Book Review - The Mystery Box edited by Brad Meltzer
I approach anthologies with some trepidation. Mystery Writers of America Presents The Mystery Box edited by Brad Meltzer was no exception. While the variety of short stories can be very good, you can also get an uneven reading experience depending on the quality of the writers. It turned out that The Mystery Box was far better than most, with some great contributions that had unique twists. If all anthologies were this good, I'd probably end up reading more of them.
The core theme for all the stories centers on, as the title indicates, boxes. Some are figurative and some are literal, but all of them hold surprises and mysteries for those who come in contact with the contents. There are 21 mystery short stories, and many of them are from authors I read on a regular basis. I didn't think any of the stories were bad, and a few of them were exceptional. I think my favorite was Heirloom by Joseph Finder. A friendly "we wanted to meet our neighbors" dinner by a couple who moved into the area descends into an upsetting "what did we get ourselves into" event as stories come out that allude to a very dark past for the property they're living on. Even once you find out the reasons behind the attempt to scare them away, there are still twists that come out of nowhere and have you rethinking the entire story once the last page is finished.
The Mystery Box is worth reading if you're into mysteries. The quality of the contributions is high, and a number of the stories left me wishing that there were about 100 more pages of material to keep things going.
Obtained From: Library