Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: The Mystery Box

Summary: There's nothing more mysterious than a locked box. Whether it's a literal strongbox, an empty coffin, the inner workings of a scientist's mind, or an underground prison cell, there are those who will use any means necessary to unlock the secrets of...THE MYSTERY BOX.

With this anthology, bestselling author Brad Meltzer introduces twenty-one original stories from today's most prominent mystery writers. In Laura Lippman's "Waco 1982," a young reporter stuck with a seemingly mundane assignment on lost-and-found boxes unwittingly discovers a dark crime. In Joseph Finder's "Heirloom," a scheming neighbor frightens the new couple on the block with an unnerving tale of buried treasure. In R.L. Stine's "High Stakes," a man on his honeymoon gets drawn into a bizarre bet involving a coffin--a bet he may pay for with his life.

From the foothills of Mount Fuji to Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp, from a physics laboratory in wartime Leipzig to an unusual fitness club in Boca Raton, these sometimes terrifying, sometimes funny, and always suspenseful tales will keep you riveted to the page. -- Grand Central Publishing

When I received a copy of THE MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS THE MYSTERY BOX edited by Brad Meltzer, I was absolutely thrilled. I immediately thought that it would be perfect for my Mystery Mondays feature, but I also was looking forward to reading short stories by some of the best mystery writers around. After reading these original stories, I have to say that this collection is a "must-have" for any mystery fan!

THE MYSTERY BOX is an anthology of 21 original short stories written by today's most prominent mystery writers... and I mean major players! Best-selling author Brad Meltzer edited the collection and wrote the introduction. He explains that the theme of this year's anthology is a "mystery box." Each writer could interpret this box how they saw fit. The box could be real or metaphoric, but there had to be a box in each story.

The authors who contributed this collection are all outstanding in their own right. I was happy to see a few of my favorites like Laura Lippman and Karin Slaughter, but this anthology also introduced me to some mystery writers that I had never read before like Charles Todd and Tom Rob Smith. All in all, I think these 21 authors all brought some terrific (albeit sometimes strange) stories to this collection.

What I really enjoyed about THE MYSTERY BOX is how diverse the stories were. There were traditional mysteries, but there were also some very funny stories and some that were a little creepy. The stories had many different settings and time periods, and all of the writing was of the highest quality. I definitely appreciated how these authors were able to fully create and resolve a mystery within just a few pages while also managing to include some sort of box. I suspect that's not an easy thing to do in a just a few pagews!

One story I enjoyed a great deal was Laura Lippman's tale titled "Waco 1982," but that's not surprising since I almost always love everything I've ever read by her. This story followed a young journalist who was tasked with the assignment of writing about hotel's lost and found boxes. Sounds pretty boring right? If there was anything of value left in the boxes, the owner would have claimed it already. However as this reporter begins her quest, she discovers a sinister crime.

One of the strangest stories in the book was written by an author whose work I've enjoyed in the past -- Joseph Finder. This story is about a man who is determined to scare off the couple who have just bought the house next door to him. I definitely had some suspicions of the neighbor and what occurred in the house, but it was even worse than I thought! This story was highly entertaining, but at the same time a little creepy to me!

Just in case you are wondering, here's the list of the 21 authors who are featured in THE MYSTERY BOX:
Jan Burke, Laura Lippman, Libby Fischer Hellman, C.E. Lawrence, Joseph Finder, James O. Born, S.W. Hubbard, Joseph Goodrich, R.T. Lawton, Tom Rob Smith, Mary Anne Kelly, Tony Broadbent, Steve Berry, Angela Gerst, Catherine Mambretti, Stephen Ross, Charles Todd, Jonathan Stone, Katherine Neville, R.L. Stine, and Karin Slaughter.

I enjoyed THE MYSTERY BOX a great deal and recommend it to fans of mysteries and short stories. I can almost guarantee that you will be entertained by this unique collection of stories!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.  


Ali said...

That does sound like a great anthology. :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Wow. How could anyone not want to read this one????

bermudaonion said...

I've come to enjoy short stories more and more so will have to pick this up. I don't know how I missed the fact that it's short stories.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm still anti-short story but it sounds like it includes some good authors!

Beth Hoffman said...

Now and then I really enjoy short story collections, especially when I'm traveling or when I need a break from being over saturated with novels. This one sounds really good.

Beth F said...

I have this -- I really need to get to it!

Literary Feline said...

The entire collection sounds great! Mystery short stories are hit and miss with me, but I can't resist them just the same. I will have to look for this one!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Yet another title I have my eye on! I'm a big fan of many of the contributors!