FaceOff edited by David Baldacci

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Waffles and her nightly grooming.
Waffles and her nightly grooming.

Why I Read It: I thought this would be a great way to check out several mystery/crime/suspense/thriller authors.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Folks who enjoy crime in its many faces.

Narrators: Dylan Baker, Jeremy Bobb, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Gerroll, January LaVoy, David Baldacci

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2014)

Length: 10 hours 49 minutes

Editor’s Page

Authors who contributed to this anthology: Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Gardner, Dennis Lehane, Steve Berry, Jeffery Deaver, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, James Rollins, Joseph Finder, Steve Martini, Heather Graham, Ian Rankin, Linda Fairstein, M. J. Rose, R.L. Stine, Raymond Khoury, Linwood Barclay, John Lescroart, T. Jefferson Parker, F. Paul Wilson, Peter James

This anthology contains 11 short stories, each one written by a pairing of authors, allowing characters from beloved series and standalones to be paired with another author’s famous character. Sometimes these characters worked together. Sometimes they were at cross purposes. Nearly always, it s was purely entertaining. Below is a list of the stories, the main characters, and the authors.
· Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch in “Red Eye,” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly
· John Rebus vs. Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time,” by Ian Rankin and Peter James
· Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast in “Gaslighted,” by R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child
· Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha,” by M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner
· Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper in “Surfing the Panther,” by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein
· Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport in “Rhymes With Prey,” by Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford
· Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack in “Infernal Night,” by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
· Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber in “Pit Stop,” by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay
· Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona in “Silent Hunt,” by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker
· Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce in “The Devil’s Bones,” by Steve Berry and James Rollins
· Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration,” by Lee Child and Joseph Finder

A few of these authors I have read before (Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child) but nearly all of them were new to me. This was a great way to check out such a selection of today’s brilliant mystery writers. Of course, I gravitated towards the Pendergast story as I have read a few in this series. I did find Slappy the Dummy rather disturbing, as I found the story on the whole. ‘Rhymes with Prey’ was my second favorite, featuring the paraplegic investigator and his clipped phrases and abrupt, sometimes rude, attitude. ‘The Laughing Buddha’ was an unexpected story. The character Malachai Samuels is a kind of past life psychic, helping people realize who they once were and what their hang ups are from past lives. At first I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it, but now I want to check out both M. J. Rose and Lisa Gardner.  I aso want to seek out works by Heather Graham after listening to ‘Infernal Night’. Just a touch of the supernatural gave this mystery an extra facet. Plus that whole mausoleum scene was excellent. Khoury & Barclay kept me on the edge of my seat with ‘Pit Stop’. It was fast paced and intense!

Those were the stories that stood out for me. Many of the rest were interesting. However, ‘Surfing the Panther’ didn’t shine for me. I felt like too much was being crammed into a short story and I never really connected to the main characters. I was looking forward to the Reacher versus Heller story as my man is a fan of Lee Child’s work. I was intrigued and then it was over. Yep, just like that. It went by too quickly.

Other than those two stories, the anthology was a hit. I now have several more authors on my To-Be-Read list (or some would call it a small mountain range). I was kept entertained for most of the 10+ hours of listening time.

Narration: The narration was very good. With 11 stories, it was great that the publisher went the extra mile and utilized so many narrators. One of the reasons I usually steer clear of audio anthologies is that it is the same reader for the entire book, all the short stories. This makes it difficult for me to keep the individual stories individual. So thank you, S&S, for going the distance and using so many narrators for this book. It really made it stand out as an anthology.

lavinia-portraitRIP9BannerWhat I Liked: Great way to be be introduced to new-to-me authors; Some were creepy, others edge-of-the-seat action; nearly all were interesting; great narration.

What I Disliked: Only 1 of the stories didn’t do it for; one other story seemed too short and nothing much happened in it.

I am participating in the yearly reading event R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. I will count 2103 Act I as my mystery/crime read for the R.I.P. challenge.

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