Vengeance by Lee Child (Editor)
|Vengeance by Lee Child (Editor)|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: An interesting collection of stories: some are really well written, others less so, but being short stories it's very easy to skip ahead if you're not enjoying one and try out another.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: December 2012|
|Publisher: Atlantic Books|
|External links: Author's website|
I like short story collections. They're useful reading material when you're a mum of young children as you can usually manage to squeeze in a six-page story at nap time, but you're guaranteed if you try to start that 500-page novel you've been meaning to read that just as it starts to get interesting your baby will wake up! This collection of crime stories is brought together under the title of Vengeance so, as you'd imagine, they are all to do with revenge and people getting or trying to get their own back.
The problem with a collection of short stories by different authors, of course, is the widely differing quality of writing. There are 21 stories in this collection, by some very well-known authors and others who are much greener to writing. The stories to shift and change in how well written they are. Sometimes you'll read one, for example Even a Blind Man by Darrell James, and it's a beautifully crafted piece of writing. Short stories are tricky little things and you can often feel, as a reader, that there's too much unsaid or a rushed ending, or no ending at all in some cases. It's hard to encapsulate a group of characters and a believable plot into a short story. So reading one like Even a Blind Man you really appreciate the skill involved in creating interesting, unusual characters and how well-formed the story is, despite it only being a few pages long.
But then reading It Ain't Right by Michelle Gagnon, which I think was perhaps just too short, I found at the end it was one of those stories where I didn't really understand what had happened, or why, and what was the point of it all anyway?! I liked Lee Child's story at the end, The Hollywood I Remember, which was also very short but had more substance somehow and worked well. It's about a Hollywood contract killer who faces some trouble when an old cold case becomes of interest again.
There's a story by Dreda Say Mitchell called The Hotline which I really enjoyed. It's quite unusual and has both expected and unexpected aspects as it deals with a young Muslim woman's unfair dismissal from work and her clever act of revenge against her boss. I liked the main character and felt it was an interesting idea for a story. I also liked Michael Connelly's story A Fine Mist of Blood which immediately felt very well written and caught my attention and interest from the start dealing, again, with a cold case that is being re-investigated.
Although there are some slower, duller stories I did feel that on the whole, it's a good collection, and certainly worth a read, if you're a crime fan, or a short story fan, since you won't lose out on anything if you skip through one or two of the poorer stories.
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