Reviews - What do customers think about These Guns for Hire?
One of the best crime fiction anthologies Dec 28, 2007
It's not just that the subject of hit men is very interesting - this anthology contains 31 stories, and more than 20 of them are excellent. I will certainly return to this book again and again, to reread one of these gems. It is extremely rare of a short story anthology of any genre to contain such a high rate of gems. Jeremiah Healy's and Sean Doolitle's stories are the cream of this excellent crop.
Hit-men ROCK! Jan 8, 2007
Horror comes in many flavors: supernatural, psychological, science fictional, etc. The edges of genres often blur and bleed into one another, and genre authors can be found in genres for which they are not generally known. Case in point: THESE GUNS FOR HIRE, containing stories about hitmen, which is ostensibly a mystery genre anthology, but wait! You'll find authors included herein whose works I've reviewed previously down here in the Tomb, those works having been firmly rooted in the horror genre. So what gives? Fiction is fluid, my friends, and if you're looking for the dark stuff in the horror aisles exclusively, you're missing some spine-curdling scares. Take the short story "Everybody Wins" by Lisa Mannetti--it's a sardonically horrifying, suspenseful and terrifically funny tale about a suicidal middle-aged woman who is bamboozled into performing a major contract hit when she seeks help from a suicide hot line. Horror writer Ed Gorman turns in a very frightening story about a down-and-out jailbird who is approached by a former beauty queen to insure that her daughter wins a major pageant--requesting not murder, but the permanent disfigurement of her daughter's competition. I was delighted to find one of my favorite writers of totally twisted horror, Jeff Strand, included as well. His bizarre story about one of the most ineffective hitmen ever to pick up a gun is just what I would have expected from this crazy guy. Horror dynamo Jay Bonansinga tells of a seasoned pro who truly enjoys the wetwork, and it's a supernatural tale, as is "Pet Project" by Robert Walker! Horror/mystery writer David Morrell makes a fine showing with his tale of the ultimate "Attitude Adjuster". You'll also find the best mystery writers working today included in this spectacular pulse-pounding volume. This is a high-octane, heart-pumping, knock-yer-socks-off volume of 31 great stories all about hitmen that will satisfy fans of horror, mystery and suspense equally. You'll encounter stories that can be considered pulp, noir, supernatural, humorous or just plain unclassifiable. And there's not a clinker in the bunch! Killer!
I may be biased but... Nov 7, 2006
...this is an amazing story collection.
The problem with anthologies is that there are usually only two or three awesome stories, and the rest suck.
With THESE GUNS, every story is awesome. I know, because I edited the damn thing, and demanded nothing less than perfection from the many contributing authors.
No clunkers here. No stinkers. No stories that were phoned in by the writer. Just one kickass hitman story after another.
Some are funny (Brian Wiprud, Jeff Strand, PJ Parrish), some are lyrical (Marcus Sakey, John Galligan, William Kent Krueger, Ken Bruen), some are supernatural (Robert W. Walker, Jay Bonansinga), and some feature hit women instead of men (MJ Rose, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Julie Hyzy.) But each one is great.
If you like mafia hits, there's David Ellis, Rob Kantner, and Victor Gischler. If you like hardboiled noir there's Ed Gorman, Jeff Abbott, and Ben Leroy. If you like series characters, there are appearances by the series heroes of Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, David Morrell, and JA Konrath (I'm the editor---as if I'm not going to stick one of my stories in.)
There are foreign locales, twist endings, martial arts, hot sex, graphic violence, and even some laughs. If you read mysteries or thrillers, you'll love this collection.
I've heard some folks say they don't like short stories. That they prefer novels, because short stories aren't satifsfying.
Trust me--this is the genre version of an all you can eat buffet. You can try 31 different things, and each one is satisfying.