Book Reviews

Review — Manhattan Mayhem edited by Mary Higgins Clark

Book title: Manhattan Mayhem
Author: Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, Thomas H. Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Margaret Maron, T. Jefferson Parker, S. J. Rozan, Julie Hyzy, Nancy Pickard, Brendan DuBois, Jon L. Breen, Ben H. Winters, Angela Zeman, N. J. Ayres, Judith Kelman, Persia Walker, Justin Scott
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: June 2nd, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affects my review; all opinions are my own. Thank you, Suzanne and Quirk Books!


About the book:

Best-selling suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark invites you on a tour of Manhattan’s most iconic neighborhoods in this anthology of all-new stories from the Mystery Writers of America. From the Flatiron District (Lee Child) and Greenwich Village (Jeffery Deaver) to Little Italy (T. Jefferson Parker) and Chinatown (S.J. Rozan), you’ll encounter crimes, mysteries, and riddles large and small. Illustrated with iconic photography of New York City and packaged in a handsome hardcover, Manhattan Mayhem is a delightful read for armchair detectives and armchair travelers alike!

The review:

Manhattan Mayhem is an awesome anthology celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the founding of Mystery Writers of America. There are 17 short stories written by acclaimed mystery writers such as the book’s headliners Lee Child, Thomas H. Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Margaret Maron, T. Jefferson Parker, and S. J. Rozan. The book is edited by Mary Higgins Clark, who also contributed a story of her own. What makes this anthology so unique, however, is its theme: New York City! (Where I just so happen to live.) Each story takes place in a specific part of the iconic city. Some are set in the present day, while others are set back in time. The stories themselves range in tone from sad, to dark, to funny. (At least, I thought two of them were absolutely hilarious.) In addition to the wide array of crime stories, it includes black and white photographs of New York City locations, and each story has a little street map of its corresponding setting (spot art, I think is what you call it).

With any collection of short stories, some are bound to be better/more interesting than others. My definite favorite stories (5 stars) were the two I found hilarious: Red-Headed Stepchild by Margaret Maron (set on the Upper East Side. Features head lice!) and Dizzy and Gillipsie by Persia Walker (set in Harlem. Features mice and a crazy downstairs neighbor. So accurate! SO ACCURATE I tell you! I was laughing my butt off at parts). I also really liked (4 stars) The Five-Dollar Dress by Mary Higgins Clark (Union Square. The end was really dark), White Rabbit by Julie Hyzy (Central Park. Whoo, plot twist!), Three Little Words by Nancy Pickard (Upper West Side. I was surprised at how much I liked it, how much I cared), Damage Control by Thomas H. Cook (Hell’s Kitchen. So sad), The Day After Victory by Brendan DuBois (Times Square. World’s most bad-ass trash cleaner), and Serial Benefactor by Jon L. Breen (Empire State Building. The “Broadway Executioner”!).

The rest of the short stories were fine, some more interesting than others. Trapped! by Ben H. Winters (Chelsea. Written like a script for a play about a play about a murder; very inventive. I also laughed at the mention of Honeymoon in Vegas), Evermore by Justin Scott (Hudson River. I think this had some time travel? Confusing but cool), and Chin Yong-Yun Makes a Shiddach by S. J. Rozan (Chinatown) were ones I liked for the most part (3 stars).

The Picture of the Lonely Diner by Lee Child (Flatiron District. So much back-and-forth dialogue), Wall Street Rodeo by Angela Zeman (Wall Streeet, duh. I didn’t care for any of the characters), Copycats by N. J. Ayres (Alphabet City), Sutton Death Overtime by Judith Kelman (Sutton Place. Waaaay too much dialogue in giant paragraphs. Also, the story was being told versus shown), Me and Mikey by T. Jefferson Parker (Little Italy. Totally knew what was coming in the end), and The Baker of Bleecker Street by Jeffery Deaver (Greenwich Village) didn’t click for me, but that’s probably an individual thing.

Overall, Manhattan Mayhem is definitely a book I recommend. You’re bound to find a few stories you love in this handsome, thoughtful volume. It’s also perhaps a great introduction to the mystery and crime genres for someone who hasn’t read much of them (*raises hand*). This book gets two thumbs-ups from me! ♦

So tell me…

Have you read Manhattan Mayhem? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? What was the last anthology you read? Or, what was the last mystery you read? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!

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