Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Blue Religion - Michael Connelly, editor


The Blue Religion
Mystery Writers of America – Michael Connelly, ed.
Back Bay Books

Crime/Short Fiction

The unifying theme in this collection of short stories is “Cops, Criminals, and the Chase.” In his introduction, Michael Connelly presents an axiom (attributed to the veteran crime writer Joseph Wambaugh) that the best crime fiction does not focus on how cops work the case, but on how the case works the cops. These stories, from 19 different writers, including Connelly, show that the case does, indeed, work the cop; sometimes harder than others.

The settings for stories range from present-day Los Angeles to the frontier of the late 1800s. The cops run the gamut with regards to personality and moral code. Contributors include T. Jefferson Parker, Laurie King, and Leslie Glass, and there’s truly something here for everyone. For Connelly fans, the last entry is a bonus: a new Harry Bosch story.

While some of the stories are a bit uneven in quality, anthologies like this are a great way to get a feel for different writers and their styles without a major investment of money or time. I admit that I enjoy a full novel a bit more, since it gives the author a chance to really get into a crime and the characters, but I’ve found more than one new favorite through short story collections. Whether you read them bit-by-bit or straight through, these stories are sure to entertain, and are a great tribute to those men and women who wear badges and protect the rest of us.

Rating: 7
April 2008
ISBN# 978-0-316-01265-2 (trade paperback)

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