Reviews for Master's Choice : Mystery Stories by Today's Top Writers and the Masters Who Inspired Them

Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 1999
Only one feather was missing from the literary cap of mystery grand master Block: he'd never edited an anthology. To rectify the situation, Block has assembled this anthology, which pairs stories chosen as personal favorites by some of the genre's top crime-fiction writers with a story of their own. Brit Peter Lovesey's sharp wit shines in a story about two eccentric twins. Lovesey picks Donald Westlake's hilarious tale of a bank robbery gone awry as his companion piece. Genre boundaries are stretched a bit with the inclusion of Stephen King, who pairs one of his scary tales with a similarly spooky story by Joyce Carol Oates. The sole woman contributor to the book (a minor but irritating flaw) is Joan Hess, whose eerie story of a woman with a strange addition to her apartment is both shocking and surreal. Hess chooses as her favorite a chilling Halloween tale by Judith Garner. In all, nine principal writers are included, who select the 18 diverse and diverting stories. A well-conceived and entertaining anthology. ((Reviewed October 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Kirkus Reviews 1999 October #2
Ask any writer his or her favorite story, and you'll get a question right back: ``Mine or somebody else's?'' The creator of Bernie Rhodenbarr (The Burglar in the Rye, p. 836, etc.) and of Matthew Scudder (Everybody Dies, 1998, etc.) asked nine of his colleagues to answer both questions, and the result is nine pairs of suspense yarns with little in common but excellence. Some of the choices show affinities between authors and their models (Tony Hillerman and Joe Gores, Peter Lovesey and Donald E. Westlake, Ed Gorman and Stephen Crane) or reveal what writers value most about their own work (Joan Hess's atypically unnerving ``Another Room'' and Judith Garner's equally nightmarish ``Trick or Treat''). But many choices are just plain surprising Stephen King picks Joyce Carol Oates, Bill Pronzini picks Benjamin Appel, editor Block picks John O'Hara (the little-known noir scorcher ``In a Grove''). Two complaints: Harlan Ellison's long headnote makes his contribution (``Tired Old Man'') unnecessary; and five of the stories are so well-known you won't even need to be told their authors: ``First Lead Gasser,'' ``Goodbye, Pops,'' ``The Problem of Cell 13,'' ``August Heat,'' and ``The Blue Hotel.'' A first-rate collection of stories that deserve their reputation. Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews