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Andy Cox, Editor
Crimewave 11: Ghosts
Reviewed by: Mario Guslandi © 2011

TTA Press
UK First Edition, Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-0-9553683-4-9
Publication Date: 01-25-2011
240 pages; £9.99
Date Reviewed: 02-02-2011

Index:  Mystery  General Fiction

I'm not attracted by e-books and I dislike PDF files, which, instead of a nice book, print out as hundreds of loose paper sheets. I guess many people share my view and prefer to read fiction on printed paper.

But I've got another idiosyncrasy: I don't like reading fiction in magazines; I only enjoy it if it's bound in an actual book. So I never gave much thought to Crimewave (in my mind just a magazine of crime stories), being already busy enough with horror and dark fiction books. But after reading Rick Kleffel's presentation of issue 11, I realized that Crimewave is actually a real book. The latest Crimewave anthology was attractively entitled Ghosts and Rick was rather enthusiastic about it.

So, here I am, wondering how and why I have been so stupid to miss the previous ten volumes. Because, believe me, this is a great anthology featuring a lot of excellent stories.

Dave Honig sets the standard with "The Shoe Store/The Blood Cools" an outstanding piece about serial murders in a small town, which bookends splendidly the volume as a great example of fascinating storytelling. The eclectic Christopher Fowler contributes "The Conspirators", a perfect piece of cold, ruthless fiction depicting the ferocity of the unforgiving world of business, where crime is simply part of the game.

Nina Allan's "Wilkolak" is another extraordinary tale providing the insightful description of the dangerous relationship between an amateur photographer and the man he thinks is a murderer. In the captivating and gripping "Holderhaven" Richard Butner probes a wealthy family's old secrets still hidden in a mansion now turned into a museum. "Eleven Eleven" by Cheryl Wood Ruggiero, featuring an amazing twelve year-old girl, is a delicate, bitter story of innocence and murder, love and vengeance, faith and despair. In "Living Arrangement" Steve Rasnic Tem draws the masterfully cruel portrait of a hellish family life where a grandfather has to take care of a problem in a tragic but effective manner, while in "4am, When the Walls Are Thinnest" Alison J Littlewood gives a supernatural twist in the tail of a chilly tableau of prison life.

Among so many incredibly good stories the one ranking first, in my opinion, is "Where the Bodies Are" by Ilsa J Bick, graced by a superb narrative style and a great characterization. A psychiatrist and her former lover, a detective, meet again after many years to deal with a case of possible infanticide and with long buried secrets from their own past.

I strongly recommend this book not only to crime fans, but to any fiction lover.

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