Listen to mystery stories by today's top writers and the masters who inspired them. The idea for this collection came to Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Lawrence Block when he was asked, "What is your favorite mystery story?" Block compiled this unique collection by posing the same question to some of today's favorite writers of the genre, including Stephen King, Tony Hillerman, and John Lutz.
"Mystery on Bayou Teche"
Darkness falls quickly when you're being stalked...but it is always dark when you are a stalker.
"HUGE RIP OFF"
Small-town lawyer and private detective Sam McCain is enjoying a cocktail party, dancing with a lovelier specimen than his five-foot-five-inch frame usually attracts, when the hostess confronts him with a problem the likes of which Good Housekeeping has never seen. There is a corpse in the backyard gazebo, and the party is definitely over.
Black River Falls used to be a boring small town, but at the pinnacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, nowhere in America can be boring anymore. As the country awaits nuclear annihilation, Iowa gubernatorial favorite Ross Murdoch has a crisis of his own: There is a dead woman in his bomb shelter. Murdoch tells his lawyer, Sam McCain, that the corpse was planted there by his enemies in the local police force, and begs McCain to clear his name before Election Day.
"The Departed" by Clive Barker: On All Hallows' Eve, a dead and disembodied mother yearns to touch her young son one last time. But will making contact destroy them both? "Creature Feature" by Heather Graham: What could be better publicity for a horror convention than an honest-to-goodness curse? It's only after lights out that the hype - and the Jack the Ripper mannequin - starts to feel a little too real.
Former FBI agent and psychological profiler Robert Payne is on the trail of a serial killer. A 12 year old girl has been murdered and mutilated, and the detective assigned to the case wound up dead. Now Nora Conners, the girl's wealthy mother, has hired Payne to solve the murder and bring closure. After narrowing his search to three men, a televangelist, a honey salesman, and an art teacher, all living in the small Iowa town of New Hope, Payne begins to narrow the field, posing as a journalist.
"A good writer, a great narrator, but. . ."
Bounty hunter Leo Guild is on the trail of a wily mountain man wanted for a deadly bank robbery, but he's not entirely convinced his quarry is the true guilty party.
Roger Daye, a stockbroker whose wife suddenly left him, has changed his appearance in hopes of changing his life for the better. His longing for Amy, a childhood flame, is rekindled when he sees her at a dance in his old hometown. However, his attention is soon drawn to another attractive woman - and that woman is Amy's daughter. Jealousy and revenge come to the forefront in this dark tale as Roger confronts the demons of his past, present, and future.
The citizens of Black River Falls are polite, understanding, and respectful - except when it comes to communism. Joe McCarthy has been dead for two years, but men like Richard Conners are still fighting to clear themselves of his accusations. A liberal who served faithfully under Roosevelt and Truman, only to be slandered as a red during McCarthy’s witch hunts, Conners has begun getting death threats written in blood. He hires private investigator Sam McCain to protect him, but no sooner has Sam taken the case than Conners turns up dead.
Fundamentalist preacher John Muldaur isn’t afraid of snakes - he uses them every week in his services - but he’s convinced that the Pope is trying to kill him. Iowa lawyer Sam McCain, the poorest attorney in a thriving town, listens patiently to the self-declared reverend’s outlandish theories about being targeted by a papal hit squad, and agrees to investigate the matter simply to get Muldaur out of his office. But that night at a wild religious service, McCain sees Muldaur proven right.
This collection of the best crime and mystery short fiction of 1999, gathered from around the globe and including more award-winners and stories than any other comparable volume, fills the void for those with a hunger for the best international mystery and suspense stories.
A hippie commune has invaded Black River Falls. While the majority of the townspeople believe that the bohemians have the right to stay - despite how bizarre some of their ways can seem - as always, there is a minority that constantly accuses them of everything from criminal activities to Satanism. As usual, lawyer and private investigator Sam McCain finds himself in the middle of the controversy, especially when the teenage daughter of Paul Mainwaring, is found murdered in the commune’s barn.
For small-town, Iowa lawyer, Sam McCain, the year 1965 is not a sweet one. His father is gravely ill. His elitist boss is just coming out of rehab. And, the brilliant lawyer he hoped to start a relationship with has gone back to her husband. Still, McCain tries to enjoy himself during the town's Labor Day weekend party, reuniting with several old friends - until two of them are murdered for what seems to be a motive buried in the past...
"John McLain is no Bronson Pinchot!"
Sam has now returned to his hometown of Black River Falls, where he works as a lawyer and part-time investigator for the court of the snobbish but amusing Judge Esme Whitney. Two of Sam's oldest friends are caught up in the same battle. Veteran Steve Donovan brutally belittles and finally savagely beats his old friend, veteran Will Cullen, when Cullen announces he‘s joined the anti-war group. When Cullen is found murdered, the obvious suspect is Steve Donovan, but Sam has serious doubts about the man's guilt.
Twenty-five years ago, in a small Iowa town, an asylum for the criminally insane burned to the ground, killing inmates and employees. The fire was set by Paul Renard, a sexual psychopath who escaped the blaze and disappeared. Today young Ricky Hennessey faces murder charges in the death of his girlfriend. His defense: Paul Renard did it. Legal investigator Robert Payne joins the case at the request of Tandy West, a cable TV psychic and Payne's former lover.
In 1950s Iowa, a murder-suicide forces a lawyer to put aside his rock-and-roll grief.
Sam McCain loves Buddy Holly, because he's the only rock-and-roll star who still seems like a dweeb, and Sam knows how that feels. With the unrequited love of his life at his side, Sam drives more than three hours through the snow to watch his idol play the Surf Ballroom. That night, Buddy Holly dies in the most famous plane crash in music history, but Sam has no time to grieve....
"Comfortable, well-crafted cozy"
Learn the truth behind the mask of Hollywood in these 10 bizarre tales of dreams and dream weavers, movies and movie-makers, by some of the most respected fantasy writers of our time.
The antique telephone sat in the darkness in the attic. Dust and cobwebs obscured its once gleaming surface. Wires hung limply from its rusted innards. It should have been nothing more than an interesting piece of junk. Except that sometimes, late at night, the occupants of the hotel rooms below swore they heard it ringing....
In 1958 Ford introduced the Edsel to America. In the Black River Falls, Iowa, the dead body of a 19-year-old girl in the trunk of a brand new Edsel upstages the ill-fated car. Sam McCain makes some troubling discoveries as he tracks down the murderer.
"Overall a Pretty Good Book"
The mutilation murders stun the quiet Iowa town of Cedar Rapids and call for the special skills of criminal psychologist Robert Payne, who uses clues from the crime scene to piece together a psychological portrait of the killer. The prime suspect is another Indian, David Rhodes, who is estranged from his wife, police detective Cindy Rhodes - and the woman with whom Payne is starting to fall in love.