery Deaver’s writing in this collection has confirmed I am in for a treat.
Navigating her way through a blind date with Tim, Joannie has a lot on her mind. Can she trust him? Does he like her? Is she too dressed up, too dressed down and, ultimately, is she safe? The city is currently under threat of a new serial killer, dubbed the Roman Numeral Killer and as a police report plays while they are on their date, Joannie recognises the location as being near to her home. With half a mind on the murder Joannie heads home, everyone and everything falling under suspicion.
I loved the way the suspense was built in this, the twisting of the story and the introduction of characters who arouse suspicion enabling the killer to hide until the crucial final reveal. the story is both simple and complex, fun and yet creepy. I loved it. Top stuff.
Strangers in a Pub by Martin Edwards
Martin Edwards has published eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries, most recently The Dungeon House. The Golden Age of Murder won the Edgar, Agatha, HRF Keating and Macavity awards. He has edited thirty-seven crime anthologies, is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics, and has won the CWA Short Story Dagger, the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and the Poirot award. He is President of the Detection Club and Chair of the CWA.
A fabulous tale of crossed wires and cross purposes opening a world of opportunity. Former Police Officer Jefferson has been called by a mystery man, Binks, with the offer of a job. Find evidence his wife is cheating, A clandestine meeting in a pub and a case of mistaken identity leave Jefferson with a big problem – and fifteen thousand pounds in cash.
A great tale, peppered with humour in a very fluid style, I kind of like Jefferson, even after this short meeting. Great characterisation, a little menace and a story which flows beautifully I’ll be looking for more by Mr Edwards, no doubt about that.
I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts on the rest of the stories over the next week. In the meantime, if you’d like to pick up a copy and read for yourself you can find it at the following retailers:
It’s not too late to make plans for CrimeFest either. Still one week to go. It really is a brilliant festival, perfect for fans of the genre, readers, writers (and aspiring) alike.
Might see you there …