Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best Mystery Story of the Year

Just finished The Best American Mystery Stories 2014, edited by Laura Lippman. A lot of big names in this edition: Russell Banks, Annie Proulx, Joseph Heller, James Lee Burke. For my money, though, the best story was "Aida" by Patricia Engel. The story, which originally appeared in the Harvard Review, is written from the viewpoint of a teenage girl whose identical twin sister Aida has disappeared -- apparently taken -- from their small town ...

I waited for the pain. Something to tell me what was happening to Aida. I tried to feel her. I wanted to make our bodies one again. Remember that her veins were once my veins and her heart was my heart and her brain was my brain and her pain was mine. I waited for the sensations. I wanted them to hit me and within them I'd be able to know the story of her disappearance. I'd know who stole her. What they were doing to her. How they were punishing her.

Other gems: Dennis Tafoya's "Satan's Kingdom" (from Needle), Scott Loring Sanders' "Pleasant Grove" (Floyd County Moonshine) and Megan Abbott's "My Heart is Either Broken" (Dangerous Women).

Overall, a solid edition, with noir well represented. "If my final selection veers to the dark ones ... that's my personal taste," Lippman writes in the intro. Amen, sister.

Buy it here. See last year's post here.

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